United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
April 15, 2014
3A COMPOSITES USA, INC. a Missouri corporation, Plaintiff,
UNITED INDUSTRIES, INC., an Arkansas corporation, and WESLEY PAULIN, Defendants.
RICHARD L. VOORHEES, District Judge.
THIS MATTER is before the Court on Objections filed by Plaintiff 3A Composites USA, Inc. ("3A"), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). (Docs. 27-29). Plaintiff objects to the October 4, 2013 Order of U.S. Magistrate Judge David C. Keesler granting Defendants' United Industries, Inc.'s ("United") and Wesley Paulin's ("Paulin") Motion to Transfer Venue to the Western District of Arkansas. (Doc. 26).
Applying the governing standard, which requires the undersigned to consider whether the Magistrate Judge's ruling is "clearly erroneous and contrary to law, " the Court affirms the October 4, 2013 Order and overrules Plaintiff's Objections. A fair reading of the Magistrate Judge's Order confirms that he conducted a thorough review of the record and applied the correct legal standard. Despite Plaintiff's argument to the contrary, the Magistrate Judge held Defendants to the "heavy burden" of establishing that the proposed transfer of venue is consistent with and, in fact, warranted pursuant to the relevant factors. See Stewart Org., Inc. v Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 32 (1988). The Court emphasizes that the applicable law contemplates that a court's decision to transfer or not transfer venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) is largely discretionary. See 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (2010) ("for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district court or division where it might have been brought"); Landers v. Dawson Const. Plant Ltd., 201 F.3d 436, 1999 WL 991419, *2 (4th Cir. 1999).
In this case, the Magistrate Judge's decision was driven by the finding that the underlying conduct challenged by Plaintiff occurred in Arkansas. (10/4/13 Order, 4-5, 9). While there were several factors deemed to be neutral, this factor also informed other key Stewart factors: relative ease of access to proof, and the availability of witnesses. (10/4/13 Order, 10-11). In addition, Plaintiff's choice of forum was entitled to less weight than in an ordinary case for this reason. (10/4/13 Order, 9). The Magistrate Judge was careful to address the Plaintiff's choice of the North Carolina forum and the different facts that influenced the weight the Court ultimately attributed to Plaintiff 3A's choice. (10/4/13 Order, 8-9). Furthermore, while the Magistrate Judge recognized that the alleged injury to Plaintiff was allegedly sustained in North Carolina, it was noted that the alleged injury was "based on events occurring in Arkansas...." (10/4/13 Order, 12).
In conclusion, there is no apparent clear error. Likewise, the Court is not persuaded that the Magistrate Judge's analysis is contrary to law. The October 2013 Order granting Defendants' Motion to Transfer Venue to the Western District of Arkansas is affirmed and Plaintiff's Objections are overruled.