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Lindawright v. Udl Laboratories

February 24, 2011

LINDAWRIGHT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UDL LABORATORIES, INC., MYLAN BERTEK PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.; MYLAN PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.; MYLAN, INC. F/K/A/ MYLAN LABORATORIES, INC.;
AND MYLAN LABORATORIES DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is Defendant's motion to transfer venue to the Western District of Oklahoma [11]. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Defendant's motion.

I. Background

According to her complaint, Plaintiff, a resident of Kingfisher, Kingfisher County, Oklahoma, suffered from a medical condition for which her physician, also located in Oklahoma, prescribed her the drug Allopurinol. Plaintiff filled her prescription at her local Walgreens pharmacy in Oklahoma, and received a bottle of Allopurinol pills. Plaintiff alleges that she ingested the drug and consequently experienced an adverse allergic reaction that left her with serious and permanent injuries.

Plaintiff filed a product liability suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, against the following Defendants: Mylan Bertek Pharmaceuticals, a Texas corporation with its principal place of business in West Virginia; Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a West Virginia corporation with its principal place of business in West Virginia; Mylan, Inc. and Mylan Laboratories, Pennsylvania corporations with their principal places of business in Pennsylvania; and UDL Laboratories, Inc. ("UDL"), an Illinois corporation with its principal place of business in Illinois. Defendants removed the case to this Court, invoking the Court's diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Defendants now seek to transfer venue to the Western District of Oklahoma on the grounds that UDL is improperly joined as a defendant and that Illinois has no other nexus with this case.*fn1

II. Legal Standard Governing Motions to Transfer Venue

A district court, "[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, * * * may transfer any civil action to any other district court where" jurisdiction and venue would have been proper at the time the suit was initiated. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Transfer is thus appropriate when (1) venue is proper in the transferor court and venue and jurisdiction would be proper in the proposed transferee court, (2) the transfer would serve the convenience of the parties, (3) the transfer would serve the convenience of the witnesses, and (4) transfer would be in the interests of justice. See Continental Cas. Co. v. Staffing Concepts, Inc., 2009 WL 3055374, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 18, 2009); see also Research Automation, Inc. v. Schrader-Bridgeport Int'l, Inc., 626 F.3d 973, 978 (7th Cir. 2010); Roberts & Schaefer Co. v. Merit Contracting, Inc., 99 F.3d 248, 254 (7th Cir. 1996). The Seventh Circuit teaches that the specified statutory "factors are best viewed as placeholders for a broader set of considerations, the contours of which turn upon the particular facts of each case." Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 n.3 (7th Cir. 1986); see also Research Automation, 626 F.3d at 978 (holding that the statutory structure of § 1441(a) "affords district courts the opportunity to look beyond a narrow or rigid set of considerations in their determinations").

"The weighing of factors for and against transfer necessarily involves a large degree of subtlety and latitude, and, therefore, is committed to the sound discretion of the trial judge." Coffey, 796 F.2d at 219. The moving party bears the burden of establishing that a transfer of venue is warranted based on the particular facts of the case. See id. at 219-20.

III. Analysis

A. Venue Is Proper in this Court and Would Be Proper in the Transferee Court

Venue is proper both in this Court and in the Western District of Oklahoma. Venue is proper in this Court because the case was removed to this Court from the Circuit Court of Cook County. See Polizzi v. Cowles Magazines, Inc., 345 U.S. 663, 665 (1953) (noting that § 1441(a) "expressly provides that the proper venue of a removed action is 'the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending'" (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a))). Venue would be proper in the proposed transferee court because Plaintiff is a resident and citizen of Oklahoma and, as discussed below, Oklahoma is the situs of many of the material events in the case.

B. Convenience of the Parties Favors Transfer

In assessing the convenience of the parties, courts should consider (1) the plaintiff's choice of forum, (2) the availability and accessibility of witnesses, (3) the location of material events, (4) the relative ease of access to sources of proof, and (5) the accessibility of resources in each forum. See Research Automation, 626 F.3d at 978; In re Nat'l Presto Indust., Inc., 347 F.3d 662, 664 (7th Cir. 2003).

Relevant to the assessment of each sub-factor in this case is whether Defendant URL -- the sole entity that ties this case to Illinois -- is properly joined as a defendant. According to the affidavit of UDL's Vice President and General Manager Jodi A. Eichelberger [see 11, Ex. A], UDL is a subsidiary of Mylan, Inc. whose sole function is to repackage and redistribute generic drugs. UDL itself "does not design, formulate, develop, create or manufacture any pharmaceutical products" such as Allopurinol. [11, Ex. A at ΒΆ 9.] Rather, according to Eichelberger's deposition (which Plaintiff attached to its response to the transfer motion [see 33, Ex. A]), Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("MPI") ...


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