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Nobbe v. General Motors Corp.

May 27, 2009

BRENT NOBBE A MINOR BY AND THROUGH HIS NEXT FRIENDS, LISA BAYLES AND JAMES M. NOBBE AND LISA BAYLES AND JAMES M. NOBBE, INDIVIDUALLY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, A DELAWARE CORPORATION AND BLUE BIRD BODY COMPANY, A DELAWARE CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Joan B. Gottschall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Defendant Blue Bird Body Company ("Blue Bird") has filed a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to transfer the above captioned case to the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. Blue Bird's motion was joined by the other defendant, General Motors Corporation ("GMC"). For the following reasons, Blue Bird's motion is granted. Also pending before this court is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants. Because this matter is being transferred, this court declines to rule on the motion to dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

This case arose as a result of an allegedly defective school bus. Plaintiff Brent Nobbe, then twelve years old, was riding on the bus on August 27, 2003, on a rural road in Montgomery County, Illinois, in the Central District of Illinois, when the bus left the roadway, traveled down an adjacent steep embankment, and rolled over. Nobbe sustained serious injuries in the accident.

The Plaintiffs filed two lawsuits in Illinois state court, the first on September 18, 2003 and the second on July 26, 2005. The parties to the first case settled and the Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the second case. The Plaintiffs then filed the instant products liability and negligence lawsuit in this court on August 14, 2008.

All of the Plaintiffs are citizens of Illinois. Defendant Blue Bird is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Georgia. Defendant GMC is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Michigan.

The bus involved in the crash was manufactured in two stages. GMC manufactured and assembled the vehicle chassis at its Janesville, Wisconsin plant. Blue Bird purchased the chassis and installed the sidewall structures, a roof, and all interior parts of the school bus at Blue Bird's facility in Fort Valley, Georgia.

II.ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard

"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); Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 (7th Cir. 1986). As the moving party, Defendant Blue Bird must show that "(1) venue was proper in the transferor district, (2) venue and jurisdiction would be proper in the transferee district, and (3) the transfer will serve the convenience of the parties and the witnesses as well as the interests of justice." United Air Lines, Inc. v. Mesa Airlines, Inc., 8 F. Supp. 2d 796, 798 (N.D. Ill. 1998) (citations omitted). "The movant . . . 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 (citations omitted).

"In determining whether a forum is more convenient, the court must consider the private interests of the parties as well as the public interest of the court." Aldridge v. Forest River, Inc., 436 F. Supp. 2d 959, 960 (N.D. Ill. 2006) (citations omitted). The factors related to the parties' private interests include: "(1) the plaintiff's choice of forum, (2) the situs of material events, (3) the convenience of the parties, and (4) the convenience of the witnesses." Id. The relative ease of access to the sources of proof is another factor courts may consider in this analysis. Hanley v. Omarc, Inc., 6 F. Supp. 2d 770, 774 (N.D. Ill. 1998) (citations omitted).

"The 'interest of justice' is a separate component of a ยง 1404(a) transfer analysis . . . ." Coffey, 796 F.2d at 220 (citations omitted). This inquiry is directed to the "efficient administration of the court system." Id. With respect to the interest of justice, the court must consider "the transferor and transferee courts' familiarity with the applicable law and the effect of ...


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