United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER TRANSFERRING CASE TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO, WESTERN
D. Borman United States District Judge.
case is before the Court on the parties' joint
Stipulation to Transfer to the Northern District of Ohio,
Western Division. (ECF No. 8, “Joint
Stipulation”.) On October 16, 2019, Plaintiffs Angela
Wilson and Martha Behrendt filed a Complaint in this Court
for monetary damages. (ECF No. 1, Complaint.) Plaintiffs
allege that on May 20, 2019, they were passengers in a
vehicle driven in Troy, Ohio when their vehicle was struck by
a semi-trailer owned by Defendants Harold J. Pohl, Inc. and
Pohl Transportation, Inc. and driven by Defendant Eric
Hartupee. (Id.) Plaintiffs allege they are both
Michigan residents, Defendants Harold J. Pohl, Inc. and Pohl
Transportation, Inc. are Ohio corporations, Defendant Eric
Hartupee is an Indiana resident, and that “[t]he
automobile accident giving rise to this cause of action
occurred within the confines of the State of Ohio.”
(Id. ¶¶ 1-5.) All Defendants have been
served. The parties now jointly stipulate to transfer this
case to the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division.
proper venue in civil actions is the judicial district where
(1) any defendant resides if all the defendants are residents
of the State in which the district is located, (2) a
substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to
the claim occurred or a substantial part of the property that
is the subject of the action is situated, or (3) any
defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction
if there is no district in which the action may otherwise be
brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). In this case, Plaintiffs
state that the events giving rise to their Complaint occurred
in Troy, Ohio, located in Miami County. In addition, the two
corporate defendants are Ohio corporations, with their
principal places of business in Versailles, Ohio, located in
Darke County. Both Miami County and Darke County lie within
the geographical confines of the Western Division of the
Southern District of Ohio. However, for venue purposes in a
state like Ohio, “which has more than one judicial
district and in which a defendant that is a corporation is
subject to personal jurisdiction at the time an action is
commenced, such corporation shall be deemed to reside in
any district in that State within which its contacts would be
sufficient to subject it to personal jurisdiction if that
district were a separate State[.]” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1391(d) (emphasis added); see also Id. §
1391(c)(2) providing that “an entity … shall be
deemed to reside, if a defendant, in any judicial district in
which such defendant is subject to the court's personal
jurisdiction with respect to the civil action in
question”). By filing the Joint Stipulation, the
parties stipulate that venue (and personal jurisdiction) is
proper in the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division.
28 U.S.C. §§ 1404(a) and 1406(a), a district court
may transfer a civil action to any other district where it
might have been brought or to any district or division to
which all parties have consented. See Atlantic Marine
Constr. Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court for W. Dist. of Texas,
571 U.S. 49, 59 (2013) (Section 1404(a) “permits
transfer to any district where venue is also proper
(i.e., ‘where [the case] might have been
brought') or to any other district to which the parties
have agreed by contract or stipulation.”)
(emphasis added); Carver v. Knox Cty., Tenn., 887
F.2d 1287, 1291 (6th Cir. 1989) (“[A] district court
may transfer a case sua sponte.”). When
deciding whether to transfer a case pursuant to §§
1404(a) and 1406(a), the Court must balance several
considerations, including whether the transfer will be
convenient for the parties and witnesses and in the
“interest of justice.” See 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1404(a), 1406(a). The Court should also weigh
the convenience of the proposed forum in light of the
parties' expressed preference for that venue. See
Lute Supply, Inc. v. Net Pay Solutions, Inc., No.
1:11-cv-575-HJW, 2011 WL 13220481, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 1,
2011) (finding that the plaintiff's initial choice of
forum “is not dispositive, particularly where as here,
plaintiff expressly consents to the requested change of
venue”). Ultimately, the decision to transfer is within
the sound discretion of the Court. Kay v. Nat'l City
Mortg. Co., 494 F.Supp.2d 845, 849 (S.D. Ohio 2007).
facts of this case support a transfer to the Northern
District of Ohio under this balancing test. First, the Joint
Stipulation reflects the parties' desire to transfer this
case to the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division.
(See Joint Stipulation.) Second, the
“automobile accident giving rise to this cause of
action occurred with the confines of the State of Ohio,
” and the two corporate defendants reside in Ohio.
(Complaint, ¶¶ 3, 5.) The witnesses to the May 20,
2019 automobile/truck accident underlying this lawsuit
therefore likely reside in Ohio, and “[w]itnesses'
convenience is one of the most important facts in determining
whether to grant a motion to change venue under §
1404(a).” Thomas v. Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc.,
131 F.Supp.2d 934, 937 (E.D. Mich. 2001). In addition,
relevant records underlying the accident and Defendants'
corporate records and witnesses are also located in Ohio.
Finally, transfer to the Northern District of Ohio at this
early stage of the litigation would be efficient and in the
interest of justice.
for the convenience of the parties and in the interest of
justice, the Court ORDERS the Clerk of Court
to TRANSFER this case to the Western
Division of the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Ohio pursuant to 20 U.S.C. §§ ...