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Judge Robinson denies motion to transfer to Northern District of Alabama

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In a recent Memorandum Order, Judge Sue L. Robinson denied defendant’s motion to transfer venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404 to the Northern District of Alabama. Scientific Telecommunications, LLC v. ADTRAN, Inc., C.A. No. 15-647-SLR (D. Del. Apr. 25, 2016). As Judge Robinson noted, both parties are Delaware corporations. Id. at 1. In addition, according to defendant, “it employs over 2,000 people worldwide, including approximately 1,346 employees who work at or are based out of defendant’s operational and corporate headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama.” Id. Further, “[a]ll decisions regarding the design, development, and support of defendant’s accused products are made by its officers and employees located at its Huntsville, Alabama corporate headquarters,” and defendant’s “business records likewise are maintained at its corporate headquarters.” Id.

Judge Robinson recognized “defendant’s ties to the Northern District of Alabama” and that “defendant has asserted a counterclaim based on a non-disclosure agreement (‘NDA’) that must be interpreted under Alabama law.” Id. at 3. Nonetheless, Judge Robinson found that “defendant clearly operates on a global basis, and its incorporation in Delaware reflects its recognition that Delaware is an appropriate jurisdiction for resolution of commercial disputes through litigation.” Id. Judge Robinson explained that “[h]aving accepted the benefits of incorporation under the laws of the State of Delaware, ‘a company should not be successful in arguing that litigation’ in Delaware is ‘inconvenient,’ ‘absent some showing of a unique or unexpected burden.’” Id.

Judge Robinson acknowledged that “litigating in Delaware may be a more expensive exercise for defendant than litigating in Alabama.” Id. at 4. However, under the circumstances at bar, Judge Robinson “decline[d] to elevate the convenience of one party over the other.” Id. Judge Robinson thus denied transfer, noting that “[t]he record at bar does not reflect . . . that litigating in Delaware imposes a unique or unexpected burden on defendant, such that transfer is warranted.” Id.

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