United States District Court, D. Delaware
Stephen B. Brauerman, Sara E. Bussiere, BAYARD, P.A.,
Wilmington, Delaware; Mark A. Fenster, Paul A. Kroeger, Reza
Mirzaie, RUSS, AUGUST & KABAT, Los Angeles, California
Counsel for Plaintiff
W. Poff, Robert M. Vrana, YOUNG, CONAWAY, STARGATT &
TAYLOR LLP, Wilmington, Delaware; Dwayne K. Goetzel, Ryan T.
Beard, MEYERTONS, HOOD, KIVLIN, KOWERT & GOETZEL, P.C.,
Austin, Texas Counsel for Defendant
CONNOLLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Data LLC has sued Egnyte, Inc., a Delaware corporation, for
patent infringement. Egnyte has moved pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1404(a) to transfer this case to the Northern District
of California-where Egnyte is headquartered, has its
principal place of business, and can produce its witnesses
and documents more easily. Realtime has pending suits against
other defendants in the Northern District alleging violations
of some of the same patents that are at issue here, but it
has many more such suits pending in this District before me.
For the reasons discussed below, I will deny Egnyte's
motion to transfer (D.I. 10).
1404(a) provides that "[f]or the convenience of the
parties and witnesses, in the interests 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). It is undisputed that this action
could have been brought in the Northern District of
California. Thus, the only issue before me is whether I
should exercise my discretion under § 1404(a) to
transfer the case to California.
has the burden "to establish that a balancing of proper
interests weigh[s] in favor of the transfer." Shutte
v. Armco Steel Corp., 431 F.2d 22, 25 (3dCir. 1970).
This burden is heavy. "[U]nless the balance of
convenience of the parties is strongly in favor of
[the] defendant, the plaintiffs choice of forum should
prevail." Id. (emphasis in original) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted).
proper interests to be weighed in deciding whether to
transfer a case under § 1404(a) are not limited to the
three factors recited in the statute (i.e., the convenience
of the parties, the convenience of the witnesses, and the
interests of justice). Jumara v. State Farm Ins.
Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995). Although there is
"no definitive formula or list of the factors to
consider" in a transfer analysis, the court in
Jumara identified 12 interests "protected by
the language of § 1404(a)." Id. Six of
those interests are private:
[I] plaintiffs forum preference as manifested in the original
choice;  the defendant's preference;  whether the
claim arose elsewhere;  the convenience of the parties as
indicated by their relative physical and financial condition;
 the convenience of the witnesses-but only to the extent
that the witnesses may actually be unavailable for trial in
one of the fora; and  the location of books and records
(similarly limited to the extent that the files could not be
produced in the alternative forum).
Id. (citations omitted). The other six interests are
public in nature:
 the enforceability of the judgment;  practical
considerations that could make the trial easy, expeditious,
or inexpensive;  the relative administrative difficulty in
the two fora resulting from court congestion;  the local
interest in deciding local controversies at home; [II] the
public policies of the fora; and  the familiarity of the
trial judge with the applicable state law in diversity cases.
Id. at 879-80 (citations omitted). As the parties
have not identified relevant factors beyond these 12
interests, I will balance the Jumara factors in
deciding whether to exercise the discretion afforded me by
Plaintiff's Forum Preference
factor clearly weighs against transfer. The parties agree on
that much. They disagree, however, about the amount of weight
I should give this factor in conducting the balancing of
interests called for by Jumara. Egnyte argues that
Realtime's forum choice "is entitled to minimal
deference." D.I. 11 at 11. Realtime contends that I
should give its forum choice "paramount
consideration." D.I. 14 at 4.
Shutte, the Third Circuit held that "[i]t is
black letter law that a plaintiffs choice of a proper forum
is a paramount consideration in any determination of a
transfer request" brought pursuant to § 1404(a),
and that this choice "should not be lightly
disturbed." 431 F.2d at 25 (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). The parties have not cited and I am not
aware of any Third Circuit or United States Supreme Court
case that overruled Shutte. Jumara cited
Shutte favorably and reiterated Shutters
admonition that "the plaintiffs choice of venue should
not be lightly disturbed." Jumara, 55 F.3d at
879 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Thus, I
agree with Realtime that binding Third Circuit law compels me
to treat its forum choice as "a paramount
consideration" in the § 1404(a) balancing analysis.
however, asks me to ignore Shutte's unambiguous
language (and Jumara's endorsement of
Shutte) and instead give Realtime's forum choice
"minimal weight" because (1) the District of
Delaware is not Realtime's "home forum" or
"home turf," D.I. 11 at 10-11; D.I. 15 at 1-2; and
(2) the facts underlying the parties' dispute did not
occur in Delaware, D.I. 11 at 10-11.
cites in support of its position certain opinions issued by
district court and magistrate judges in the Third Circuit
that appear to assign less weight to a plaintiffs forum
choice when the forum is not the plaintiffs "home
forum" or "home turf-that is, if the plaintiff has
limited or no facilities, operations, or employees in the
forum-and/or when the facts giving rising to the lawsuit did
not occur in the plaintiffs selected forum. See D.I.
11 at 10-11; D.I. 15 at 1-2 (citations omitted). I am not,
however, persuaded that these opinions are consistent ...