Dismissal of "First-Filed" Action does not Compel Re-transfer of Second Action to Original Forum
Just two days after IGS filed its motion, Judge Pannell issued a brief order reopening the case but denying IGS's motion to transfer because it had not addressed any of the traditional factors courts consider in determining whether to transfer a case. Specifically, Judge Pannell pointed out that IGS failed to address the threshold question of whether the California court would have personal jurisdiction over the defendants in the action. In fact, the California court, in its order to transfer the case to Georgia based on the "first-to-file" rule, had expressed "doubts over its ability to exercise personal jurisdiction over at least some of the Defendants." In its motion, IGS's sole argument was that the only reason for transferring the case to Georgia had been removed and thus a "re-transfer" was appropriate. Judge Pannell held that, without addressing the relevant factors, IGS could not meet its burden to show that the California court was more convenient.
Again, IGS may be expected to file a renewed motion to transfer the case to the Central District of California, taking Judge Pannell's advice to give due treatment to each of the relevant factors. The Court ordered the parties to file a revised joint preliminary report and discovery plan within twenty days of the order.
International Growers Supply, Inc. v. Atlantis Hydroponics, Inc., et al., 1:12-cv-2728-CAP, Dkt. No. 57 (N.D. Ga. Feb. 26, 2013) (Pannell, J.).
 28 U.S.C. 1404(a) provides: "For 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 or to any district or division to which all parties have consented."