The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVIS
Before the Court is a motion by the Reading Railroad to transfer this action to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, in accordance with Section 1404(a) of the Judicial Code. In the alternative, the Reading seeks a stay of further proceedings in this suit pending the prosecution of a prior action in the District of Columbia between the same parties, and involving essentially the same issues.
For the convenience and interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought.
Although we are convinced that the "convenience" of the parties, and the "interest of justice" would be best served by transferring this action to the District of Columbia for the reasons stated in the latter part of this Opinion, the plaintiff has correctly suggested that transfer is inappropriate, since the moving party has failed to establish that the action "might have been brought" in the transferee forum (District of Columbia).
In Hoffman v. Blaski, 363 U.S. 335, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1254, 80 S. Ct. 1084 (1960), the "might have been brought" provision of Section 1404(a) was construed to require a determination of whether the applicable venue statute would render the defendant amenable to suit in the transferee forum as of the time suit was instituted in the transferor forum.
To comply with this requirement, the Reading must establish that it was amenable to suit in the District of Columbia as of February 27, 1967, the date of commencement of this lawsuit. This has not been accomplished. Under section 1391(c) of the Judicial Code, venue is proper in any district in which the corporation is incorporated, licensed to do business, or is doing business.
The evidence submitted indicates that the Reading is incorporated in Pennsylvania, and maintains its headquarters and principal place of business in Philadelphia.
In addition, there has been no demonstration that it is "doing business" in the District of Columbia, although this point was expressly raised by the plaintiff in his brief and an oral argument, and uncontroverted by the defendant. Since the defendant has not met its burden as the moving party of establishing that this action may have been brought in the District of Columbia, the motion to transfer under section 1404(a) must be denied.
MOTION TO STAY FURTHER PROCEEDINGS
An examination of the history of this conflict is relevant to the question of whether this Court should favorably consider the defendant's motion to stay further proceedings in this District, pending the prosecution and ultimate decision in the previously filed District of Columbia action.
On November 26, 1963, an arbitration award was promulgated which authorized the elimination of most of the firemen's positions on diesel locomotives.
On appeal, the award was affirmed, in Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Enginemen v. Chicago, B. & Q.R. Co., 225 F. Supp. 11 (D.D.C. 1964) in an opinion by Judge Holtzoff.
A dispute then arose as to whether the rules prior to the award would be reinstated, thereby again requiring the extensive use of firemen, or as the carriers contended, whether the rules as modified by the award would remain in effect until again reviewed. This limited question was again considered by Judge Holtzoff, in Bangor & Aroostook R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Enginemen, 253 F. Supp. 682 (D.D.C. 1966), who held that the effect of the Arbitration Award was that "a new status had been created and no change may be made in that status except by agreement or by the service of notices under Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act . . ." id, at 686. However, the Brotherhood has challenged the interpretation which the Railroads have placed upon Judge Holtzoff's opinion regarding the "new status."
In addition, there is a question as to whether the arbitration award and subsequent decision by Judge Holtzoff encompasses the new freight program which the Reading has instituted. To clarify this question, the Reading instituted a suit in the District of Columbia in December of 1966, two months before the present action in this District.
Essentially, the exercise of the power to stay further proceedings according to Justice Cardozo,
"is incidental to the power inherent in every Court to control the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy of time and effort for ...