In a recent ruling, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico decided to defer to the plaintiffs’ choice of forum. Two plaintiffs, a husband and a wife, sued a trucking company that the wife had worked for as a commercial truck driver. The couple also sued in the same complaint a trainer who had worked for the trucking company. The company filed a motion, opposed by the plaintiffs, to transfer the lawsuit to the Western District of Kentucky, where the company allegedly maintained its principal place of business. The trainer did not take a position on the relief requested in the motion to change venue as of the time that the U.S. District Court acted on the motion.
Among the orders that a federal trial court presiding over a lawsuit can make is an order transferring venue. Venue can be transferred to any other district court in which the action could have been brought, pursuant to section 1404(a) of Title 28 of the United States Code. A party seeking the relief of venue transfer must show that the existing forum is an inconvenient forum. While a plaintiff’s choice of forum is afforded some deference, there are multiple factors that courts consider when deciding a motion to transfer venue.
Among the factors that the court identified as informing the analysis in this case were witness accessibility, the cost of proving the case, the ability to enforce a judgment if one is obtained in the case, the difficulties arising from the congestion of courts’ dockets, the advantages of having local courts decide questions of local law, and practical considerations that would facilitate expeditious and economical trial of the case.