Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiffs (husband and wife) brought an action in the District of Columbia Superior Court against Defendant, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, alleging that they suffered injuries because the wife’s mother ingested DES when she was pregnant with the wife. Defendant removed the matter to federal district court in the District of Columbia, on the basis of diversity. Defendant then moved to transfer the matter to federal district court in Massachusetts, pursuant to 28 USC 1404(a). Defendant asserted that the private and public interests involved favored the transfer.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
To justify transfer, a defendant must establish:
There is a strong presumption in favor of the plaintiff's choice of forum, which may be overcome only when the private and public interest factors clearly point towards trial in the alternative forum.View Full Point of Law
Judith MacMunn and her husband brought an action against Defendant, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, in Superior Court in the District of Columbia. Plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that they suffered damages because Ms. MacMunn’s mother’s ingested DES while pregnant with Ms. MacMunn. Plaintiffs asserted claims for strict liabilty, negligence, breach of warranty, misrepresentation, and loss of consortium. Defendant removed the proceeding to federal court in the District of Columbia, on the basis of diversity. Subsequently, Defendant moved to transfer the proceeding to federal district court in Massachusetts. The Defendant asserted that both private and public interests favored transfer.
Was transfer to the federal district court in Massachusetts warranted in this case?
Yes. In this case, the relevant private and public interests favored transfer of the proceeding to the District of Massachusetts.
For transfer, the defendant must establish that the plaintiff could originally have brought the proceeding in the proposed transferee district and that considerations of convenience and the interests of justice weigh in favor of the transfer. For the latter inquiry, the court considers a number of private factors (plaintiff’s choice of forum, defendants choice of forum, where the claim arose, convenience of parties, convenience of witnesses, ease of access to proof) and public interest factors (e.g., transferee’s familiarity with governing laws, court calendar congestion, local interest).