United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
Charles P. Kocoras United States District Judge.
before the Court is a motion from Defendant Milan Batinich
(“Batinich”) comprised of three requests. First,
Batinich requests the Court to strike Christin Good's
December 14, 2017 Declaration from the record. Second, in
light of the new record should his request to strike be
granted, Batinich requests a Rule 54(b) reconsideration of
our January 26, 2018 Order (“Order”) denying his
motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Finally,
Batinich asks the Court to reconsider the same Order's
denial of his request to transfer the case to Minnesota. For
the following reasons, we grant Batinich's motion to
reconsider our Order denying his transfer request and order
this suit to be transferred to the District of Minnesota. We
deny as moot both Batinich's motion to strike Christin
Good's December 14 Declaration and his motion to
reconsider our Order declining to dismiss the case for lack
of personal jurisdiction.
Reconsideration of Our Order Denying Transfer to
January 26, 2018, the Court issued an Order in favor of
Plaintiff Management Registry, Inc. (“M.R.I.”),
denying Batinich's requests to dismiss this lawsuit
(“Illinois action”) for lack of personal
jurisdiction or, in the alternative, to transfer the case to
a more appropriate venue in Minnesota pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1404(a). As to the transfer question, we denied
Batinich's request in large part because “neither
Batinich nor the Complaint suggest[ed] personal jurisdiction
would lie for this controversy in Minnesota.” Our Order
stated that Batinich made a “fatal mistake” by
“devot[ing] no attention” to the question of
whether venue and jurisdiction were proper in the District of
assortment of similar venue transfer tests have been
promulgated in the Seventh Circuit and Northern District. In
every case, the operative test requires that venue and
jurisdiction lie in the transferee court. See Jaramillo
v. DineEquity, Inc., 664 F.Supp.2d 908, 913 (N.D. Ill.
2009) (the second of four factors for venue transfer
considerations requires that venue and jurisdiction lie in
the transferee court) (citing Grossman v. Smart, 73
F.3d 364 (7th Cir. 1995)); Bryant v. ITT Corp., 48
F.Supp.2d 829, 832 (N.D. Ill. 1999) (in a three-prong test,
the first factor mandates that venue be proper in both the
transferor and transferee courts). As Batinich seemingly
failed to address the threshold question regarding the
propriety of the transferee court's jurisdiction and
venue, the Court denied his request swiftly, declining to
address the more discretionary § 1404(a) factors
altogether. Indeed, we noted that Batinich may well have
conceded that personal jurisdiction did not lie in his
suggested transferee court when he stated in reply briefing
that he “will not contest personal jurisdiction in the
District of Minnesota.”
Batinich requests that we reconsider our Order pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), which reads in
relevant part, “any order or other decision…that
adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and
liabilities of fewer than all the parties…may be
revised at any time before the entry of a
judgment….” As “[t]ransfer
orders…are not appealable final decisions, ”
Hill v. Potter, 352 F.3d 1142, 1144 (7th Cir. 2003),
reconsideration requests are best handled by a district court
under Rule 54. “‘Motions for reconsideration
serve a limited function; to correct manifest errors of law
or facts or to present newly discovered evidence.'”
Rothwell Cotton Co. v. Rosenthal & Co., 827 F.2d
246, 251 (7th Cir. 1987) (quoting Keene Corp. v.
Int'l Fidelity Ins. Co., 561 F.Supp 656, 665 (N.D.
Ill. 1982)). “[A] motion to reconsider is only
appropriate where a court has misunderstood a
party…made a decision outside the adversarial issues
presented…made an error of apprehension (not of
reasoning), where a significant change in the law has
occurred, or where significant new facts have been
discovered.” Broaddus v. Shield, 665 F.3d 846,
860 (7th Cir. 2011), overruled on other grounds by Hill
v. Tangherlini, 724 F.3d 965 (7th Cir. 2013).
insists that the Court “patent[ly]
misunderst[ood]” his position when it took him to be
conceding to a lack of personal jurisdiction in Minnesota. In
his motion to reconsider, Batinich states, “That is not
at all the impression [he] meant to create or what the facts
in the record demonstrate.” Batinich maintains that by
way of his comment suggesting that he would not contest
personal jurisdiction in Minnesota, he intended to
“assure the Court that even aside from the facts that
established personal jurisdiction attached to Batinich [in
Minnesota], he would have consented to jurisdiction even if
jurisdiction did not otherwise attach (which it did).”
According to Batinich, he only declined to directly address
the viability of venue and jurisdiction in Minnesota
“because he did not believe that this prong was in
offers robust responses to the other matters presently before
the Court (the evidentiary viability of Christin Good's
declaration and whether the Court should reconsider its prior
ruling on personal jurisdiction in Illinois). M.R.I.
declines, however, to address Batinich's request to
reconsider our transfer ruling. While M.R.I.'s
declination is surprising, it is only mildly so, as
Batinich's suggestion that we misunderstood his position
is buttressed by the record before us. The following evidence
in the record appears uncontested:
i. Batinich currently works for A.W. Companies, a Minnesota
company, with Minnesota customers and clients.
ii. Batinich has provided services for A.W. Companies in
Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Texas.
iii. While working in Madison, Wisconsin, Batinich called an
“emergency team meeting” with other employees of
his former employer, M.R.I.
iv. Batinich's “emergency team meeting” is a
focal point of M.R.I.'s Amended Complaint in a lawsuit
filed in the District of Minnesota against A.W. Companies and
its owners (“Minnesota action”). Mgmt.
Registry, Inc. v. A.W. Cos., Inc., et al., No.
17-cv-5009, (D. Minn. 2017).
v. M.R.I. has informed Batinich's counsel that it intends
to depose him in the Minnesota action.
vi. The presiding judge in the Minnesota action issued a
since-vacated temporary restraining order that specifically