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THE HEIL COMPANY v. CUROTTO CAN COMPANY

March 30, 2004.

THE HEIL COMPANY, Plaintiff
v.
CUROTTO CAN COMPANY, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WAYNE ANDERSEN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on defendant Curotto Can Company's motion to transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), For the following reasons, the motion to transfer venue is granted.

BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff The Heil Company filed a patent infringement action against defendant Curotto Can Company on February 1, 2002. On May 14, 2003, after prolonged discussions between the parties and settlement negotiations, defendant filed a motion for change of venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which is presently before the Court. In the intervening period, defendant has filed counterclaims alleging invalidity and unenforceability of the two patents that The Heil Company claims have been infringed.

  DISCUSSION

  A. Standard of Review

  In considering a motion to transfer venue, the court accepts all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true unless controverted by affidavit. Plotkin v. IP Axess, Inc., 168 F. Supp.2d 899, 900 (N.D. Ill. 2001). Any conflict in an affidavit is resolved in favor of the plaintiff. Page 2 Turnock v. Cope, 816 F.2d 332, 333 (7th Cir. 1987). The decision whether to transfer is in the sound discretion of the trial judge. Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 (7th Cir. 1986).

  B. Transfer of Venue

  Curotto Can has moved to transfer this case to the Northern District of California, Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), "[f]or 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." The moving party has the burden to establish that the transfer forum is "clearly more convenient" than the transferor court. Coffey, 796 F.2d at 219-220.

  Transfer is appropriate pursuant to section 1404(a) when the moving party demonstrates that: (1) venue is proper in the transferor district; (2) venue and jurisdiction are proper in the transferee district; and (3) a transfer will serve the convenience of the parties, the witnesses and the interests of justice. Anchor Wall Systems, Inc. v. R & D Concrete Products, Inc., 55 F. Supp.2d 871, 873 (N.D. Ill 1999). There is no dispute that venue and jurisdiction are proper in this Court as well as in the Northern District of California. Thus, resolution of this issue centers principally around the third factor.

  The convenience and fairness inquiry for a transfer pursuant to section 1404(a) is determined on a case by case basis by looking at the private interests of the parties and witnesses and the public interest of the court. Coffey, 796 F.2d 219. Private interests generally include: (1) plaintiff's choice of forum; (2) the situs of material events; (3) the relative ease of access to sources of proof in each forum; and (4) convenience to the parties. Anchor Watt Systems, Inc., 55 F. Supp.2d at 873. Page 3

  1. Plaintiff's Choice of Forum

  Although The Hell Company filed suit in this district, its choice of forum has diminished significance because it is not a resident of Illinois. Thus, this factor is simply another factor in the mix and is not given any additional weight. H.B. Sherman Mfg. Co. v. Rain Bird Nat'l Sales Corp., 979 F. Supp. 627, 630 (N.D. Ill. 1997). The weight given to a plaintiff's choice of forum is further lessened if the chosen forum lacks any significant connection to the lawsuit. Anchor Wall Systems, Inc., 55 F. Supp.2d at 874.

  In this case, The Heil Company is not located in Illinois and does not appear to have any connection with this forum. Curotto Can also is not located in Illinois and has limited connection with this forum based on minimal sales that have taken place in Illinois and the headquarters of the company that manufactures the alleged infringing product is in Illinois, However, the actual manufacturing activities ...


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