The opinion of the court was delivered by: URBINA
Granting Motion to Transfer
This matter comes before the court upon Primerica Life Insurance Company (Primerica) and Federal Kemper Life Assurance Company's (Kemper) motion to transfer this action to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
After careful consideration of the pleadings and the entire record herein, the court concludes that the defendants' motion to transfer shall be granted because the present action could have been brought in Maryland and the interests of the parties and of potential witnesses, as well as the interest of justice dictate that the action be heard in that forum.
Leopold Kafack (Mr. Kafack), a resident of the District of Columbia, has lodged a civil complaint against Primerica, Kemper, Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company (Transamerica), and Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc. (Equifax). Primerica, Kemper, and Transamerica are insurance companies that sold separate life insurance policies to the plaintiffs father, Sontsa Kemetong (Mr. Kemetong). The plaintiff filed a seven count complaint based on the following causes of action: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; (3) malicious prosecution; (4) defamation; (5) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (6) breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and (7) tortious interference with contract The breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing causes of action are based on the issuance of the three insurance policies. Mr. Kafack alleges that the insurance company defendants entered into a conspiracy to deny him benefits due under these three life insurance policies, two of which were entered into in Maryland. The third policy was entered into in the District of Columbia. The malicious prosecution, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference with contract causes of action are premised upon the allegation that all of the defendants maliciously aided a criminal prosecution of the plaintiff by Maryland authorities by falsely accusing the plaintiff of criminal conduct. Mr. Kafack's complaint requests a judgment for over $ 60,000,000 in compensatory and punitive damages against each of the defendants.
Mr. Kafack is the son of Mr. Kemetong, who is now deceased. Mr. Kafack is the named beneficiary of the three life insurance policies purchased by Mr. Kemetong. Mr. Kemetong was a citizen of the Republic of Cameroon. Mr. Kafack asserts that, between 1990 and 1992, Mr. Kemetong purchased from each of the defendant insurance companies; life insurance policies providing for a cumulative total death benefit of $ 1,000,000. Mr. Kafack maintains that Mr. Kemetong died of malarial fever on February 5, 1993 while in Cameroon on business. In late March and early April 1993, Mr. Kafack asserts that he applied to the defendants Primerica, Kemper, and Transamerica for payment of the life insurance policy proceeds due and owing as a result of his father's death. He avers that Primerica, Kemper, and Transamerica conspired to deny him the benefits due under the three life insurance policies and that they commissioned Equifax, a credit information corporation which compiles personal credit histories, to investigate the circumstances of the incident.
Mr. Kafack also alleges that in June 1993 Kemper informed him that it would not pay the proceeds of Mr. Kemetong's policy because of various alleged discrepancies in the insured's application. Kemper, for its part, asserts that its investigation of Mr. Kemetong's death and the related insurance policy revealed that Mr. Kemetong had never entered the United States; that Mr. Kemetong's date of birth was closer to 1900 than the 1941 date represented in his insurance application; that Mr. Kemetong actually died earlier than was represented; that Mr. Kemetong's death certificate was fraudulent; and that the social security number given by the applicant belonged to a deceased Texas woman unrelated to Mr. Kemetong. As a result, Kemper refused to pay Mr. Kafack the proceeds of the insurance policy.
In addition to alleging that the defendant insurance companies refused to pay the proceeds of Mr. Kemetong's policies, Mr. Kafack asserts that Primerica, Kemper, Transamerica, and Equifax maliciously arranged his indictment in Montgomery County, Maryland, for the felony of attempted theft and fraudulent insurance acts. In September 1994, Mr. Kafack was acquitted of all charges by a Montgomery County, Maryland, judge.
Presently before the court is Primerica and Kemper's motion to transfer this action to the District of Maryland.
The defendants seek to transfer this case to the state of Maryland pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404 (a) which provides:
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.
The moving party bears the burden of establishing that the transfer of this action is proper. Airline Pilots Ass'n v. Eastern Airlines, 672 F. Supp. 525, 526 (D.D.C. 1987); Int'l Brotherhood of Painters & Allied Trades Union v. Best Painting & Sandblasting Co., 621 F. Supp. 906, 907 (D.D.C. 1985). Section 1404 (a) vests "discretion in the district court to adjudicate motions to transfer according to individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness." Stewart Organization, Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, ...