The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARK FILIP, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiffs, Ovidio A. Andrade and Barbara Andrade
(collectively, "Plaintiffs"), bring suit against Chase Manhattan
Mortgage Corporation ("Chase Mortgage"), which was succeeded
through merger by Chase Home Finance ("CHF"), and Chase Manhattan
Bank USA, N.A. ("CMBUSA") (collectively, "Defendants"). (D.E. 1
or "Complaint.")*fn1 Plaintiffs allege violations of the
Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq.
(Id.) The case is before the Court on Defendants' motion
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to transfer this matter to the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania, or in the alternative, to the
District of New Jersey or the District of Rhode Island. (D.E.
15.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted, and
the case is transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. BACKGROUND
Plaintiffs are husband and wife and reside in Rhode Island.
(Compl. ¶ 3.) Defendant CMBUSA is a corporation in the business
of originating residential mortgage loans (id. ¶ 4); CMBUSA is
incorporated under federal law and has its headquarters in
Newark, Delaware. (D.E. 17, Ex. A, Declaration of Susan Sinn on
May 9, 2005 ("Sinn Decl.") ¶ 3.) Defendant Chase Mortgage was a
New Jersey corporation with its headquarters in Edison, New
Jersey. (Sinn Decl. ¶ 4.) CHF, the successor by merger to Chase
Mortgage, is a Delaware corporation with its executive
headquarters in Iselin, New Jersey. (Id.) CMBUSA and CHF are
subsidiaries of JPMorgan Chase & Company ("JPMorgan Chase").
(Compl. ¶ 4, 5.) JPMorgan Chase's domestic retail financial
headquarters is located in Chicago, Illinois. (Id. ¶ 6.)
The complaint alleges that shortly before October 17, 2004,
Plaintiffs received a solicitation in the mail ("Solicitation
Letter") from one or more of the Defendants; the Solicitation
Letter offered refinancing of Plaintiffs' home mortgage
loan.*fn2 (Id. ¶ 7.) Plaintiffs called the number listed
in the Solicitation Letter and stated that they were interested
in obtaining refinancing. (Id. ¶ 8.) During this phone call,
Plaintiffs were asked for various items of information and had
their credit reports pulled. (Id.) The Complaint alleges that
Defendants decided not to extend credit to Plaintiffs, relying at
least in part on information contained in Plaintiffs' credit reports. (Id. ¶¶ 11, 12.) Plaintiffs
received a letter dated October 17, 2004 ("Response Letter"),
that informed them of Defendants' decision. (Id. ¶ 14 (citing
Compl., Ex. A).)
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants' decision not to extend
credit to them amounted to an "adverse action" as defined in
15 U.S.C. § 1681a(k), for which an adverse action notice was
required under 15 U.S.C. § 1681m. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 16.) Plaintiffs
allege that the Response Letter did not satisfy the notice
requirements of 15 U.S.C. § 1681m (id. ¶¶ 17-19), and further
allege that Defendants have a policy and practice of sending form
letters similar to the Response Letter when they determine based
on credit reports that they do not have loan products suitable
for consumers. (Id. ¶ 19.) Accordingly, Plaintiffs claim that
Defendants engaged in willful noncompliance with the requirements
of the FCRA and therefore should be held liable under
15 U.S.C. § 1681n. (Id. ¶¶ 21, 22.)
Plaintiffs bring suit on behalf of a putative class, pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a) and (b)(3), consisting of "all persons
who were sent a [letter similar to the Response Letter] . . . on
or after a date two years prior to the filing of this action and
before a date 20 days after the filing of this action." (Id. ¶¶
24, 25.) Plaintiffs allege that there are at least 50 class
members. (Id. ¶ 26.)
Defendants filed an answer to Plaintiffs' complaint with this
Court on March 16, 2005. (D.E. 9.) Defendants have now moved to
transfer this matter from the Northern District of Illinois to
the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, or in the alternative, to
the District of New Jersey or the District of Rhode Island. (D.E.
Section 1391(b) of Title 28 provides, in relevant part, that
venue properly rests in: (1) a judicial district where any defendant resides, if all defendants
reside in the same state; or (2) a judicial district in which a
substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the
claim occurred. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1391(b)(1), (2); see also
Barela v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc., No. 04 C 5144, 2005 WL
770629, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 4, 2005) (citing
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)). For the purposes of venue analysis, a corporation is
deemed to reside in any judicial district in which it is subject
to personal jurisdiction at the time the action is commenced.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c). When deciding a motion to transfer
venue, the court must accept as true all of plaintiff's
wellpleaded facts in the complaint, unless they are contradicted
by affidavits or other appropriate evidence from the defendant.
See, e.g., The Heil Co. v. Curotto Can Co., No. 02 C 782, 2004
WL 725737, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 30, 2004) (citing Plotkin v. IP
Axess, Inc., 168 F. Supp. 2d 899, 900 (N.D. Ill. 2001)).
Although a motion to dismiss for improper venue under Rule
12(b)(3) must be filed before the answer, a motion to transfer
venue may be filed at any time. See, e.g., Carter v. Clark
Material Handling Co., No. 97 C 4424, 1998 WL 89244, at * 2
(N.D. Ill. Feb. 17, 1998) (citation omitted).
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), "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." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a); see, e.g.,
Biesek v. Soo Line R.R. Co., No. 03 C 5452, 2004 WL 609323, at
*1 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 22, 2004). Precedent teaches that pursuant to
Section 1404(a), a court may transfer a case where (1) venue is
proper in both the transferor and transferee courts; (2) transfer
is for the convenience of the parties and witnesses; and (3)
transfer is in the interest of justice. See, e.g., Georgouses v.
NaTec Res. Inc., 963 F. Supp. 728, 730 (N.D. Ill. 1997)
(citation omitted). When evaluating the convenience of the parties and witnesses
which is sometimes referred to as the private interests at stake
a district court considers: (1) the plaintiff's choice of
forum; (2) the situs of material events; (3) the relative ease of
access to sources of proof; (4) the convenience of the witnesses;
and (5) the convenience to the parties. See, e.g., Coleman v.
Buchheit, Inc., No. 03 C 7495, 2004 WL 609369, at *1 (N.D. Ill.
Mar. 22, 2004) (citing Plotkin, 168 F. Supp. 2d at 902). In
examining the interests of justice, or what are sometimes
referred to as the public interest factors, the court focuses on
the efficient administration of the court system, and
considerations include "the court's familiarity with the
applicable law, the speed at which the case will proceed to
trial, and the desirability of resolving controversies in their
locale." Morris v. Am. Bioscience, Inc., No. 03 C 7525, 2004 WL
2496496, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 3, 2004) (citing Von Holdt v.
Husky Injecting Molding Sys. Ltd., 887 F. Supp. 185, 188 (N.D.
Ill. 1995)). The weight accorded to each factor is committed to
the sound discretion of the trial judge. See, e.g., Cont'l Ins.
Co. v. M/V Orsula, 354 F.3d 603, 608 (7th Cir. 2003) (collecting
Transfer under Section 1404(a) is not designed to merely shift
inconveniences between equally situated parties; "rather, the
overall balance of inconveniences, and the broader public
interests at play, must clearly weigh in favor of transfer."
Barela, 2005 WL 770629, at * 3 (collecting cases). The party
seeking to transfer venue "`has the burden of establishing, by
reference to particular circumstances, that the transfer forum is
clearly more convenient' than the transferor court." Technical
Concepts L.P. v. Zurn Indus., Inc., No. 02 C 5150, 2002 WL
31433408, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 31, 2002) (quoting Coffey v. Van
Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219-20 (7th Cir. 1986)). DISCUSSION
As is often the case, the parties do not dispute for purposes
of this motion that venue would be permissible in this judicial
district and in the proposed transferee forum, the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania. (See, e.g., D.E. 17 at 5.)
Accordingly, the salient question is whether the movants have met
their burden of establishing the propriety of the proposed
transfer. See, e.g., Sornberger v. First Midwest Bancorp, Inc.,
No. 02 C 246, 2002 WL 1182121, at *1 (N.D. Ill. June 4, 2002)
(citing Coffey, 796 F.2d at 219-20). The ...