United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PARTIES'
JOINT MOTION TO TRANSFER
BOOM, DISTRICT JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Joint Motion to
Transfer Venue to the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Indiana (“Joint Motion to
Transfer”) [R. 30]. Defendants Validated Custom
Solutions LLC; Envelop Group LLC; Open Control Systems LLC;
and LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. allege that venue is
appropriate in the Southern District of Indiana and that
transfer is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
Id. The Plaintiff does not object to the transfer.
[R. 31] For the reasons stated herein, the Court will grant
Cardinal Square, LLC filed its Complaint in Jefferson Circuit
Court on or about May 18, 2018 and subsequently filed an
Amended Complaint on or about May 25, 2018. [R. 1-1]
Plaintiff asserts claims for breach of contract, breach of
warranty, fraud, negligence, and products liability. [R. 1-1,
Am. Compl., at ¶¶ 49-98] Plaintiff filed this
lawsuit against three Indiana companies (Validated Custom
Solutions, LLC, Envelop Group, LLC, and Open Control Systems,
LLC) that allegedly installed certain HVAC products at the
property, and one company incorporated in Delaware with its
principal place of business in New Jersey (LG Electronics,
U.S.A., Inc. (“LG Electronics”)) that
manufactured the products at issue in the Indiana property.
Id. at ¶ 5. In the Amended Complaint, all
relevant events, products, and property are based in Muncie,
Indiana. See generally Id. On July 2, 2018,
Defendant LG Electronics removed this action on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction with the consent of the plaintiff
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1446(a) and 1332. [R. 1]
On September 18, 2018, the defendants jointly moved to
transfer this case to the Southern District of Indiana, and
the plaintiff did not object. [R. 30, R. 31]
U.S.C. § 1404(a) provides that “[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.” Analyzing a motion to transfer under Section
1404(a) is a two-step inquiry. First, the Court must
determine whether the action “might have been
brought” in the Southern District of Indiana. This
“limiting clause” of the statute should be given
a “broad or generous construction. . .” Van
Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 622 (1964).
their Joint Motion to Transfer, the defendants allege that
“this case could have been brought in the Southern
District of Indiana” pursuant to the general venue
statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2). [R. 30-1, at p. 3]
Under § 1391(b)(2), a party may bring a civil action in
“a judicial district in which a substantial part of the
events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a
substantial part of property that is the subject of the
action is situated.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2).
Defendants allege that the case could have been brought in
the Southern District of Indiana because the plaintiff
alleges claims of products liability and improper
installation and maintenance of the subject HVAC system in
property located in Muncie, Indiana. The defendants do not
argue that “a substantial part of the events”
that give rise to plaintiff's claims took place near
Muncie, Indiana; they allege that the “case arises
entirely out of events that occurred in the State of
Indiana [and] that [the case] should be litigated and tried
in Indiana.” [R. 30, at p. 2 (emphasis added)] Further,
the defendants assert that “no part of this lawsuit
concerns events or property outside the Southern District of
Indiana.” Id. They argue that the Southern
District of Indiana would be the “most logical and
convenient forum for the parties and witnesses because all
the events, products, and property in this case are located
in that district.” Id., at p. 1. The Court
agrees this action could have been brought in the Southern
District of Indiana. § 1391(b)(2).
the Court must consider whether a transfer is appropriate
even if an action could have been brought elsewhere. To
determine the appropriateness of transfer under Section
1404(a), the Court considers whether a change of venue will
facilitate the “convenience of [the] parties and
witnesses, in the interests of justice.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1404(a). District courts have broad discretion to
determine whether a motion to transfer is appropriate.
Phelps v. McClellan, 30 F.3d 658, 663 (6th Cir.
1994)). “[I]n ruling on a motion to transfer under
§ 1404(a), a district court should consider the private
interests of the parties, including their convenience and the
convenience of potential witnesses, as well as other
public-interest concerns, such as systemic integrity and
fairness, which come under the rubric of ‘interests of
justice.'” Moore v. Rohm & Haas Co.,
446 F.3d 643, 647, n. 1 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting Moses v.
Bus. Card Exp., Inc., 929 F.2d 1131, 1137 (6th Cir.
1991)). To justify transfer, the new forum must be more
convenient than this one (not equally convenient or less so).
See Van Dusen, 376 U.S. at 646. Even if the transfer
is convenient for the parties, the Court must still consider
whether the transfer would be in the “interest of
justice.” See Phelps, 30 F.3d 663 (upholding
district court's denial of transfer where transfer would
have been futile since plaintiff's claims would still
have been barred by applicable statute of limitations
borrowed from transferor court).
the Court finds that transfer in this case is appropriate
under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The convenience of the
parties would be better served in the Southern District of
Indiana. First, the parties are mostly Indiana
citizens. Plaintiff is an Indiana LLC, though its
sole member is a Kentucky citizen. [R. 1-1, at ¶ 1]
Defendants Envelop Group, LLC, Validated Custom Solutions,
LLC, and Open Control Systems, LLC are all Indiana citizens.
[R. 1, at pp. 2-3, ¶¶ 7-9] Defendant LG Electronics
is a non-Indiana citizen, but LG Electronics allegedly
manufactured the HVAC unit that is the subject of this
lawsuit for use at the Indiana property. Id. at p.
1. Second, the defendants advise that “the majority of
the parties, their employees, and the other potential
witnesses” are also in Indiana. Id. at p. 4.
The Western District of Kentucky, Louisville Division is
roughly 171 miles away from this property. The Southern
District of Indiana is a much more convenient place for the
witnesses. Finally, transfer to the Southern District of
Indiana does not offend the interests of justice as the
transfer will not vitiate plaintiffs substantive rights in
any way, evidenced by plaintiffs consent to the transfer. [R.
31] Therefore, the Court finds transfer would serve the
interests of justice. See Phelps, 10 F.3d 663.
above reasons, and the Court being otherwise sufficiently
IS HEREBY ORDERED as follows:
Defendants' Joint Motion to Transfer Venue to the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
[R. 30] is GRANTED. This
case is transferred to the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Indiana.