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Tri3 Enterprises, LLC v. Aetna

June 24, 2011

TRI3 ENTERPRISES, LLC
v.
AETNA, INC ET AL



Name of Assigned Judge Amy J. St. Eve Sitting

Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

The Court grants Defendants' motion to transfer this lawsuit to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey [7]. See 28 U.S.C. 1404(a). The Clerk of Court is directed to transfer this case to the District of New Jersey. Status hearing set for 9/8/11 is stricken.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.

STATEMENT

On May 16, 2011, Plaintiff Tri3 Enterprises, LLC ("Tri3") filed the present Class Action Complaint against Defendants Aetna, Inc., Aetna Health Inc., Aetna Life Insurance Company, Corporate Health Insurance, Inc., and Aetna Insurance Company of Connecticut (collectively "Aetna") for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1461 ("ERISA"). Before the Court is Defendants' motion to transfer venue to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). In response to Defendants' motion, "Tri3 takes no position with respect to Defendants' Motion to Transfer this Action to the District of New Jersey." (R. 14, Resp., at 2.) Indeed, Tri3 is amenable to litigating this action in either venue. For the following reasons, the Court, in its discretion, grants Defendants' Section 1404(a) motion and transfers this action to the District of New Jersey.

LEGAL STANDARD

"In 1948, Congress enacted the federal change of venue statute, codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1404, to allow a district court to transfer an action filed in a proper, though not necessarily convenient, venue to a more convenient district." Research Automation, Inc. v. Schrader-Bridgeport Int'l Inc., 626 F.3d 973, 977 (7th Cir. 2010). More specifically, "[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." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Under Section 1404(a), the moving party bears the burden of establishing that (1) venue is 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 witnesses and is in the interest of justice. See Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219--20 (7th Cir. 1986) (citations omitted); Jarmillo v. DineEquity, Inc., 664 F.Supp.2d 908, 913 (N.D. Ill. 2009). "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; see also Research Automation, 626 F.3d at 977 (Section 1404(a) gives district courts discretion to adjudicate motions to transfer on a case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness).

ANALYSIS

Because Tri3 does not dispute that venue and jurisdiction are proper in both the Northern District of Illinois and the District of New Jersey, the Court turns to whether transfer will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the interests of justice. In making this determination, the Court looks to both the private and public interests. See Nalco Co v. Environmental Mgmt., Inc., 694 F.Supp.2d 994, 998 (N.D. Ill. 2010); Methode Elec., Inc. v. Delphi Auto. Sys., LLC, 639 F.Supp.2d 903, 907 (N.D. Ill. 2009). Private interests include: (1) the plaintiff's choice of forum; (2) the situs of the material events; (3) the relative ease of access to sources of proof; and (4) the convenience to the witnesses and parties. See Research Automation, 626 F.3d at 978; Nalco, 694 F.Supp.2d at 998. Factors traditionally considered in the public interest analysis, also known as the "interest of justice" factors, include the congestions of the respective court dockets, prospects for a speedy trial, and the courts' familiarity with the applicable law. See Research Automation, 626 F.3d at 978; Coffey, 796 F.2d at 221. District courts may make any necessary factual findings when determining venue issues. See In re LimitNone, LLC, 551 F.3d 572, 577 (7th Cir. 2008).

I. Private Interests -- Convenience of the Parties and Witnesses A. Plaintiff's Choice of Forum and Location of Material Events

A plaintiff's choice of forum is entitled to deference, but that deference is lessened if the forum does not have a significant relationship to the material events leading to the litigation. See Research Automation, 626 F.3d at 979; see also Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508, 67 S.Ct. 839, 91 L.Ed.1055 (1947) ("unless the balance is strongly in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff's choice of forum should rarely be disturbed."). Because Plaintiff takes no position with respect with Defendants' motion to transfer this action to the District of New ...


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