In a recent memorandum opinion, Judge Richard G. Andrews overruled defendant’s objections and affirmed Magistrate Judge Sherry R. Fallon’s decision denying defendant’s motion to transfer venue to the Northern District of California. Agincourt Gaming, LLC v. Zynga, Inc., C.A. No. 11-720-RGA (D. Del. Jul 29, 2013) (Magistrate Judge Fallon’s decision previously discussed here). As a threshold matter, Judge Andrews concluded that “a motion to transfer is not a dispositive motion for purposes of [28 U.S.C.] § 636(b)(1),” and he “proceed[ed] to review the Magistrate Judge’s decision under the deferential standard of review of § 636(b)(1)(A).” Id. at 3.
Judge Andrews found that while “[i]t may be that more of the factors favored transfer than not, . . . the Magistrate Judge did not abuse her discretion in reaching a reasoned conclusion that all of the factors favoring transfer, taken as a whole, were insufficient to outweigh the deference owed under Third Circuit precedent to Plaintiffs choice of forum.” Id. at 3. As Judge Andrews explained, the Magistrate Judge gave considerable weight to Plaintiff’s choice of forum, which was reasonable given that both Plaintiff and Defendant are Delaware corporations.” Id.
Judge Andrews also addressed other findings of Magistrate Judge Fallon that defendant contested. For example, Judge Andrews found that defendant agreed during oral argument that it sells its products nationally, and thus it could not complain that Magistrate Judge Fallon concluded the “where the claims arose” factor was neutral. Id. at 4. Judge Andrews also affirmed Magistrate Judge Fallon’s finding with respect to the convenience of the parties, noting that the financial burden to defendant of litigating in Delaware would be relatively modest, but, on the other hand, defendant and its employees may be “called away from work.” Id. Judge Andrews further noted that “only non-party witnesses matter” under Third Circuit law with respect to the convenience of the witnesses, and he thus concluded that Magistrate Judge Fallon’s conclusion regarding that factor was not clearly erroneous. Id. at 4-5.