Heathcote Holdings Corp. v. L’Oreal USA, Inc., No. 11 C 1921, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 9, 2011) (Lefkow, J.).
Judge Lefkow granted defendant L’Oreal’s motion to transfer plaintiff’s false patent marking case involving boxes of hair dye to the S.D. New York, L’Oreal’s home district. Generally, plaintiff’s Heathcote’s choice of forum would be given deference, but in false marking cases the United States is the real party in interest. So, the qui tam plaintiff’s chosen forum is given little deference. The situs of material events was New York, where the accused packaging was designed and where the relevant employees reside. L’Oreal’s witnesses and documents were more likely in New York than Illinois.
The convenience of the parties also weighed in favor of New York. Heathcote did not identify any employees that would have to travel to New York for the case, whereas L’Oreal’s relevant employees were in New York. Furthermore, Heathcote’s only business was litigation and therefore the travel would not distract Heathcote from its business.
The interests of justice weighed in favor of transfer. There were already four false marking cases against L’Oreal or its subsidiaries that had been transferred to the S.D. New York. And the potential consolidation of those cases would benefit the parties and judicial economy.