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VITRIA TECHNOLOGY, INC. v. CINCINNATI INSURANCE COMPANY

September 30, 2005.

Vitria Technology, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Cincinnati Insurance Company, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES WARE, District Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR IMPROPER VENUE AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO CHANGE VENUE TO THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
I. INTRODUCTION
Vitria Technology, Inc. ("Plaintiff" or "Vitria") brings this action against Cincinnati Insurance Company ("Defendant" or "CIC"), alleging breach of contract of Plaintiff's software license.

Currently before this Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Improper Venue pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3), or in the Alternative, Motion to Change Venue under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1406(a) and 1404(a). The Court considered the parties' pleadings and finds the matter to be suitable for disposition without oral argument. See Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). For the reasons set forth below, this Court DENIES Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Improper Venue, but GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Transfer Venue to the Southern District of Ohio. II. BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Sunnyvale, California. Plaintiff has a permanent license to operate in Ohio. Plaintiff's principal office per the filing of its permanent license is at 650 W. Lake Center, 4555 Lake Forest Drive, 6th Floor, Cincinnati, Ohio. Defendant is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Ohio, with its principal place of business in Fairfield, Ohio.

  Plaintiff alleges that it entered into a software license and services agreement with Defendant in which Defendant has breached by impermissibly using their software. Plaintiff brings suit in the Northern District of California based solely on diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff asserts venue in the Northern District of California based on the fact that a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred in this district. Defendant contends that Plaintiff fails to support such an assertion with any facts to substantiate its claim. (Motion at 2:2-6.)

  It is undisputed that the relationship between Plaintiff and Defendant began when Defendant solicited Plaintiff's business at its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. It is also undisputed that portions of the contract were negotiated via telephone and other means from California by Plaintiff. Plaintiff also sent agents to negotiate the contract in Ohio. Upon the execution of a licensing agreement, Plaintiff's employees were sent to Ohio to set-up their work system and for other support issues.

  Defendant contends that the complaint should be dismissed for improper venue because: (1) the substantial part of the events leading up to the consummation of the contract did not occur in the Northern District of California; (2) the alleged breach did not occur in the Northern District of California; and (3) the alleged creation of an obligation or liability in the Northern District of California is not sufficient to establish venue pursuant to § 1391(a)(2).

  In the alternative, Defendant contends that the complaint should be transferred to the Southern District of Ohio because: (1) the Southern District of Ohio is a district where a civil action might have been brought; and (2) the factors weigh in favor of transfer to the Southern District of Ohio.

  Plaintiff contends that venue is proper in the Northern District of California because Defendant, as a corporation doing business in California, is subject to personal jurisdiction in the Northern District of California. Ultimately, Plaintiff contends that it would be inconvenient for Plaintiff to litigate in Ohio. III. STANDARDS

  A. Venue

  Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a), where federal subject matter jurisdiction is based solely on diversity of citizenship, venue is proper in the following judicial districts and no others; 1) if all defendants reside in the same state, a district where any defendant resides; or, 2) a district in which a "substantial part of the events or omissions on which the claim is based occurred, or where is located a substantial part of the property that is the subject of the action"; or, 3) if there is no district in which the action may otherwise be brought, a district in which any defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction at the time the action is commenced. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1391(a)(1)-(a)(3).

  B. Transfer of Venue

  Title 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) provides that the Court may transfer any civil action to any other district where it might have been brought for the "convenience of the parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice." Section 1404(a) transfers are vested in the sound discretion of the Court. Decker Coal v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 842-43 (9th Cir. 1986). Normally, however, the plaintiff's choice of forum is to be given great weight. Florens Container v. Cho Yang Shipping, 245 F. Supp. 2d 1086, 1092 (N.D. Cal. 2002). Under section 1404(a), the moving party has the burden of showing that the balance of conveniences weighs heavily in favor of the transfer in order to overcome the strong presumption in favor of the plaintiff's choice of forum. See Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986); Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 255-56 (1981).

  IV. DISCUSSION

  A. The Northern District of California is the proper ...


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