Law School Case Brief
Leonard v. Pepsico Inc. - CASE NO.: 96-2555-CIV-KING, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22407 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 4, 1996)
The considerations relevant to a transfer pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 1404(a) are: (1) the convenience of the parties; (2) the convenience of the witnesses; (3) the relative ease of access to sources of proof; (4) the availability of process to compel presence of unwilling witnesses; (5) the cost of obtaining the presence of the witnesses; and (6) the public interest.
Plaintiff consumer, a resident of Washington, saw a television commercial in Washington. He first submitted his order for one of defendant Pepsico Inc.’s products in Minnesota. He later submitted the order form in New York. Pepsico Inc., which conducted business nationwide, was chartered in North Carolina with its principal place of business in New York. The only connection the case had to the forum was that the consumer's lawyer was in Florida. Defendant corporation filed a motion to dismiss or in the alternative transfer.
Where defendant nationwide corporation's principal place of business was in New York and plaintiff consumer's lawyer was in Florida, was defendant's 28 U.S.C.S. § 1404(a) motion to transfer to a New York federal court warranted?
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida found that plaintiff consumer had filed his case in a forum that had no meaningful relationship to the controversy. The Court considered six factors to find that a transfer was warranted, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 1404(a). For example, this case does not involve the rights of a Florida resident, and it does not involve a cause of action that arose in Florida. Because the two parties are already litigating a declaratory judgment action involving these very issues in the Southern District of New York, this case could easily be consolidated with that ongoing litigation. The balance of conveniences weighed heavily in favor of transfer to the Southern District of New York. Accordingly, the Court granted defendant corporation's motion to transfer the case.
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