Balthaser Online, Inc. v. Network Solutions LLC et al., 2:08cv00430 (E.D. Tex. 2009)
Judge: David Folsom
Holding: Motion to Transfer Venue GRANTED in part.
One of the interesting things about the recent venue cases out of the Federal Circuit (TS Tech, Telular, VW IV and Genentech) is seeing how they affect cases that were in the pipeline when the law changed. In this case, the California plaintiff had sued a raft of defendants, most from California. Then after TS Tech indicated that cases should be transferred where all the defendants are clustered in (or near) the proposed transferee forum, the plaintiff added several tee-ninecy defendants in the Eastern District of Texas. (yes, that's a word around here, and it's the best one to describe the defendants because in this case, size really does matter. Wonder if there's a West headnote for that?).
What makes makes this case notable, in addition to the fact that it allows readers to see whether the additional defendants added in this case change the outcome, is that it occurred after a full hearing on the motion, so readers can, as Judge Folsom did, review the transcript and cite to statements by the parties in support of their arguments in response to the court's questions. Thus there was no question why the new defendants were added - just what the effect would be.
Judge Folsom's order first copncludes that transfer is required as to the original defendants, noting that the plaintiff and most of the defendants were located the ND Cal, and what non-ND defendants there were were insufficient to show that continuing the case in Texas was the way he should go. But Judge Folsom agreed that a transfer to California would be extremely inconvenient for the small Texas defendants the plaintiff had added. Two had appeared pro se only, one had not appeared, and one opposed the transfer for convenience reasons. Judge Folsom concluded that the issues as between the California and the Texas defendants were different enough that they need not be litigated together, thus the motion was denied as to the newly added Texas defendants.