presents a few novel aspects within the framework of these principles.
This Court has concluded, first, that the aggregate convenience of parties strongly militates for transfer to the Southern District of New York. Most of the evidence seems to be there. A majority of relevant witnesses seem to be there, or near there, with the rest scattered across the country. The Southern District of New York seems much more convenient from the viewpoint of Court administration, much more convenient for most defendants, much more convenient for Plaintiffs' discovery, no less convenient in terms of access to the named plaintiffs, and no less convenient to the proposed class of plaintiffs as a whole. No specific acts or evidence peculiarly necessary to proof of the case have been shown in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and we conclude there are none.
It is apparent that this case was brought in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for one reason only. Plaintiffs' attorney, one of the most able anti-trust lawyers in the country, maintains his office here. Buttressing the argument that Plaintiffs' choice of forum, for whatever reason, must be given great weight, Plaintiffs argue that there is nothing wrong with choosing to bring a Clayton Act anti-trust class action with broad national implications in the district where the best lawyer resides as long as minimal jurisdictional contacts with that district exist. The reason for the broad scope of the Clayton Act venue provisions was to give defendant [plaintiff] the widest possible selection of venue for his benefit, to promote a "private attorney general" type policy for exposing and policing combinations in restraint of trade. It makes more sense in light of this policy, to allow a named plaintiff to bring such an action where the best representation can be had most economically than it does to make him bring it where he happens to reside. And unless Plaintiffs' choice of forum on such grounds is respected, cases will almost inevitably end up in defendant's home district for lack of any reason that they should be elsewhere (in a nationwide anti-trust class action), since the acts emanating from the center of the spider web have fairly uniform effect on every other section of it.
Ranged against this argument are three considerations. First, when a case becomes as big as most nationwide anti-trust class actions, the very size of the potential recovery tends to insure that it will be ably litigated wherever it is ultimately brought. If the action succeeds, attorneys' fees and costs are paid by defendant, insuring that monetary inducement will be sufficient to attract the best counsel wherever the action may be, if such a huge case appears meritorious. The class action device has moved economic forces in such a way that plaintiffs and defendants are more in parity.
Second, although the Court is well aware of the outstanding qualifications of the particular attorney in this case, Courts cannot really inquire into the actual eminence of the attorney whom a named plaintiff happens to have selected to prosecute his class action. Therefore, if Plaintiffs' choice of forum were to be upheld, based solely upon the presence of competent counsel, it would effectively mean that plaintiff could actually bring an anti-trust class action wherever it might be brought and be insulated against transfer simply by invoking his regard for the quality of his attorney, whether that quality were there in actual fact or not.
Third, and perhaps most persuasive, is the danger that certain Judicial Districts might in the course of time simply become specialized adjuncts of the successful practice drawn there and brought there by competent counsel. At least some territorial requirement more than that present in every district in a nationwide class action, has the virtue of spreading the cases over the Judicial System more equitably.
If there had been any necessary facts peculiarly capable of proof in this District, any necessary witnesses in this District, if the Plaintiff class had shown any concentration in this District, perhaps the decision of this Court would have been different. But on the facts presented by this case, it is in the opinion of this Court most logical for the convenience of parties and witnesses, and also in the best interest of justice, that the Defendant's Motion for Transfer be Granted.
And Now, to wit, this 8th day of November, 1972, it is Ordered that Defendant's Motion for Transfer to the Southern District of New York is hereby Granted.
It Is So Ordered.
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.