United States District Court, D. Kansas
MICHAEL I. DREESE, Plaintiff,
NEIGHBORS & ASSOCIATES, INC., d/b/a BOSS TANK/TANK AFFILIATE, Defendant.
P. O'HARA U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
question before the court is the appropriate place of trial
for this employment-discrimination case. Plaintiff's
complaint alleges he was terminated from his position as
plant manager of defendant's Oswego, Kansas, facility,
and designates Kansas City, Kansas, as the place of
trial. Defendant's answer requests Wichita,
Kansas, as the place of trial.Defendant has filed a motion under
D. Kan. Rule 40.2, asking the court to resolve this conflict
and designate Wichita as the place of trial (ECF No. 8).
Rule 40.2(e), “[t]he court is not bound by the
[parties'] requests for place of trial. It may determine
the place of trial upon motion or in its discretion.”
When considering a motion for intra-district transfer of the
trial location, the court looks to the same factors relevant
to a motion for change of venue under 28 U.S.C. §
1404. Section 1404(a) provides, in pertinent
part, that “[f]or the convenience of the 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.” “The court
considers the following factors in determining whether to
transfer the case: (1) plaintiff's choice of forum; (2)
the convenience of the witnesses; (3) the accessibility of
witnesses and other sources of proof; (4) the possibility of
obtaining a fair trial; and (5) all other practical
considerations that make a trial easy, expeditious, and
economical.” The party moving to transfer the case
bears the burden of proving the existing forum is
inconvenient. “Generally, unless the balance
weighs strongly in favor of transfer, the plaintiff's
choice of forum is not disturbed.” However, because
this preference is based on the assumption that the plaintiff
resides in the chosen forum, “it is largely
inapplicable if the plaintiff does not reside
there.” In the end, the court has “broad
discretion in deciding a motion to transfer based upon a
case-by-case review of convenience and
the relevant factors, the court is not convinced-at least at
this early stage in the litigation-that the place of trial
should be transferred from Kansas City to Wichita. First,
plaintiff has designated Kansas City as the place of trial.
Because plaintiff does not reside in Kansas City, but instead
resides in Tennessee, this factor does not weigh
significantly in plaintiff's favor, but it does weigh at
least minimally in favor of keeping the trial in Kansas City.
defendant has not demonstrated that Wichita is a more
convenient forum for witnesses or other sources of evidence.
The parties have not yet disclosed their likely witnesses,
but it is reasonable to assume they will reside near
defendant's plant in Oswego where plaintiff worked, or
near defendant's headquarters in Parsons, Kansas. The
driving distance from either of these locations to the
federal courthouses in Wichita and Kansas City are not
materially different (at most, driving to Kansas City might
add 15 miles to the trip).
defendant has not suggested it cannot obtain a fair trial in
considerations of economy and convenience weigh in favor of
keeping the trial in Kansas City. The presiding judge
assigned to this case offices in Kansas City. In addition,
counsel for both sides are located in the Kansas City
THEREFORE ORDERED that defendant's motion to designate
Wichita as the place of trial is denied.
ECF No. 1 at 4.
ECF No. 4 at 5.
Performance Food Grp. v. Ajax
Int'l Grp., LLC, No. 12-2525-JAR, 2012 WL 5227926,
at *1 (D. Kan. Oct. 22, 2012); Menefee v. Zepick,
No. 09-2127-JWL, 2009 WL 1313236, at *1 (D. Kan. May 12,
2009); Benson v. Hawker Beechcraft Corp., No.