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Leuders v. 3M Co.

July 9, 2008

BARBARA J. LEUDERS, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF A CLASS OF SIMILARLY SITUATED PERSONS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
3M COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wayne R. Andersen District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the court on defendant 3M Company's motion to transfer venue to the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the following reasons, that motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Barbara Leuders ("Leuders") is a resident of Thomson, Illinois and a former employee of defendant 3M Company's ("3M") manufacturing plant in Cordova, Illinois. 3M is incorporated in Delaware and its corporate headquarters are located in St. Paul, Minnesota. 3M's Cordova plant manufactures a variety of specialty chemicals and adhesives which ultimately are used in products sold by 3M to its customers. Cordova is on the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River in Rock Island County, Illinois, which falls within the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois and is approximately 155 miles away from this court in Chicago, Illinois.

On April 23, 2008, Leuders filed this putative class action in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. On April 29, 2008, 3M removed this action to this court. In her complaint, Leuders seeks to represent a putative class of former or current employees of 3M's Cordova plant. Leuders alleges that she and the class members were subject to unlawful employment practices and policies at the Cordova plant. Specifically, Leuders alleges that 3M violated the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, 820 ILCS § 105/12(a), and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, 820 ILCS § 115/14, by failing to pay hourly, non-exempt employees for the time that they were required to don and doff uniforms and other protective equipment and report to their work stations 20 minutes prior to the start of their shifts. Leuders also alleges, on behalf of herself, that 3M violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., by failing to pay Leuders minimum wages for all hours worked and overtime for certain hours. 3M now moves to transfer this action to the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

DISCUSSION

"For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interests 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). To succeed on a motion to transfer venue, the defendant must demonstrate:

(1) that venue is proper in the transferor district; (2) that venue is proper in the transferee district; and (3) that the transfer will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses, as well as the interests of justice. Morton Grove Pharms., Inc. v. Nat'l Pediculosis Ass'n, 525 F. Supp. 2d 1039, 1044 (N.D. Ill. 2007). Here, there is no dispute that venue is proper both in the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois. Therefore, we will focus our analysis on whether the third prong weighs in favor of transfer.

In determining whether a forum is more convenient and whether transfer is in the interests of justice, courts consider both the private interests of the parties and the public interest of the court. Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508-09 (1947). The party seeking transfer bears the burden of showing that "the transferee forum is clearly more convenient than the transferor forum." Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 220 (7th Cir. 1986). Transfer is not appropriate if it will merely transform an inconvenience for one party into an inconvenience for another. See id.

A. The Private Interests Factors Weigh In Favor of Transfer

Factors relevant to the parties' private interests include: (1) the plaintiff's choice of forum; (2) the convenience of the forum for the parties; (3) the convenience of the forum for the witnesses; (4) the situs of material events; and (5) the ease of access to sources of proof. Morton Grove Pharms., 525 F. Supp. 2d at 1044. Here, these factors weigh in favor of transfer to the Central District of Illinois.

1. Plaintiff's Forum Choice

It has long been held that "the plaintiff's choice of forum should rarely be disturbed." Gulf Oil Corp., 330 U.S. at 509. However, "the plaintiff's choice of forum is given less weight when the plaintiff is a non-resident of the chosen forum, when the plaintiff sues derivatively or as a class representative, and where the cause of action did not conclusively arise in the chosen forum." Carbonara v. Olmos, No. 93 C 2626, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16156, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 15, 1993) (citing Countryman v. Stein Roe & Farnham, 681 F. Supp. 479, 482-83 (N.D. Ill. 1987)). Here, Leuders first filed this action in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago, Illinois, which is located in the ...


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