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Legal Memorandum: Transfer-of-venue in a Civil Case

Issue: When is a transfer-of-venue appropriate in a civil case?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Transfer-of-venue; Convenience of parties and witnesses; Interest of justice
Jurisdiction: Federal, Minnesota, South Carolina
Cited Cases: 759 F. Supp. 1397; 487 U.S. 22
Cited Statutes: 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (2010); 8 U.S.C. § 1404(a); 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a), (b)
Date: 11/01/2010

The federal transfer-of-venue statute sets out a three-part balancing test, requiring courts to consider (1) the convenience of the parties, (2) the convenience of the witnesses, and (3) the interest of justice.  28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (2010); see, e.g., Nelson v. Master Lease Corp., 759 F. Supp. 1397, 1401 (D. Minn. 1991) (applying factors).  Under the statute, transfer of venue is proper for the convenience of the parties and the witnesses, and to serve the interest of justice, as long the case could have originally been brought in the requested transferee district.  See 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).  The court’s determination of whether to transfer venue must be made on an individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness.  See Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 23 (1988); Steward v. Up North Plastics, Inc., 177 F. Supp. 2d 953, 960 (D. Minn. 2001).   

A civil action may be brought “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(a), (b). 

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