Judge Robinson Denies Delaware Corporation’s Motion to Transfer

May 12, 2016

Publication| Intellectual Property

In Scientific Telecommunications LLC v. ADTRAN, Inc., C.A. No. 15-647-SLR (D. Del. Apr. 25, 2016), Judge Robinson denied defendant ADTRAN, Inc.’s (“ADTRAN”) motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of Alabama. ADTRAN argued that the case should be transferred to Alabama because its headquarters, approximately 1346 employees, and business records were all located in Alabama, making it a more convenient forum. The defendant also argued that “administrative difficulty from court congestion” in Delaware supported transferring the case to Alabama.

Pointing to the Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873 (3d Cir. 1995), factors, Judge Robinson noted that depositions tend to take place where the witnesses are located, trial in Delaware would be a “limited event,” and incorporation in Delaware (and its attendant benefits) reflects an acceptance that litigating here would be appropriate absent a “unique or unexpected burden,” which ADTRAN did not show.

As for “administrative difficulty from court congestion,” Judge Robinson commented that case management orders incorporate schedules first proposed by the parties. Furthermore, the Court could accommodate expedited proceedings should the defendant make and show the need for such a request. In sum, Judge Robinson held that, despite additional expenses for the defendant that may arise from litigating in Delaware, the record did not reflect a unique or unexpected burden to justify transferring the case.

Analysis: This case shows the high standard—for example, a unique or unexpected burden—necessary for a Delaware corporation to successfully move to transfer to another district. That a company’s headquarters may be elsewhere is neither unique nor unexpected.

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