of Columbia were involved in the decision to reissue the HBA
grazing permit, this case has some national significance and has
a nexus to the District of Columbia. See Pls.' Opp'n at 9-11.
In addition, two of the five plaintiffs, Defenders of Wildlife
and the National Wildlife Foundation, have offices in the
District of Columbia. See id. Furthermore, this action is
distinguishable from other cases in which judges transferred
cases out of the District of Columbia. For example, in Trout
Unlimited and Hawksbill Sea Turtle, none of the plaintiffs
resided in the District of Columbia and none of the
decisionmaking occurred in the District of Columbia. See Trout
Unlimited, 944 F. Supp. at 16-17; Hawksbill Sea Turtle v.
FEMA, 939 F. Supp. 1, 3 (D.C. 1996). Accordingly, the court
concludes that this action has sufficient nexus to the District
of Columbia and therefore deserves deference in its choice of
Next, the court considers the defendants' choice of forum. The
defendants' have legitimate reasons for preferring the District
of Montana. Two of the three defendants are located in the
District of Montana, many people involved with the reissuance of
the HBA grazing permit are located there, and the permit at
issue is for land in Montana. See Mot. to Transfer at 1, 14.
In addition, three of the plaintiffs have offices in the
District of Montana. See id. at 14. While the operative facts
and impact of this case are linked to this district, they are
also linked to the District of Montana. Considering that the
plaintiffs' choice of forum deserves deference, however, the
plaintiffs' interests prevail.
C. Public-Interest Considerations
The court also evaluates the public considerations that are
relevant to this case. The local interest in having local issues
decided locally, the transferee's familiarity with the governing
laws, and the possible pendency of a related case can weigh in
favor of a transfer. See Armco Steel Co. v. CSX Corp.,
790 F. Supp. 311, 324 (D.C. 1991). On the other hand, public-interest
considerations that weigh against a transfer include the
possibility that the defendants are forum shopping. See Ferens
v. John Deere Company, 494 U.S. 516, 527, 110 S.Ct. 1274, 108
L.Ed.2d 443 (1990).
Considering the transferee's familiarity with governing laws
and the possible local interest in having this case decided in
Montana, the court notes that this case involves interpretation
of federal statutes. In Trout Unlimited, this court
transferred a case to the District of Colorado because the case
involved a very localized conflict with little national
significance and the District of Colorado was more familiar with
the governing state laws. See Trout Unlimited, 944 F. Supp. at
19. Unlike the plaintiffs' claim in Trout Unlimited, however,
this case does not involve any issues of state law and has
some national significance. See id. There is, therefore, no
advantage to having a federal court familiar and experienced
with the state law of Montana adjudicate this action.
The defendants argue that transferring this action to the
District of Montana, specifically to Judge Lovell, would promote
judicial economy because Judge Lovell is presiding over and has
presided over closely related issues. See Mot. to Transfer at
2, 10. But the potentially related case, Cold Mountain, Cold
Rivers, Inc. v. Montana Dept. of Livestock, C.A. 01-27 ("CMCR
"), is very different from the instant case: CMCR focuses on
the impact of the Horse Butte Capture Facility on eagles and
other birds, whereas this case focuses on the reissuance of the
Horse Butte grazing permit and addresses its effect on the
bison. See id. Ex. 6 ¶ 2.; Compl. While a pending related
action in a transferee forum could support a
decision to transfer a case to that forum, see Armco Steel
Co., 790 F. Supp. at 324, the pendency of CMCR does not
support a transfer.
Viewing the totality of circumstances, the defendants' request
to transfer this case to a specific judge is suspect. See Mot.
to Transfer at 2, 18-20; Pls.' Opp'n at 12, 17. The plausible
possibility that the defendants are using Section 1404(a) as a
means of forum shopping weighs against granting the defendants'
motion. See Ferens, 494 U.S. at 527, 110 S.Ct. 1274. After
assessing the facts and law pertaining to the relevant public
and private considerations, the court concludes that it should
not transfer this case.
For all these reasons, the court denies the defendants' motion
to transfer. An order directing the parties in a manner
consistent with this Memorandum Opinion is separately and
contemporaneously issued this 18th day of December, 2001.