be more convenient to the parties and their respective witnesses. Defendant points out that Eastern is headquartered in Miami as is all the supporting documentation necessary to support the action. Though Eastern concedes that ALPA's headquarters is located in Washington, D.C., it contends that the real party in interest is the Master Executive Council ("MEC") which represents ALPA membership at Eastern. The MEC is headquartered in Florida and would not be inconvenienced by litigating in that state.
One measure of convenience to the parties is the expense of transportation and the length of time that witnesses would be absent from their jobs. Hotel Constructors Inc. v. Seagrave Corp., 543 F. Supp. 1048, 1051 (N.D. Ill. 1982). According to this measure, neither party will be inconvenienced by litigating this action in the District of Columbia ("District" or "D.C."). Indeed, ALPA has identified several potential witnesses who reside in the District. Declaration by James L. Linsey, Sept. 27, 1987 at 3. Further, many of ALPA's officers who reside outside this region regularly do business in the District and will not be inconvenienced if called to testify in this forum. Similarly, Eastern would not be financially burdened by defending this litigation in the District. Even if several of Eastern's witnesses reside in Miami, the company can fly them to D.C. at negligible expense and effort. Furthermore, several of Eastern's executives listed as potential witnesses frequently travel to this district and have recently attended lengthy depositions in connection with a separate proceeding which Eastern chose to institute in this forum against ALPA, Eastern Air Lines Inc. v. The Air Line Pilots Association, No. 87-1063 (filed D.D.C. Apr. 16, 1987). Declaration of James L. Linsey, Oct. 6, 1987 at 4. If Eastern can choose to initiate a suit against ALPA in this forum, it certainly can defend a suit against the same party in the same forum without undue inconvenience.
Despite Eastern's claim that the vast bulk of the documentation is located in Miami, it would not be severely encumbered by having to photocopy these materials and transport them to this area. No matter where the litigation proceeds, these materials will have to be photocopied and shipped to Eastern's lawyers who live and work in the District area and to ALPA's lawyers who likewise live and work in D.C. as well as in New York. Once the material is photocopied, boxed and sent to the District, it would not be a significantly greater hardship to send an additional copy of these documents to the courthouse.
Finally, at oral argument, Eastern's counsel criticized ALPA for failing to cite any case authority in support of its opposition to the transfer motion. Besides the fact that counsel in its papers discounted the relevancy of case authority, arguing that each issue of convenience is "dependent on the facts of the particular case,"
Eastern's Reply at 10 note 11, the decisions Eastern relies upon highlight the weakness of its own motion. Defendant's lead authority, Securities and Exchange Commission v. Page Airways, Inc., 464 F. Supp. 461 (D.D.C. 1978) involved a suit against an aviation company and six individual officers and directors. Not only was the company's headquarters located in Rochester, as were the majority of both parties' witnesses, and the bulk of the documentation, but the company argued that its business would be substantially disrupted by having to litigate in D.C. because the individual defendants comprised the majority of its senior management. Similarly in Comptroller of Currency v. Calhoun First Nat. Bank, 626 F. Supp. 137 (D.D.C. 1985) the defendants, were a Georgia state bank, and a Georgia resident, all the relevant documents were located in Georgia, as were all the witnesses and the Comptroller's staff who conducted the investigation giving rise to the suit was located in Georgia. In addition to the strong bonds to Georgia, the defendants claimed that litigating in the plaintiff's chosen forum, D.C., would be extremely disruptive to its business. Finally, several suits arising out of that very investigation were pending in Georgia. In light of all these connections to Georgia, the Court concluded that a transfer to Georgia would be more convenient for all and that judicial resources would be protected by coordination of pretrial discovery.
In contrast to the circumstances in Page and Comptroller, where the parties had no contacts to the chosen forum, plaintiff has shown a variety of connections demonstrating that D.C. is not an inconvenient location. Furthermore, unlike the defendants in Page or Comptroller, Eastern has never suggested that defending this action in the District would immobilize or even disrupt its business operations. Finally, as already discussed, the transfer of this action to Florida would not promote judicial efficiency.
Eastern has failed to carry its burden of demonstrating that the forum chosen by ALPA is inconvenient or contrary to the interests of justice.
Accordingly, it is this 14th day of October, 1987,
That Defendant's Motion to Change Venue is denied.
A Scheduling Order is also entered on this date establishing a discovery schedule and setting forth pretrial and trial requirements and dates.