The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ronald L. Ellis, United States Magistrate Judge
On May 17, 2001, plaintiff Mitsui Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui"), filed a complaint as insurer and subrogee for Sharp Electronics Corporation ("Sharp") against Nankai Travel International Company, Inc., NTI (Thailand) Co., Ltd., Nankai Transportation International (USA), Inc., and Nankai Transportation International (HK), Co., Ltd. (collectively, "Nankai") to recover loss and damages under the Warsaw Convention On April 5, 2002, Nankai filed a third-party complaint against United Air Lines, Inc., Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. and Hyper Trucking, Inc. ("Hyper"). On June 20, 2002, Nankai filed the instant motion to transfer this action to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) "on the grounds that this litigation has no connection to New York and transfer will be for the convenience of parties and witnesses and in the interest of justice." See Nankai Notice of Motion at 2. On the same day, third-party defendants Hyper filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, or, in the alternative, to transfer venue to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. For the reasons set forth below, Nankai's motion is GRANTED, and Hyper's motion is therefore moot.
Between the dates of May 17, 1999 and March 17, 2000, Nankai agreed to carry shipments of Sharp merchandise from Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong to Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California. See Affidavit of Joseph P. Minasi ("Minasi Aff.") at ¶ 3. Unsatisfied with the condition of the delivered goods, Sharp submitted thirty-six claims for missing and/or damaged goods to Mitsui. Id. of the thirty-six claims, twenty-two shipments terminated in Chicago, Illinois, at O'Hare Airport and fourteen shipments terminated in Los Angeles, California. Id. at ¶ 4. None of the claimed shipments had any contact with New York. The shipments arriving in Chicago were unloaded by airline personnel and placed in cargo holding areas until Hyper, an Illinois based company, transported the containers to Sharp. Id. at ¶ 5. Sharp employees in Illinois claimed the goods were damaged, and Sharp eventually submitted its claims to Mitsui, which is based in New York. Id.
"For the convenience of the 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). As the Second Circuit has noted, "[t]he determination [of] whether to grant a change of venue requires a balancing of conveniences, which is left to the sound discretion of the district court." Filmline (Cross-Country) Productions, Inc. v. United Artists Corp., 865 F.2d 513, 520 (2d Cir. 1989). Further, "[t]he burden is on the party seeking to transfer to make a clear-cut showing that it is warranted." TM Claims Service v. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, 143 F. Supp.2d 402, 403 (S.D.N.Y. 2001) (citations omitted). While normally the plaintiff's choice of forum should not be disturbed, "[t]he core determination under Section 1404(a) is the center of gravity of the litigation." Id. (citation omitted).
There is no dispute in this case that Mitsui's claims could have been brought in the Northern District of Illinois. See Reply Affidavit of Joseph P. Minasi ("Minasi Reply Aff.") at ¶ 6. Other factors to consider include: "(1) the plaintiff's original choice of forum, (2) the locus of the operative facts, (3) the convenience and relative means of the parties, (4) the convenience of the witnesses, (5) the availability of process to compel the attendance of witnesses, (6) the location of physical evidence, including documents, (7) the relative familiarity of the courts with the applicable law, and (8) the interests of justice." Royal & Sunalliance v. British Airways, 167 F. Supp.2d 573, 576 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). Analysis of these factors leads this Court to conclude that transfer of this case to the Northern District of Illinois is warranted.
1. Plaintiff's Choice of Forum
"A plaintiff's choice of venue is entitled to significant consideration and will not be disturbed unless other factors weigh strongly in favor of transfer." Royal & Sunalliance, 167 F. Supp.2d at 576. "However, a plaintiff's choice of forum is given less weight where the case's operative facts have little connection with the chosen forum." TM Claims, 143 F. Supp.2d at 404 (citations omitted). Mitsui is a Japanese corporation "with an office and place of business" in New York. See Complaint at ¶ 2. Other than that, there appears to be no other nexus to New York as described below. This factor is not controlling.
2. Locus of Operative Facts