United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR CHANGE OF VENUE
Robert E. Blackburn United States District Judge
The matter before me is Respondents’ Motion To Transfer Action To The District of Utah [#9] filed November 20, 2015. The respondent filed exhibits [#10] in support of the motion. The petitioner filed a response[#16]. I grant the motion.
I have subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question) and under 5 U.S.C. §§ 701 - 706 (administrative procedures act).
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Title 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) contemplates that “[f]or the convenience of the 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
The district court is vested with considerable discretion in determining whether transfer is appropriate. Chrysler Credit Corp. v. Country Chrysler, Inc., 928 F.2d 1509, 1515 (10th Cir. 1991). Factors that bear on the analysis include:
the plaintiff's choice of forum; the accessibility of witnesses and other sources of proof, including the availability of compulsory process to insure attendance of witnesses; the cost of making the necessary proof; questions as to the enforceability of a judgment if one is obtained; relative advantages and obstacles to a fair trial; difficulties that may arise from congested dockets; the possibility of the existence of questions arising in the area of conflict of laws; the advantage of having a local court determine questions of local law; and, all other considerations of a practical nature that make a trial easy, expeditious and economical.
Id. at 1516 (quoting Texas Gulf Sulphur Co. v. Ritter, 371 F.2d 145, 147 (10th Cir.
1967)). The movant bears the burden of establishing that the existing forum is inconvenient. Chrysler Credit, 928 F.2d at 1515. This is a heavy burden, Texas Gulf Sulphur Co., 371 F.2d at 148, and “unless the balance is strongly in favor of the movant the plaintiff's choice of forum should rarely be disturbed, " Scheidt v. Klein, 956 F.2d 963, 965 (10th Cir. 1992) (internal quotations omitted); see also Cargill Inc. v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 920 F.Supp. 144, 146 (D. Colo. 1996).
This case presents a challenge under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) to (1) a decision of the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to approve issuance of a federal coal lease underlying part of the Manti-LaSal National Forest in Utah; and (2) a decision of the United States Forest Service (USFS) consenting to issuance of the lease. These decisions authorize expansion of the Skyline Mine onto a tract of land known as the Flat Canyon. The petitioner claims these decisions violate both the National Environmental Policy Act and the Mineral Leasing Act. Among other things, the petitioner claims the respondents failed to update the environmental impact statement for the lease before approving the lease
The respondents seek transfer of this case to the United States District Court for the District of Utah. The land at issue in this case is located entirely within the borders of the state of Utah. Most of the state and federal agency approvals and concurrences at issue in this case have occurred or will occur in Utah. According to the respondents, the environmental and economic impacts of expanded mining on the tract of land in question will ...