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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On the morning of May 21, 2005, another driver struck a Volkswagen Golf automobile from behind and propelled the car rear-first into a flatbed trailer parked on the shoulder of a freeway in Dallas. Ruth Singleton was driving the Volkswagen Golf. Richard Singleton was a passenger. Mariana Singleton, Richard Singleton and Ruth Singleton’s granddaughter, were also passengers. Richard Singleton was seriously injured in the accident. Mariana Singleton died as result of her injuries. Richard, Ruth and Amy Singleton (Mariana’s mother) filed suit against Volkswagen in the Marshall division of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The complaint alleged that design defects in the Volkswagen Golf caused Richard’s injuries and Mariana’s death. Volkswagen filed a third-party complaint against the driver of the vehicle that struck the Singletons, alleging that the Singletons had the ability to sue him but did not, and that his negligence was the only proximate cause of the damages. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. �1404(a), Volkswagen moved to transfer venue to the Dallas division of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Volkswagen asserted that a transfer was warranted as: 1. the Volkswagen Golf was purchased in Dallas County; 2. the accident occurred on a freeway in Dallas; 3. Dallas residents witnessed the accident; 4. Dallas police and paramedics responded and took action; 5. a Dallas doctor performed the autopsy; 6. the third-party defendant lived in Dallas County; 7. none of the plaintiffs lived in the Marshall division; 8. no known party or significant nonparty witness lived in the Marshall division; and 9. none of the facts giving rise to this suit occurred in the Marshall division. The district court denied the motion, holding that Volkswagen had not satisfied its burden of showing that the balance of convenience and justice weighed substantially in favor of transfer. Volkswagen then filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the district court gave inordinate weight to the plaintiffs’ choice of forum and that the district court failed properly to weigh the venue transfer factors. The district court also denied the motion for reconsideration, for the same reasons presented in its denial of Volkswagen’s motion for transfer. Volkswagen then petitioned the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a writ of mandamus. In a per curiam opinion, a divided panel of the court denied the petition and declined to issue a writ. The panel majority held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Volkswagen’s motion to transfer. Judge Emilio M. Garza wrote a dissenting opinion, noting that “[t]he only connection between this case and the Eastern District of Texas is plaintiffs’ choice to file there; all other factors relevant to transfer of venue weigh overwhelmingly in favor of the Northern District of Texas.” Volkswagen filed a petition for rehearing en banc. The original panel interpreted the petition for rehearing en banc as a petition for panel rehearing, granted it, withdrew its decision and directed the clerk’s office to schedule the petition for oral argument. HOLDING:The court granted Volkswagen’s petition for a writ of mandamus and remanded the case with instructions to transfer the case to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. The preliminary question under 28 U.S.C. �1404, the change of venue statute, is whether the suit could have been filed originally in the destination venue, the court stated. There is no question, the court stated, that the suit could have been filed originally in the Dallas division. Moreover, provisions of �1404(a) state that “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought.” The court stated that its precedents indicate that, when considering a �1404 motion to transfer, a district court should consider a number of private and public interest factors, “none of which can be said to be of dispositive weight.” The private interest factors, the court stated, are: “(1) the relative ease of access to sources of proof; (2) the availability of compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses; (3) the cost of attendance for willing witnesses; and (4) all other practical problems that make trial of a case easy, expeditious and inexpensive.” The public interest factors are: “(1) the administrative difficulties flowing from court congestion; (2) the local interest in having localized interests decided at home; (3) the familiarity of the forum with the law that will govern the case; and (4) the avoidance of unnecessary problems of conflict of laws or in the application of foreign law.” It is also clear, the court stated, that a plaintiff’s choice of forum is one of the several factors to be considered under the �1404(a) venue transfer analysis. The court agreed with Volkswagen that the district court abused its discretion by applying the wrong legal standard when, giving plaintiffs’ choice of forum an elevated status, it stated that the moving party must show that the balance of convenience and justice substantially weighs in favor of transfer. This standard, Volkswagen argued, reflected the much stricter forum non conveniens dismissal standard and is not applicable in the �1404(a) context. The court also found that the district court failed to meaningfully analyze the case based on the public and private interest factors. Having considered each of the relevant private and public interest factors, the court held that no relevant factor favored the Singletons’ chosen forum. Thus, the court held that the district court abused its discretion by failing to order transfer of this case. OPINION:Jolly, J.; Jolly, Clement and Owen, JJ.

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