Judge Sue L. Robinson: No Transfer Where You Enjoy Benefits of Being a Delaware Corporation!

In another transfer decision by the Court, Judge Robinson again stresses that transfer will not be awarded where the moving defendant is a Delaware corporation and has enjoyed the “benefits and protections” of being incorporated here. Pernod Ricard USA, LLC v. Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., C.A. No. 06-505-SLR (D. Del. Dec. 19, 2006). Defendant, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. (a Delaware corporation) moved to transfer this Lanham Act case to the Southern District of Florida because it alleged that the accused product was sold only in Florida, was distilled in Puerto Rico, the executive offices and business operations of the company are in Miamia and all the press releases at issue in the action originated in Miami. Finally, they argued that individuals with pertinent testimony were elderly and lived in Florida. The plaintiff, an Indiana corporation with its principal place of business in New York, argued that there were commercials done by the defendant that were broadcast into Delaware and the alleged false statements also appeared on internet news sites and in the Wall Street Journal.

The Court denied the motion because “Defendant’s complaints about litigating here are outweighed by the fact that Bacardi has enjoyed the benefits and protections of incorporation in Delaware and that the State has an interest in litigation regarding companies incorporated within its jurisdiction.” Id. at 7. The Court noted that most of the testimony presented at trial these days is by recorded deposition so that witness inconvenience is not an obstacle to a trial in Delaware and that discovery can be conducted anywhere. Furthermore, expenses and inconvenience incurred for travel to try the case in Delaware will not be overly burdensome where the company conducts a world-wide business. Id. at 8.

Pernod Ricard USA, LLC v. Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., C.A. No. 06-505-SLR (D. Del. Dec. 19, 2006).

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