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Marshall v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

June 5, 2014

AARON MARSHALL, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Aaron Marshall ("Marshall") filed a complaint alleging constitutional violations consisting of failures to provide adequate medical care during his incarceration at Pickneyville Correctional Center ("PCC") against Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford"), John Doe Correctional Officers, and John Doe Dentists at both PCC and Stateville Correctional Center. On February 10, 2014, Wexford filed a motion to transfer venue to the Southern District of Illinois pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the reasons discussed below, we grant Wexford's motion to transfer this action to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

BACKGROUND

Marshall is a former inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC"). (Compl. ¶ 8.) Wexford is a Pennsylvania corporation that provides medical and dental care services to IDOC inmates. ( Id. ¶ 3.) Between mid-August and September 9, 2013, Marshall complained of a toothache and infection to John Doe Correctional Officers and John Doe Dentists at Stateville Correctional Center. ( Id. ¶¶ 9-10.) On about September 9 or 10, 2013, he was transferred to PCC, where he continued to complain of the toothache and infection. ( Id. ¶¶ 9, 11.) On September 18, 2013, Marshall fell into a coma at PCC and was transferred to Memorial Hospital of Carbondale for immediate treatment. ( Id. ¶¶ 14, 16.) While at Memorial Hospital, he remained in a coma for nine days and underwent several surgeries. ( Id. ¶¶ 15-16.) After his initial treatment at Memorial Hospital, Marshall was transferred to Kindred Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. ( Id. ¶ 16.) Marshall is no longer in IDOC custody and resides in Chicago, where he continues to receive ongoing medical treatment for his injuries sustained at PCC. ( Id. ¶ 2, Resp. at 2.)

ANALYSIS

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), for the convenience of the parties and witnesses and in the interest of justice, a court may transfer any civil matter to another district where venue is proper. The moving party must show that: (1) venue is proper in the district where the action was originally filed; (2) venue would be proper in the transferee court; and (3) the transfer will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses as well as the interests of justice. See Morton Grove Pharm., Inc. v. Nat'l Pediculosis Ass'n, 525 F.Supp.2d 1039, 1044 (N.D. Ill. 2007).

The parties do not dispute that venue is proper in either the Northern District of Illinois or the Southern District of Illinois. (Resp. at 3-4). Venue is proper for a civil action in:

(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located; (2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred... or (3) if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought, any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction with respect to such action.

28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). Marshall presumes that the defendants John Doe Correctional Officers and John Doe Dentists, who are employed at the Stateville Correctional Center in the Northern District, also reside in the district in which they work. (Compl. ¶ 10; Resp. at 1-2.)

In dispute is whether the transfer to the Southern District of Illinois will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses as well as the interests of justice. As the Seventh Circuit has recognized, deciding whether to transfer a case requires "flexible and individualized analysis" based on the circumstances of a particular case. Research Automation, Inc. v. Schrader-Bridgeport Int'l, Inc., 626 F.3d 973, 978 (7th Cir. 2010) (internal citations omitted). The district court determines the weight given to each factor and has wide discretion in deciding whether transfer is appropriate. Tice v. American Airlines, Inc., 162 F.3d 966, 974 (7th Cir. 1988); Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 (7th Cir. 1986). The plaintiff's choice of forum is usually favored "unless the balance is strongly in favor of the defendant." In re Nat'l Presto Indus., Inc., 347 F.3d 662, 664 (7th Cir. 2003). As the party seeking transfer, Wexford has the burden to show that "the transferee forum is clearly more convenient" than the transferor forum. Heller Fin., Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., Inc., 883 F.2d 1286, 1293 (7th Cir. 1989) (internal citations omitted). With these standards in mind, we address each of the factors.

A. Convenience (or Private) Factors

In deciding whether transfer would promote convenience, courts consider such private interest factors as: "(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 parties; and (5) the convenience of witnesses." Morton Grove Pharm., 525 F.Supp.2d at 1044 (citing Schwartz v. Nat'l Van Lines, Inc., 317 F.Supp.2d 829, 835 (N.D. Ill. 2004)); see also Amoco Oil Co. v. Mobil Oil Corp., 90 F.Supp.2d 958, 960 (N.D. Ill. 2000). We evaluate each factor in turn.

1. Plaintiff's Choice of Forum and the Situs of Material Events

The plaintiff's choice of forum "should rarely be disturbed." In re Nat'l Presto Indus., Inc., 347 F.3d at 664 (quoting Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508, 67 S.Ct. 839, 843 (1947)); Amoco Oil Co., 90 F.Supp.2d at 960. Courts in this district have held, however, that if the "events giving rise to the cause of action did not take place in the plaintiff's selected forum, the plaintiff's preference has minimal value.'" Dunn v. Soo Line R. Co., 864 F.Supp. 64, 65 (N.D. Ill. 1994) (quoting Robinson v. Town of Madison, ...


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