The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alesia, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the court is defendants ITT Industries, Inc.
("ITT")*fn1 and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.'s ("MetLife")
motion to transfer this case to the Western District of Kentucky
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For reasons that follow, the
court grants the motion.
Plaintiff Joyce Bryant ("Bryant") is, and has been since at
least 1996, a resident of Beaver Dam, Kentucky. Bryant is suing
ITT and MetLife to recover disability income benefits that Bryant
claims are due to her under an employee welfare benefit plan
which provides group long-term benefits to ITT employees ("the
Plan"). ITT, which is the administrator for the Plan, is an
Indiana corporation with its principal place of business in New
York. MetLife, which is the designated claim administrator for
the Plan, is a New York mutual insurance company with its
principal place of business in New York. The MetLife claims
office with responsibility for administering Bryant's claim for
benefits is located in New York. In addition, the Plan is used in
New York. Both ITT and MetLife conduct business in Illinois.
According to Bryant's complaint, Bryant was a full-time ITT
employee until September of 1994. On September 14, 1994, Bryant
stopped working for ITT because of physical and mental
impairments. After she stopped working for ITT, Bryant made a
claim for benefits under the Plan. Bryant's claim was approved,
and she began to receive payment of benefits after the expiration
of the six-month elimination period. Bryant received payment of
benefits until January of 1997. Between April of 1996 and January
of 1997, Bryant received all of her Plan benefits at her home in
In January of 1997, MetLife notified Bryant that it had
reviewed her claim and was terminating benefits because Bryant
did not qualify for continued benefits under the Plan since she
was not disabled from any occupation or employment. MetLife sent
the notification letter from its office in New York to Bryant's
residence in Kentucky.
Bryant submitted an administrative appeal of the denial of her
disability claim. In support of her appeal, Bryant submitted
various reports from treating and examining doctors. Those
doctors are located in Kentucky. MetLife engaged independent
consulting doctors to examine Bryant. Those doctors are also
located in Kentucky. Most of the correspondence regarding the
challenged decision was exchanged between Bryant and her attorney
in Kentucky and MetLife's office in New York. In response to
Bryant's appeal, MetLife provided Bryant with a final
determination of her claim, upholding the denial of benefits.
ITT and MetLife have moved to transfer this case to the Western
District of Kentucky pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), arguing
that the convenience of the parties and witnesses and the
interests of justice weigh in favor of such a transfer. Bryant
argues that the case should be kept in Illinois because (1)
Bryant worked and earned her entitlement to benefits in Illinois;
(2) there are no evidentiary issues which justify overriding
Bryant's choice of forum; and (3) the interests of justice do not
Section § 1404(a), which governs the transfer of an action from
one federal district court to another, provides: "For the
convenience of the parties and witnesses, in the interest of
justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any
other district or division where it might have been brought."
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). A transfer under § 1404(a) is appropriate if:
(1) venue is proper in both the transferor and transferee court;
(2) transfer is for the convenience of the parties and witnesses;
and (3) transfer is in the interests of justice. Vandeveld v.
Christoph, 877 F. Supp. 1160, 1167 (N.D.Ill. 1995).
In determining whether a motion under § 1404(a) should be
granted, the court must seek to promote the efficient
administration of justice and not merely the private interests of
the parties. North Shore Gas Co. v. Salomon, Inc., 896 F. Supp. 786,
791 (N.D.Ill. 1995). The determination of whether a case
should be transferred pursuant to § 1404(a) is committed to the
sound discretion of the trial court. Heller Fin., Inc. v.
Midwhey Powder Co., 883 F.2d 1286, 1293 (7th Cir. 1989); Coffey
v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 (7th Cir. 1986).
The parties do not dispute that venue is proper in both the
Northern District of Illinois and the Western District of
Kentucky. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(2). What the parties dispute
is whether the convenience of the parties and witnesses and the
interests of justice weigh in favor ...