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LENCCO RACING CO. v. ARCTCO

February 20, 1997

LENCCO RACING CO., INC., Plaintiff,
v.
ARCTCO, INC., Defendant. LENCCO RACING CO., INC., Plaintiff, v. JAMES JOLLIFFE, and MICRO BELMONT ENGINEERING, Defendants. LENCCO RACING CO., INC., Plaintiff, v. BLACK MAGIC MOTOR SPORTS, INC., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LARIMER

 Plaintiff, Lencco Racing, Co. ("plaintiff"), alleges that the defendants, James Jolliffe ("Jolliffe"), Micro Belmont Engineering ("Micro"), Black Magic Motor Sports, Inc. ("Black Magic"), and Artco, Inc. ("Artco"), infringed its patent in violation of Title 35 of the United States Code.

 Pending before the Court are: (1) Jolliffe and Micro's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and venue; (2) Jolliffe, Micro, Black Magic, and Artco's motions to transfer venue to the Western District of Michigan; *fn1" and (3) Black Magic's motion for a more definite statement.

 Factual Background

 Plaintiff is a New York corporation with its principal place of business in Hilton, New York. Daniel Berardicurti is its president and sole shareholder. Micro is a business operated by James Jolliffe in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Black Magic and Artco are Minnesota corporations with their principal places of business in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.

 Plaintiff is the owner of U.S. Patent No. 5,538,120, entitled "Clutch Bracket Retainer for Torque Sensing Clutch Mechanisms." Apparently, plaintiff uses the patented invention in the manufacture of a snowmobile clutch plate called the "Lightning Shift."

 Plaintiff claims that Micro purchased a Lightning Shift in the Summer of 1995, copied it, and began manufacturing it in Michigan. Plaintiff alleges further that Micro sells these infringing products to Black Magic and Artco, who then resell them to their customers.

 Motions To Transfer Venue

 Section 1404(a) 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." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The goal of § 1404(a) is to prevent waste "of time, energy and money" and "to protect litigants, witnesses and the public against unnecessary inconvenience and expense." Continental Grain Co. v. Barge FBL-585, 364 U.S. 19, 26-27, 80 S. Ct. 1470, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1540 (1960).

 A motion to transfer rests in the sound discretion of the Court. Nieves v. American Airlines, 700 F. Supp. 769, 772 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). "The party seeking the transfer must make a clear-cut showing that it is warranted and, generally speaking, unless the balance of convenience weighs clearly in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff's choice of forum should not be disturbed." Id.

 The inquiry on a motion to transfer is two-fold: first, whether the action sought to be transferred is one that "might have been brought" in the transferee court; and second, whether, considering "the convenience of parties and witnesses" and "the interest of justice," a transfer is appropriate. United States Fidelity & Guar. Co. v. Republic Drug Co., 800 F. Supp. 1076, 1079 (E.D.N.Y. 1992); Hernandez v. Graebel Van Lines, 761 F. Supp. 983, 986 (E.D.N.Y. 1991). Here, there is no dispute that these actions could have been brought in the Western District of Michigan. Therefore, I turn immediately to a discussion of the second inquiry.

 In determining whether a transfer is warranted for "the convenience of the parties and witnesses" and in "the interest of justice," courts generally consider the following factors: (1) the convenience of the witnesses; (2) the location of relevant documents and the relative ease of access to sources of proof; (3) the convenience of the parties; (4) the locus of the operative facts; (5) the availability of process to compel the attendance of unwilling witnesses; (6) the relative means of the parties; (7) the forum's familiarity with the governing law; (8) the weight accorded the plaintiff's choice of forum; and (9) trial efficiency and the interest of justice, based on the totality of the circumstances. Constitution Reinsurance Corp. v. Stonewall Ins. Co., 872 F. Supp. 1247, 1250 (S.D.N.Y. 1995); Cento Group, S.P.A. v. OroAmerica, Inc., 822 F. Supp. 1058, 1060 (S.D.N.Y. 1993).

 Applying these factors to the instant actions, it is clear that the defendants have made the requisite clear-cut showing that a transfer to the ...


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