United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, and OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE OF FLORIDA, DEPARTMENT OF LEGAL AFFAIRS, Plaintiffs,
BIG DOG SOLUTIONS LLC, also d/b/a Help Desk National and Help Desk Global, a Florida limited liability company, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey United States District Judge
Big Dog Solutions LLC, Inbound Call Specialists LLC, PC Help
Desk U.S. LLC, Christopher Costanza and Suzanne Harris
(collectively, the “Florida Defendants”) have
moved to transfer this case to the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Florida.  at 1-5.
Defendants BlackOptek CE Inc., 9138242 Canada Corporation,
Digital Growth Properties, LLC, Muzzafar Abbas, Gary
Olberman, Donald Dolphin and Justin Powers (collectively, the
“Agreed Defendants”) have moved to join the
Florida Defendants' motion to transfer.  at 1. The
Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Office
of the Attorney General, State of Florida (“Florida
Attorney General”) (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”) oppose the Florida Defendants'
motion to transfer , but Receiver Jeffrey Schneider does
not.  at 1. As explained below, the Florida
Defendants' motion to transfer is denied, and the Agreed
Defendants' motion to join is denied as moot.
allege that Defendants, doing business as Help Desk National,
misled customers throughout the United States into paying
hundreds of dollars for worthless computer
“repairs” and software.  at 1-5. Plaintiffs
claim that this scheme precipitated violations of the Federal
Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a) (“FTC
Act”), the Telemarking Sales Rule, 16 C.F.R. §
310.3(a)(4) (“TSR”), and the Florida Deceptive
and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Fla. Stat. § 501.204
(“FDUTPA”). Id. at 15-20.
Florida Defendants are individual defendants from Florida and
corporate entities in Florida they either owned or operated.
Id. at 1-15. The call center used during
Defendants' scheme is also located in Florida.
Id. The Agreed Defendants are individual defendants
from Iowa, Toronto, and Montreal, along with the businesses
they owned or operated in Iowa, Montreal, and Nevada.
investigated this case out of its office in this district and
it has secured the cooperation of numerous witnesses to
appear before this Court.  at 3. Plaintiffs have also
adduced evidence suggesting that over 1, 000 customers in
this district were harmed by Defendants' scheme.  at
Florida Defendants' motion is brought pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1404(a), which provides that “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.” The decision to transfer venue under Section
1404(a) requires a weighing of multiple factors. This
weighing “necessarily involves a large degree of
subtlety and latitude, ” and, therefore, is committed
to the sound discretion of the Court. Nagle v. The
Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., No. 15-cv-6072,
2015 WL 9268420, at *2 (N.D. Ill.Dec. 21, 2014) (quoting
Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219
(7th Cir. 1986)). As the moving party, the Florida Defendants
bear the burden of demonstrating that the Southern District
of Florida is “clearly more convenient.”
Id. (internal citation omitted).
factors must be met for an action to be transferred to
another venue: (1) venue must be proper in this district; (2)
venue and jurisdiction must be proper in the transferee
district; (3) the transferee district must be more convenient
for both the parties and witnesses; and (4) transfer must
serve the interest of justice. See Delta Air Lines, Inc.
v. Perfekt Mktg., Inc., 861 F.Supp.2d 919, 920 (N.D.
Ill. 2012). The parties concede that the first and second
factors are met, so this Court considers only the convenience
of the parties and witnesses and the interest of justice.
Convenience of the Parties and Witnesses
evaluate the relative convenience of the venues, this Court
must consider four factors: (1) Plaintiffs' choice of
forum; (2) the situs of the material events; (3) the relative
ease of access to sources of proof; and (4) the convenience
of the parties and witnesses. See Amoco Oil Co. v. Mobil
Oil Corp., 90 F.Supp.2d 958, 960 (N.D. Ill. 2000).
Plaintiffs' Choice of Forum
choice of forum is “entitled to substantial
weight” when considering a motion to transfer.
Id. The Seventh Circuit has repeatedly explained
that unless “the balance is strongly in favor the
defendant, the plaintiff's choice of forum should rarely
be disturbed.” In re Nat'l Presto Indus.,
347 F.3d 662, 664 (7th Cir. 2003). This principle is
particularly forceful where, as here, the Plaintiffs'
chosen forum was selected pursuant to a special venue statute
which “represents an affirmative congressional policy
choice to allow . . . the widest possible choice of forums in
which to sue.” SEC v. Electronics Warehouse,
Inc., 689 F.Supp. 53, 75 (D. Conn. 1988).
argue that this factor should not be given much weight, as
“most of the improper business activity . . . allegedly
occurred in South Florida.”  at 6. Defendants'
argument is misplaced. The putative scheme at issue was
executed all across the United States and parts of Canada.
 at 1-5. The record also reflects that over 1, ...