UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
May 24, 1963
MARMAC INDUSTRIES, INC.
NATIONWIDE MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY and American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUSEN
This is an action for breach of contract and for consequential damages flowing therefrom which has been brought by plaintiff corporation for allegedly sustained losses when a fire destroyed its building in Wenonah, New Jersey, and damaged the contents therein. Plaintiff contends that on the date of the fire, May 4, 1962, it was insured for the loss by both defendant insurance companies and this suit was instituted after the companies refused to pay plaintiff for its alleged loss. Defendants have filed motions to transfer the action to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey under 28 U.S.C.A. 1404(a) (Documents 9 and 10), which motions are now before the court.
Defendants contend that their Motions should be granted for the convenience of the parties and the witnesses and in the interest of justice. Plaintiff opposes the Motions on the grounds that its choice of forum should be given great weight, that certain adjustors, an accountant and some claim agents, who it claims will be its key witnesses, are located in Pennsylvania, and that it would be inconvenient for plaintiff to engage New Jersey counsel. There is no contention that this action could not have been brought in New Jersey.
After considering all the relevant factors of record,
the hearing judge is of the opinion that defendants have met their burden of showing that the convenience of the witnesses and the ends of justice will be better served by a trial in the transferee District and that, therefore, the Motions to Transfer will be granted.
The following facts of record, among others, support the defendants' Motions:
(a) Plaintiff is a New Jersey corporation with its principal place of business in Wenonah, Gloucester County, New Jersey, approximately 17 miles from the Federal Court House in Camden, New Jersey.
(b) Defendants are doing business in New Jersey and are subject to process within the state of New Jersey.
(c) All fact witnesses relating to the fire and the loss allegedly sustained reside in or near Gloucester County, New Jersey, with the exception of certain adjustors, etc., who are not fact witnesses to the fire itself.
(d) The property insured and the place of loss alleged in the Complaint are in Wenonah, New Jersey.
(e) The policies of insurance which plaintiff is suing on were issued in New Jersey.
(f) The law of New Jersey is applicable to the policies of insurance and the claim for consequential damages, and the judges of the New Jersey District Court are more familiar with that law than the judges of this court.
(g) It may be necessary and desirable during the course of trial that the jury make an inspection of the premises, which would be more readily available if the case were tried in New Jersey.
(h) This protracted case will be reached much more rapidly in the District of New Jersey due to a less crowded docket.
For the above reasons, the fact that plaintiff's having to obtain New Jersey counsel is not one of the factors to be given great weight,
and the relatively slight connection of Pennsylvania with the litigation,
this case will be transferred to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, where trial may be had at the U.S. Court House, camden, N.J.