United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
E.K. PRATTER United States District Judge
James-Velardo and Christopher Wallace complain that Joseph
Lewis caused them serious injuries when he negligently
operated a United States Postal Service Mack Tractor-Trailer
and collided with their vehicle. The United States has moved
to transfer this action to Florida, where the alleged
tortious conduct took place. Ms. James-Velardo and Mr.
Wallace, both citizens of Pennsylvania, oppose that motion.
For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny the motion.
James-Velardo and Mr. Wallace, who both reside in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, allege that Mr. Lewis, a resident
of Jacksonville, Florida, suddenly and without warning made a
left turn, crossed over into their lane of travel, and struck
their motor vehicle. The accident took place in Jacksonville
while Mr. Lewis was working as a United States Postal
employee. Both Ms. James-Velardo and Mr. Wallace allege that
they have suffered serious injuries as a result of the
accident. Ms. James-Velardo and Mr. Wallace each ask for no
more than $50, 000 in damages and allege claims of
after the Complaint was filed, the United States moved to
transfer this action to the Middle District of Florida
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), arguing that the Middle
District of Florida would be a more convenient forum.
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), “[f]or the convenience of
parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district
court may transfer any civil action to any other district or
division where it might have been brought or to any district
or division to which all parties have consented.” Once
it is determined that a case could have been brought in the
proposed transferee district, a court must weigh a variety of
private and public factors to determine whether the matter
should be transferred under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The
private factors include:
[1 P]laintiff's forum preference as manifested in the
original choice;  the defendant's preference; 
whether the claim arose elsewhere;  the convenience of the
parties as indicated by their relative physical and financial
condition;  the convenience of the witnesses-but only to
the extent that the witnesses may actually be unavailable for
trial in one of the fora; and  the location of books and
records (similarly limited to the extent that the files could
not be produced in the alternative forum)
Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d
Cir. 1995) (internal citations omitted). The public factors
[1 T]he enforceability of the judgment;  practical
considerations that could make the trial easy, expeditious,
or inexpensive;  the relative administrative difficulty in
the two fora resulting from court congestion;  the local
interest in deciding local controversies at home;  the
public policies of the fora; and  the familiarity of the
trial judge with the applicable state law in diversity cases.
Id. at 879-80 (citations omitted). The movant
carries the heavy burden of establishing the need for
transfer, as the plaintiff's choice of venue
“should not be lightly disturbed.” Id.
United States argues that this matter should be transferred
to the Middle District of Florida. No one argues that the
Middle District of Florida would not be a proper venue. Thus,
the analysis turns to the consideration of the private and
public Jumara factors.
United States argues first that Ms. James-Velardo and Mr.
Wallace's choice of forum is entitled to little deference
because the operative facts occurred elsewhere, citing cases
that support the proposition that “where none of the
operative facts of the action occurred in the plaintiff's
chosen forum, the choice is afforded less weight.”
See Gaskins v. National R.R. Passenger Corp., No.
CIV. A. 00-5144, 2001 WL 322518 at *1 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 21
2001); Silong v. United States, No.
5:05-CV-55-OC-10GRJ, 2006 WL ...