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Law School Case Brief

Smith v. Colonial Penn Ins. Co. - 943 F. Supp. 782 (S.D. Tex. 1996)

Rule:

Vague statements about the convenience of unknown and unnamed witnesses is insufficient to cause the trial court to conclude that the convenience of the witnesses and the parties would be best served by transferring venue.

Facts:

Plaintiff Stephanie Smith filed a breach of contract action against defendant Colonial Penn Insurance Company based on an insurance contract entered into between the parties. Smith filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division. Colonial Penn filed a motion to transfer the action to the Houston Division of the same district court for the convenience of the witnesses and the parties, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 1404(a).

Issue:

Should the motion to transfer venue be granted in order to avoid the inconvenience that Colonial might suffer?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court denied the motion, holding that the vague statements Colonial had offered were insufficient to convince the court that the convenience of the witnesses and parties would be best served by transferring venue. The court noted that a change of venue could entail delays and, in any event, concluded that it was not appropriate to disturb the forum chosen by Smith to avoid the "insignificant inconvenience" that Colonial might suffer.

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