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Judge Sleet grants motion to transfer to Eastern District of Washington

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In Endeavor Meshtech, Inc. v. Itron, Inc., C.A. No. 13-1343-GMS (D. Del. June 4, 2014), defendant moved the Court to transfer the case to the Eastern District of Washington, or, in the alternative, the District of South Carolina. Chief Judge Gregory M. Sleet granted defendant’s motion to transfer to the Eastern District of Washington. Id. at 1.

As a threshold matter, Judge Sleet noted that the action could have been brought in the Eastern District of Washington. Id. at 2. Turning to the Jumara private interest factors, Judge Sleet noted that plaintiff’s “choice of Delaware as a forum is entitled to less than the paramount deference that would ordinarily be due because [plaintiff’s] principal place of business is California.” Id. Further, addressing “where the claims arose,” Judge Sleet found that the products at issue were manufactured outside of Delaware, which weighed in favor of transfer. Id. As to the convenience of the parties, Judge Sleet explained that defendant’s “employees who have knowledge of this matter are located in both South Carolina and Washington, while [plaintiff] is a non-practicing entity with only a single employee located to California.” Id. at 3. Accordingly, while “both parties may be able to litigate in Delaware,” Judge Sleet found it was “clear” that “litigation costs would be lowered if the parties and [defendant’s] employees did not have to travel to Delaware.” Id. Judge Sleet also found the location of books and records to weigh in favor of transfer, given that all of defendant’s relevant records were in Washington. Id.

As to the Jumara public interest factors, Judge Sleet explained that at the outset, “the court considers practical considerations that could make the trial easy, expeditious, or inexpensive.” Id. at 3-4. Judge Sleet explained that the dispute here is “between two companies, none of which are physically located in Delaware, involving accused products, none of which were designed or manufactured in Delaware.” Id. at 4. Additionally, as Judge Sleet explained, “the bulk of the records and witnesses” will be defendant’s, and “these are not located in Delaware either.” Id. Judge Sleet also noted that “the six-month shorter time to trial in the Eastern District of Washington and the five times greater number of cases per judge in the District of Delaware counsel that this case should be tried in Washington.” Id. at 4.

Endeavor Meshtech, Inc. v. Itron, Inc., C.A. No. 13-1343-GMS (D. Del. June 4, 2014)

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