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C. Defendants' Motion for Change of Venue

Defendants' next motion is for a change of venue. They argue that this action's present venue, the Eastern District of Michigan, is improper, and should thus be transferred. They further argue that Plaintiff "is a large corporation with extensive resources," and that Defendants have comparatively few resources; thus Defendants would be subject to a much heavier burden to litigate in Michigan than Plaintiff would suffer having to litigate in Texas. Therefore, it is most equitable to adjudicate this case in Texas.

As for Defendants' first contention, venue is proper in the Eastern District of Michigan. Venue is proper "in a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred...." 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2). The harm alleged in this case is a violation of Plaintiff's trademark. Though Plaintiff's shopping mall is located in Texas, it is Plaintiff, located in Michigan, that is injured. See Radical Products v. Sundays Distributing, 821 F. Supp. 648, 649-50 (W.D. Wash. 1992) (finding that venue in a trademark infringement case was proper in Washington because a substantial part of the case, namely the damage, occurred in plaintiff's home state of Washington, even though defendants, a California corporation, did not actually sell the disputed product in Washington). Because damages are a "substantial part" of a claim for both trademark violation, see 15 U.S.C. § 1114; see also 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), as well as a violation of the Anti-Cybersquatting Act, see 15 U.S.C. § 1125, venue is proper in Michigan.

As for Defendants' second contention, the factors in favor of transferring venue do not outweigh the factors in favor of retaining venue. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) provides for transferring venue:

    (a) For 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.

"District courts have wide discretion to transfer an action under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) in order to prevent waste of time, energy and money, and to protect litigants, witnesses and the public against unnecessary inconvenience and expense." Helder v. Hitachi Power Tools, USA Ltd., 764 F. Supp. 93, 95-96 (E.D. Mich. 1991). A court, however, "should give deference to a plaintiff's choice of venue." See General Motors Corp. v. Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, 948 F. Supp. 656, 668 (E.D. Mich. 1996). "When a defendant moves to change the forum, he must overcome the presumption that the plaintiff has chosen the proper forum." Id.

The first question for a court when considering a motion under § 1404(a) is whether "the transferred action could have been brought in the transferee court." McNic Oil & Gas Co. v. IBEX Resources Co., L.L.C., 23 F. Supp. 2d 729 (E.D. Mich. 1998) (quoting In re Air Crash Disaster at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on August 16, 1987, 737 F. Supp. 391, 393 (E.D. Mich. 1989)). If answered in the affirmative, then a court should consider the following factors when ruling on a motion under § 1404(a):

    (1) the convenience of the parties; (2) the convenience of the witnesses; (3) the relative ease of access to sources of proof; (4) the availability of process to compel attendance of unwilling witnesses; (5) the cost of obtaining willing witnesses; (6) the practical problems associated with trying the case most expeditiously and inexpensively; and (7) the interest of justice.

Helder, 764 F. Supp. at 96. Further, a court may also consider: (1) administrative difficulties caused by the litigation; (2) burdening members of a community unrelated to the litigation with jury duty; (3) the interest of having local disputes resolved locally; and (4) the appropriateness of having a diversity case "in a forum that is at home with the state law that must govern the case." Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508-09 (1947). In short, a court may consider any factor that may make a trial "easy, expeditious, and inexpensive." Grand Kensington, LLC v. Burger King Corp., 81 F. Supp. 2d 834, 836 (E.D. Mich. 2000).

As an initial matter, the Court finds that this action could have been brought in the Northern District of Texas because it is a judicial district in which all Defendants reside. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a)(1). Therefore, the case could be transferred to the Northern District of Texas under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Defendants, however, do not present the Court with a compelling reason to transfer venue. Defendants essentially argue that it will be prohibitively expensive to litigate this case in Michigan, whereas Plaintiff would suffer much less of a burden to prosecute its case in Texas.

Though Defendants' concerns are not unfounded, the Court does not agree that Plaintiff should be required to travel to Texas to vindicate its rights if indeed its trademark was infringed. Aside from Plaintiffs obvious interest in the present venue, a number of other factors in favor of retaining venue are implicated; for instance, a Michigan jury would have an interest in deciding a case with a Michigan party. In addition, this litigation is past the initial stage; a scheduling conference has been held and a preliminary injunction has been issued. Thus, at this stage, judicial economy would not be served by uprooting this case and transplanting it to another court. Therefore, Defendants' Motion to Transfer Venue is DENIED.

Next: Plaintiffs Expedited Motion to Amend Preliminary Injunction

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