The opinion of the court was delivered by: RONALD GUZMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the Court is Defendant Canadian Pacific Railway Co. d/b/a Soo
Line Railroad Co.'s ("Soo Line") Motion to Transfer Venue to the Western
District of Wisconsin. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's
motion is granted.
Plaintiff Eugene Biesek, a resident of Bariboo, Wisconsin, was employed
as an engineer by Defendant Soo Line. On December 20, 2000, Plaintiff was
seriously injured while attempting to adjust a loose jumper cable on a
certain locomotive owned by Defendant. The accident occurred in Columbia
County, Wisconsin. Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to the Federal
Employer's Liability Act ("FELA"), 45 U.S.C. § 51, alleging that his
injuries were caused by Soo Line's negligent failure to properly inspect
and properly install the jumper cable. Defendant Soo Line now brings this
motion to transfer venue from the Northern District of Illinois to the
Western District of Wisconsin.
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) provides that "for the convenience of 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." In ruling on a motion
to transfer, a court must consider both the private interests of the
parties and the public interests of the courts. Technical Concepts
L.P. v. Zurn Indus., Inc., No. 02 C 5150, 2002 WL 31433408, at *2
(N.D. Ill. Oct 31, 2002).
The party moving for a transfer of venue must show that: (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. See Clear Lam Packaging, Inc. v. Rock-Tenn Co.,
No. 02 C 7491, 2003 WL 22012203, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 22, 2003). The
measures of convenience and the interests of justice involve a
substantial degree of subtlety and latitude and are therefore "committed
to the sound discretion of the trial judge." Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron
Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 (7th Cir. 1986). In this case, it is not
disputed that venue is proper in both the transferor and transferee
A court looks to several factors in balancing the private interests of
the parties: (1) the plaintiff's choice of forum; (2) the situs of the
material events; (3) the ease and access of sources of proof; (4) the
convenience of the parties; and (5) the convenience of the witnesses.
Amoco. Oil Co. v. Mobil Oil Corp., 90 F. Supp.2d 958, 960 (N.D. Ill.
2000). In order to tip the scale convincingly towards transfer, Soo Line
"has the burden of establishing, by reference to particular
circumstances, that the transferee forum is clearly more convenient."
Coffey, 796 F.2d at 219-20.
1. Plaintiff's Choice of Forum A plaintiff's choice of forum is
customarily accorded deference, but the importance of Plaintiff's
preference in this case is lessened by the fact that he did not bring the
action in his home district. See Raddenbach v. Soo Line R.R. Co., No. 99
C 2588, 1999 WL 984393, at * 1 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 25, 1999) (discounting the
importance of FELA plaintiff's choice of Chicago forum when plaintiff
resided in Wisconsin and was injured in Wisconsin).
2. Situs of Material Events The parties dispute the location of the
critical "situs of material events." Soo Line contends that Biesek's
injury, which occurred in Wisconsin, is the critical material event in
this case. Plaintiff, on the other hand, maintains that the litigation
will focus on an alleged failure to inspect Soo Line's locomotive in
either Soo Line's or CSX's railyards in Northern Illinois. Although the
Plaintiff also argues that an abandoned settlement agreement in Chicago
will be important to the litigation, the injury in Wisconsin and the
alleged negligent conduct on Defendant's part in Illinois are the
"material events" central to this dispute. Since neither party has shown
that one event will overshadow the other in importance, this factor does
not weigh on either side of the equation.
3. Ease and Access of Sources of Proof Neither parry argues whether
proof will be more accessible in Illinois or Wisconsin.
4. Convenience of the Parties The convenience of the parties does not
figure heavily in favor of or against transfer. Soo Line, as a large
transportation company, will not suffer hardship by litigating this
dispute in either Illinois or Wisconsin. See Firkus v. Soo Line R.R.
Co., No. 96 C 3714, 1996 WL 568803, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 2, 1996). And
although Plaintiff's inconvenience may not be asserted in a motion to
transfer, see id, it should be noted that both Illinois and Wisconsin
seem to be equally convenient to Plaintiff. Wisconsin appears to be a
more geographically convenient forum to Plaintiff, a Wisconsin resident,
but he chose to file the lawsuit in Illinois.
5. Convenience of the Witnesses The potential inconvenience to
witnesses already ascertainable weighs strongly in favor of a transfer to
the Western District of Wisconsin. Defendant submits an interrogatory
response listing seven potential medical witnesses, as well as three Soo
Line employees who have information about the circumstances surrounding
Plaintiff's injury. Of the medical witnesses, five reside in Wisconsin
and two in Minnesota. The employees of Soo Line are all residents of
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Plaintiff asserts that some Illinois residents)
will have critical