United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Moore and his business M Squared Enterprises, Inc. (together,
“Moore”) sued diesel repair and auto parts shop
Magiera Diesel Injection Services, Inc. and auto parts
manufacturer Reviva, Inc., alleging violations of the
Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act (“MMWA”), 15 U.S.C.
§ 2301 et seq., and state law in connection
with a series of repairs to Moore's truck. Doc. 4.
Magiera moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction
under Civil Rule 12(b)(2) or improper venue under Rule
12(b)(3) or, in the alternative, to transfer the case to the
Northern District of Indiana under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
Doc. 25. Because the § 1404(a) issue is far easier to
resolve than the personal jurisdiction or venue issues, the
court exercises its discretion under Sinochem
International Co. v. Malaysia International Shipping
Corp., 549 U.S. 422 (2007), to first address §
1404(a), see In re LimitNone, LLC, 551 F.3d 572 (7th
Cir. 2008), and transfers the suit to the Northern District
resolving a § 1404(a) motion, the court accepts the
complaint's well-pleaded factual allegations, as
supplemented by the parties' evidentiary materials, and
draws all reasonable inferences in Moore's favor. See
Deb v. SIRVA, Inc., 832 F.3d 800, 808-09 (7th Cir.
2016). The facts are set forth as favorably to Moore as the
relevant materials permit. See ibid. In setting
forth the facts at this stage, the court does not vouch for
their “objective truth.” Goldberg v. United
States, 881 F.3d 529, 531 (7th Cir. 2018).
a resident of Dolton, Illinois, owns a 2003 Dodge Ram 3500
truck that he uses for business and personal purposes. Doc. 4
at ¶¶ 1, 7, 18. His business, M Squared, is located
in Hazel Crest, Illinois. Id. at ¶ 1. Magiera
operates a truck repair and parts shop in Crown Point,
Indiana, some 30 miles from both Moore's home in Dolton
and M Squared's location in Hazel Crest. Id. at
¶ 3; Doc. 43 at 7.
1, 2016, Moore dropped off his truck for repairs at Magiera,
complaining of an unusual noise. Doc. 4 at ¶¶
13-14. Moore provided Magiera with his Illinois address and
telephone number. Doc. 43 at 8. The next day, a Magiera
mechanic named Mark told Moore over the phone that the truck
needed a new motor, and Moore gave Mark permission to perform
a “leak down.” Doc. 4 at ¶ 16. Mark called
later that day to report that the leak down revealed defects
in two cylinders that required rebuilding the engine.
Id. at ¶ 17. Moore said he would consider the
repair but that he needed to use the truck in the meantime.
Id. at ¶¶ 18-19.
Moore retrieved the truck from Magiera some twenty-four hours
after dropping it off, every dashboard warning light was
illuminated and the truck had so little power that Moore had
to put it in neutral at every stoplight to keep it from
stalling. Id. at ¶ 20. Moore knew that he would
lose money every day the truck was out of commission, so he
felt pressure to bring it back to Magiera for the repair that
Mark had recommended. Id. at ¶ 22. Mark agreed
to repair the truck for $9, 000 plus installation costs, and
he told Moore the job would be done in two weeks.
Id. at ¶¶ 21, 24.
weeks later, Mark called Moore and told him that six
injectors had to be replaced at a cost of $2, 800.
Id. at ¶ 24. Moore alleges that Mark damaged
the injectors during the leak down, or that Mark replaced the
original injectors with faulty ones to inflate repair costs,
or that the engine was never defective and the faulty
injectors alone caused his car trouble. Id. at
¶ 25. Moore authorized the additional repair, which took
another week. Id. at ¶ 26. When Moore reclaimed
the truck, Mark presented him with a warranty from Reviva, a
Minnesota business that designed and manufactured the
remanufactured engine. Id. at ¶¶ 2, 12,
truck broke down two weeks later. Mark sent a tow truck to
Illinois to retrieve it and, upon inspection, determined that
it would need a new starter at a cost of $600. Id.
at ¶ 28; Doc. 43 at 8. Moore warned Mark that oil had
begun to pool around the oil filler cap, but Mark told him
that the liquid was power steering fluid. Doc. 4 at ¶
28. Two weeks after Mark replaced the starter, one of
Moore's drivers reported that the truck was making noise
and was low on oil. Id. at ¶ 29. Moore took the
truck back to Magiera. Ibid. After two weeks, Mark
told Moore that he could not fix the truck and that the
engine's warranty would not be honored. Id. at
1404(a) provides: “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 … .” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1404(a). Transfer under § 1404(a) “is
appropriate if: (1) venue is proper in both the transferor
and transferee court; (2) transfer is for the convenience of
the parties and witnesses; and (3) transfer is in the
interest of justice.” Law Bulletin Publ'g Co.
v. LRP Publ'ns, Inc., 992 F.Supp. 1014, 1017 (N.D.
Ill. 1998); see also Atl. Marine Constr. Co. v. U.S.
Dist. Court, 571 U.S. 49, 62 (2013) (“In the
typical case …, a district court considering a §
1404(a) motion … must evaluate both the convenience of
the parties and various public-interest
considerations.”); Research Automation, Inc. v.
Schrader-Bridgeport Int'l, Inc., 626 F.3d 973, 978
(7th Cir. 2010) (“The statutory language … is
broad enough to allow the court to take into account all
factors relevant to convenience and/or the interests of
justice.”). The moving party bears the burden of
demonstrating that a transfer is clearly warranted. See
Heller Fin., Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., 883 F.2d 1286,
1293 (7th Cir. 1989); Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works,
796 F.2d 217, 219-20 (7th Cir. 1986). “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 first step of the transfer analysis, venue is proper in
the Northern District of Indiana, the proposed transferee
court, because “a substantial part of the events or
omissions giving rise to the claim occurred” in that
District. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2). Moore argues that the
Northern District of Indiana is an improper venue for his
MMWA claim because the Act permits a consumer “to bring
a suit where he claims to be ‘damaged by the failure of
a supplier, warrantor, or service contractor to comply with
any obligation under this [Act] or under a written warranty,
implied warranty, or service contract.'” Doc. 43 at
12-13 (quoting 15 U.S.C. § 2310(d)) (internal quotation
marks added). The language just quoted from Moore's brief
comes directly from Voelker v. Porsche Cars North
America, Inc., 353 F.3d 516, 522 (7th Cir. 2003). In
context, it is clear that Voelker used the word
“where” to mean “in a factual
scenario in which, ” not “in the
physical location in which.” Indeed, the
portion of the MMWA quoted in Voelker has nothing to
do with venue; rather, it provides consumers with a cause of
action and defines federal jurisdiction over their claims.
See 15 U.S.C. § 2310(d).
next step in the 1404(a) analysis looks to convenience. The
convenience factors include: “(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 witnesses; and (5) the convenience [of]
the parties.” Law Bulletin Publ'g, 992
F.Supp. at 1017. The first factor favors this District. A
plaintiff's choice of forum typically deserves
“substantial weight, particularly when it is his home
forum, ” Baker v. Smith & Wesson Corp.,
2019 WL 277714, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 22, 2019), and this
District is Moore's home forum.
remaining convenience factors overwhelmingly favor the
Northern District of Indiana. First, nearly all material
events occurred in Indiana. Granted, Moore's truck
allegedly broke down in Illinois and he received the
allegedly fraudulent phone calls there. But those minor
Illinois connections pale in comparison to the case's
connections with Indiana, where all the repair work was
performed, where the offending engine was ...