that these witnesses have offices and reside in or near Buffalo; that two of these witnesses have the primary responsibility for industrial relations at the Lackawanna plant and their absence would impair administration of the industrial relations program there; that the management of the plant would be handicapped if it were necessary for a named witness to be in Philadelphia for the trial; that if the trial were held in Buffalo, these witnesses could devote time to their duties even on those days when their attendance was required at the trial so that normal operating procedures would not be disturbed.
Plaintiffs do not deny the truth of these averments. They assert, however, that there are 'substantially' no factual issues to be tried, the principal question being one of law. It is a hazardous undertaking, at best, to make any such prediction in the absence of answer filed. Moreover, our experience in this troubled field of litigation persuades us that the case may well present serious and intricate issues of fact.
Plaintiffs further contend that insofar as factual issues may arise, this forum is more convenient than the Western District of New York; that the principal defendant is the corporation; that upon information and belief, the decision to discharge plaintiffs was made by the Company's principal office in this district and not by subordinate officials in New York. Speaking of the Union's determination not to seek arbitration, plaintiffs say, 'Here again an important determination of policy was made, not by the locals in Buffalo but by the national office of the union located in this state.' Apart from the conjectural and speculative character of these considerations, it still remains true that plaintiffs can produce the testimony of Union and Company officials at trial in Buffalo with far less inconvenience to themselves than would be visited upon defendants by trial in this District.
The third test under the statute is 'in the interest of justice.' Considerations of public interest include the undesirability of piling up litigation in congested centers, the burden of jury duty on people of a community having no relation to the litigation, the local interest in having localized controversies decided at home, the unnecessary injection of problems in conflict of laws. Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 67 S. Ct. 839, 91 L. Ed. 1055. Particularly to be noted is the relative condition of the court calendars in this District and the Western District of New York. Reference to the most recent statistics of the Administrative Office discloses that the time interval from filing to trial of civil cases is 25.0 and 11.3 months, respectively. Civil cases pending number 3993 and 411, respectively. Clearly, the public interest in the prompt and orderly administration of justice, and considerations of practical convenience, alike, dictate transfer.
We are not unmindful of the consideration due the plaintiffs' choice of forum. However, some limitation of a plaintiff's choice is inherent in the very nature and purpose of the statute. In All States Freight v. Modarelli, 3 Cir., 1952, 196 F.2d 1010, the Court of Appeals of this Circuit considered the purpose and effect of Sec. 1404(a), and sharply distinguished it from the forum non conveniens doctrine (at page 1011):
'The statute limits the privilege of the plaintiff to have his lawsuit tried in the forum of his choosing if he can there get jurisdiction over the defendant. The purpose of the limitation is clearly to make the inevitably uncomfortable (for the litigant) judicial process cheaper and more convenient and, if possible, more prompt. * * * Its words should be considered for what they say, not with preconceived limitations derived from the forum non conveniens doctrine.'
Careful consideration of all the relevant factors persuades us that defendants' motions to transfer should be granted. It is accordingly unnecessary to consider defendants' other motions.
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