I find that this is the case concerning the motions to transfer the Hanahan and Miller actions from Illinois and Michigan, respectively, to this jurisdiction. The transfer of these cases served the convenience of all the parties and of the witnesses. Opinion of Marovich, J. at 7; opinion of Newblatt, J. at 2. The witnesses in this case will be primarily union officers, employees and others, all of whom live or periodically visit the District of Columbia. Neither the Northern District of Illinois nor the Eastern District of Michigan, where the complaints were filed, has any relationship with the defendants' alleged conduct, the witnesses, the investments, or the construction loans. UBC headquarters are in the District of Columbia, and UBC documents concerning the alleged misconduct are in the District of Columbia.
The courts in Illinois and in Michigan noted that the plaintiffs were unable to "even contend that there [was] any contact whatsoever between the [chosen forum] and the cause of action." Opinion of Marovich, J. at 4 (emphasis added); see Opinion of Newblatt, J. at 2. Nor have the plaintiffs been able to explain why two lawsuits were brought, seeking the same exact relief against the same defendants, rather than one.
Transferring these cases to the District of Columbia will serve the interest of the UBC. The attendance of UBC witnesses is facilitated, as is the discovery of UBC documents. All the UBC resources are close at hand and more easily accessible, so that justice may better be served. With the case being litigated here, the union is in a better position to monitor and, indeed, to participate in the events of this case. Moreover, the consolidation of these two actions, which was only possible once they were in one jurisdiction, will relieve the UBC from the burden of having to unnecessarily duplicate documents and having its employees and members undergo duplicative interrogatories, depositions, and court appearances.
In addition, Mr. Lucassen is currently the president of the UBC, and as such, he must continue to conduct the day-to-day activities of the Union. Despite being a defendant in these actions, Mr. Lucassen is not alleged to have initiated any of these allegedly "bad investments" or to have acted in a self-dealing manner. It is clearly in the UBC's interest to have the service of its president -- and other officers -- with the minimum amount of disruption. This can be best achieved by litigating these actions in Washington, D.C., the site of the UBC's headquarters.
These facts meet the test set out by the Highway Truck Drivers court. The motions to transfer involved absolutely no conflict of interest between the union and the defendant officers. In fact, the UBC's interest in having the two actions transferred here, while procedural in nature, is important to the Union, and justifies the payment of attorneys' fees for the work done by defendants' counsel to move the cases to Washington, D.C.
Because the transfer served the interests of the UBC, reimbursement of attorneys' fees expended in connection with the transfer motion will be permitted for defendants Lucassen, Wrigley, McGowan and Krieger. No additional attorney's fees will be permitted to be paid from union funds on behalf of defendants in connection with this action without prior approval of this Court.
An Order accompanies this Opinion.
ORDER - May 22, 1991, Filed
Upon consideration of the motions by defendants and plaintiffs, oral argument, and the entire record in this case, it is hereby
ORDERED, that the above-captioned cases are consolidated for all purposes; and it is further
ORDERED, that defendants' motion for reconsideration of the ex parte orders granting plaintiffs leave to bring this action and to dismiss the complaint is GRANTED only as to defendants McGowan and Krieger because of plaintiffs' failure to present the UBC with a demand to sue these defendants; and it is further
ORDERED, that the complaints against defendants McGowan and Krieger are DISMISSED without prejudice; and it is further
ORDERED, that plaintiffs shall have 30 days from the issuance of this ORDER in which to petition this Court to rename defendants McGowan and Krieger if, after presenting the UBC with a formal request to sue, the UBC declines to sue; and it is further
ORDERED, that defendants Lucassen, Wrigley, McGowan and Krieger shall not be enjoined from seeking reimbursement from the UBC for those attorneys' fees incurred in relation to the transfer of the above-captioned cases to the District of Columbia.