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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 6:15-cv-696-Orl-22GJK
PLAINTIFF’S RESPONSE IN
OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT’S
MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE (DOC. 8)
MEMORANDUM OF LAW)
Ms. Kinsman did not choose to be raped in Tallahassee. Having chosen, however, to
bring suit in a neutral forum in which both parties now reside, justice and fairness do not
permit her alleged assailant to disturb that choice of forum – especially where, as here, he has
failed to meet and cannot meet his heavy burden of demonstrating, by clear and convincing
evidence, that the Tallahassee Division of the Northern District of Florida is a more
convenient forum in which to litigate Ms. Kinsman’s claims.
Overview & Procedural Posture
This is an intentional tort case between two residents of the Middle District of
Florida, see, e.g., (Ex. 1, Kinsman Decl., ¶ 3);1 (Doc. 7, Answer, ¶ 4), for common law
claims of sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional
distress arising out of forcible rape. See generally (Doc. 2, Compl.).
Unless otherwise noted, all exhibits cited herein are attached to the Declaration of John Clune in Support of
Plaintiff’s Response in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Transfer Venue.
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On April 16, 2015, Ms. Kinsman brought suit in Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit
Court. (Id.). Thereafter, Defendant removed the case to this Court. (Doc. 1). In deciding to
effect removal, Defendant properly fixed the venue for this case in the Orlando Division of
the Middle District and, as a matter of law, lost the ability to challenge venue as being
Title IX Case Against FSU
Separate and apart from her tort claims against Defendant, Ms. Kinsman brought suit
in this Court against The Florida State University Board of Trustees (“FSU”), contending that
school administrators failed to properly investigate and respond to her allegations of being raped
and that those failures violated FSU’s obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments
of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1688. See Kinsman v. The Fla. State Univ. Bd. of Trustees, Case No.
6:15-cv-16 (M.D. Fla. 2015) [hereinafter, the “Title IX case”].
There is very little, if any, factual or legal overlap between Ms. Kinsman’s claims
against FSU and her claims against Defendant. To prevail on her claims against FSU,
Ms. Kinsman does not have to establish that she was raped by Defendant.3 Similarly, FSU
may be found liable under Title IX irrespective of whether Ms. Kinsman prevails on her tort
claims in this case against Defendant. Conversely, Defendant may be found liable in this
case irrespective of whether Ms. Kinsman prevails on her Title IX claims against FSU.
See, e.g., Hollis v. Fla. State Univ., 259 F.3d 1295, 1300 (11th Cir. 2001) (“[A]s a matter of law, § 1441(a)
establishes federal venue in the district where the state action was pending. . . .”).
A plaintiff seeking damages for student-on-student harassment under Title IX must prove four elements: (1)
the defendant must be a Title IX funding recipient;; (2) an “appropriate person” must have actual knowledge of
the discrimination or harassment that the plaintiff alleges occurred; (3) the funding recipient must act with
“deliberate indifference”;; and (4) the discrimination must be “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive
that it effectively bars the victim’s access to an educational opportunity or benefit.” Williams v. Bd. of Regents
of the Univ. Sys. of Ga., 477 F.3d 1282, 1293 (11th Cir. 2007).
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STATEMENT OF LAW
A motion to transfer pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) is committed to the sound
discretion of the district court. Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988)
(“Section 1404(a) is intended to place discretion in the district courts to adjudicate motions for
transfer according to an ‘individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and
(quoting Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 622 (1964)).
“plaintiff’s choice of forum should not be disturbed unless it is clearly outweighed by other
Robinson v. Giarmarco & Bill, P.C., 74 F.3d 253, 260 (11th Cir. 1996)
(emphasis added).4 Accordingly, a change of venue will not be granted unless the movant
demonstrates that other considerations strongly override the plaintiff’s choice of forum. Id.;
see also, e.g., J.I. Kislak Mortg. Corp. v. Conn. Bank & Trust Co., 604 F. Supp. 346, 348
(S.D. Fla. 1985); Kenneth F. Hackett & Assocs., Inc. v. GE Capital Info. Tech. Solutions,
Inc., No. 10-20715-CIV, 2010 WL 3056600, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 4, 2010).
The “other considerations” to be considered in conjunction with the plaintiff’s choice
of forum include:
(1) the convenience of the witnesses; (2) the location of
relevant documents and the relative ease of access to sources of
proof; (3) the convenience of the parties; (4) the locus of
operative facts; (5) the availability of process to compel the
attendance of unwilling witnesses; (6) the relative means of the
parties;; (7) a forum’s familiarity with the governing law; (8)
the weight accorded a plaintiff’s choice of forum;; and (9) trial
efficiency and the interests of justice, based on the totality of
See also, e.g., In re Ricoh Corp., 870 F.2d 570, 573 (11th Cir. 1989); Sterling v. Provident Life & Accident
Ins. Co., 519 F. Supp. 2d 1195, 1206-07 (M.D. Fla. 2007); Oller v. Ford Motor Co., No. 92-cv-523, 1994 WL
143017, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 30, 1994) (“[U]nless the balance of convenience and interest of justice strongly
favor the defendant, the plaintiff’s choice of forum will rarely be disturbed.”).
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Manuel v. Convergys Corp., 430 F.3d 1132, 1135 n.1 (11th Cir. 2005).
The party seeking transfer bears the burden of establishing, by clear and convincing
evidence, that the case should be transferred to the suggested forum. See, e.g., In re Ricoh
Corp., 870 F.2d at 573 (“burden is on the movant”); J.I. Kislak Mortg. Corp., 604 F. Supp. at
348 (denying motion to transfer and noting it is well settled that “[a] discretionary transfer
under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) will not be granted absent a clear cut and convincing showing by
defendant that the balance of convenience weighs strongly in favor of the transferee court.”).5
This heightened burden requires the movant to “[p]rove with particularity the inconvenience
caused by the plaintiff’s choice of forum.” Mason v. Smithkline Beecham Clinical Labs., 146
F. Supp. 2d 1355, 1359 (S.D. Fla. 2001); see also, e.g., Microspherix LLC v. Biocompatibles,
Inc., No. 9:11-cv-80813, 2012 WL 243764, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 25, 2012).
Ms. Kinsman’s Choice of Forum Is Entitled to Considerable Deference
Ms. Kinsman’s choice of forum is not merely one consideration among many to be
weighed in the scales; it is the single most important factor that must be given considerable
deference. See, e.g., Ricoh, 870 F.2d at 573 (“[F]ederal courts traditionally have accorded a
plaintiff’s choice of forum considerable deference.”).6 This is especially true where, as here,
See also, e.g., Emp’rs Mut. Cas. Co. v. Bartile Roofs, Inc., 618 F.3d 1153, 1167 n.13 (10th Cir. 2010) “[W]e
honor the plaintiff’s choice of forum unless the balance in the defendant’s favor is shown by clear and
convincing evidence.” (quotations omitted);; N.Y. Marine & Gen. Ins. Co. v. Lafarge N. Am., Inc., 599 F.3d 102,
113-14 (2nd Cir. 2010) (“[T]he propriety of [the ‘clear and convincing evidence’] standard to transfer-motions
is evident.”);; Atl. Recording Corp. v. Project Playlist, Inc., 603 F. Supp. 2d 690, 695 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (“The
burden rests on the moving party to make a ‘clear and convincing’ showing that transfer under Section 1404(a)
is proper.”) (citations omitted).
See also Sterling, 519 F. Supp. 2d at 1204 (“In determining the propriety of transfer, the court must give
considerable weight to the plaintiff’s choice of forum.”) (quotations and citations omitted); Mason, 146 F. Supp.
2d at 1360-61 (affording plaintiff’s choice of forum “considerable deference” despite the fact that underlying
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Ms. Kinsman’s suit is in her home district (which is also the district in which Defendant now
resides). See, e.g., Mason, 146 F. Supp. 2d at 1361 (“[A] plaintiff’s choice of forum must be
afforded considerable deference, where, as here, the plaintiff has elected to bring suit in the
district in which [s]he resides”).
Affording considerable deference to Ms. Kinsman’s choice of venue takes on special
significance in the circumstances of this case. Ms. Kinsman chose to bring suit in Orlando to
minimize the risk of community bias and for her safety. In contrast to Orlando, one in three
individuals in Tallahassee either works for or attends FSU, (Ex. 3, Whitbourne Decl., ¶14),
and the Tallahassee Division of the Northern District has an objectively demonstrable
allegiance to FSU football and its Heisman trophy-winning quarterback.7
Kinsman’s accusations of rape against Defendant exploded in the national media in
November 2013, she was quickly “outed” on the Internet and became subject to relentless
threats and vitriol.8 Within a day, she was forced to flee. When Ms. Kinsman returned to
Tallahassee more than a year later to attend an FSU code of conduct hearing, she locked
herself in her hotel room. (Ex. 1, Kinsman Decl., ¶6) (“I do not feel safe in Tallahassee. The
last time I was there was for a student code of conduct hearing that Florida State University
cause of action did not occur in chosen forum); Oller, 1994 WL 143017, at *2 (“[U]nless the balance of
convenience and interest of justice strongly favor the defendant, the plaintiff’s choice of forum will rarely be
disturbed.”); cf. Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508 (1947) (concluding in the related context of forum
non conveniens that “[t]he plaintiff's choice of forum should rarely be disturbed.”).
See, e.g., (Ex. 3, Whitbourne Decl., ¶12) (citing data indicating that 65% of individuals within the Tallahassee
area are fans of FSU football fan versus only 14%-16% in the Orlando area); see also (Ex. 2, Williams Decl.,
sub-ex B) (survey results demonstrating that 63% of registered voters – i.e., potential jurors – in the Tallahassee
Division of the Northern District identify themselves as FSU football fans and 55% agree that Jameis Winston
has brought credit to FSU).
Nearly every major news story about the Winston accusations has spawned new rounds of social media attacks
against Ms. Kinsman by FSU football partisans. See, e.g., (Ex. 4, Kerr Decl.) (attaching representative posts,
Tweets and emails by FSU football fans attacking, questioning and threatening Ms. Kinsman).
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conducted in December 2014. Apart from my attendance at that hearing, I did not leave my
hotel room;; I locked myself in and ate all of my meals there.”).
As a matter of fairness and justice, it would be inequitable to afford Ms. Kinsman’s
choice of forum less than considerable deference. Defendant is alleged to have engaged in
intentional tortious conduct.
He should not be permitted to turn the geographical
happenstance of where Ms. Kinsman was raped into the keystone of a § 1404(a) transfer
request. Cf. Dale v. United States, 846 F. Supp. 2d 1256, 1258 (M.D. Fla. 2012) (denying
motion to transfer and concluding, in part, that it would be inequitable to force plaintiff to
litigate his claims in forum in which he lacked a voluntary connection). On the contrary, it is
perfectly reasonably for Defendant to be called to account for his tortious conduct in a venue
of Ms. Kinsman’s choosing, especially where that venue is Defendant’s home district. To
treat Ms. Kinsman’s choice of forum otherwise would effectively permit Defendant to profit
from his own wrong.
Lastly, none of Defendant’s arguments in support of his motion affects the
considerable deference that must be afforded Ms. Kinsman’s choice of forum. First, while
Ms. Kinsman’s tort claims may have arisen in the Northern District, her injuries remain
ongoing. It is therefore inaccurate to state that “all of the operative facts in this case
occurred” in the Northern District or that “[n]one occurred in the Middle District.” (Doc. 8 at
19). Mason, 146 F. Supp. 2d at 1361 (“[I]t would be inaccurate to state that none of the
operative facts in this case occurred within the forum chosen by Plaintiffs. Rather, because
Plaintiffs’ injuries are ongoing, some operative facts on the damages element are located, and
continue to materialize, in Plaintiffs’ residence.”). Second, Defendant is also mistaken in his
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contention that Ms. Kinsman “relocated” to the Middle District. (Doc. 8 at 20). Ms.
Kinsman has at all material times – since before and after she was raped on December 7,
2012 – resided in the Middle District. (Ex. 1, Kinsman Decl., ¶3). And even if her departure
from FSU as an undergraduate student somehow amounted to a “relocation,” as previously
noted, Ms. Kinsman left Tallahassee because she reported Defendant’s conduct. Third, that
Ms. Kinsman may live closer to Tampa than to Orlando is of no moment. Defendant is not
requesting an intradistrict transfer within the Middle District, but a transfer to the Northern
District (and as between here and the Northern District, there can be no serious dispute that
Ms. Kinsman and Defendant both live in the Middle District). And fourth, Defendant
blatantly overstates his case in asserting that Ms. Kinsman’s choice of forum should be given
little deference because “all of the other § 1404(a) factors” favor transfer. (Doc. 8 at 20). As
discussed further below, Defendant failed to support his motion with competent evidence,
and few if any of the other § 1404(a) factors clearly favor transfer.
Defendant Has Failed to Show That Other Considerations Strongly
Outweigh Ms. Kinsman’s Choice of Forum
Defendant has failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that other
considerations strongly outweigh the considerable deference afforded Ms. Kinsman’s choice
of forum. See¸ e.g., Robinson, 74 F.3d at 260; In re Ricoh Corp., 870 F.2d at 573; J.I. Kislak
Mortg. Corp., 604 F. Supp. at 348. On the contrary, in seeking transfer to the Northern
District, Defendant’s unsubstantiated motion merely attempts to capitalize on loci delicti and
shift the unavoidable inconvenience of litigation from himself to Ms. Kinsman. But the test
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is not whether transfer would be more convenient for the defendant.9 The Court must instead
balance the convenience of both parties and their witnesses, Manuel, 430 F.3d at 1135 n.1,
while exercising its discretion where it can appropriately weigh each factor based on a
showing made “with particularity.” Mason, 146 F. Supp. 2d at 1359; see also, e.g., In re
Apple Inc., 743 F.3d 1377, 1379 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (affirming denial of transfer where
movant’s vague assertions made weighing factors speculative). In this case, Defendant has
made no such showing and, even if he had, most if not all of the remaining Manuel factors
weigh against transfer and call for retaining this case in Orlando.
The Convenience of Non-Party Witnesses Does Not Favor
In considering the convenience of non-party witnesses, courts have routinely
recognized that “it is not so much the convenience of the witnesses but the possibility of
having their testimony at the trial that is important.” See Trinity Christian Ctr. of Santa Ana,
Inc. v. New Frontier Media, Inc., 761 F. Supp. 2d 1322, 1327 (M.D. Fla. 2010); see also
Dale, 846 F. Supp. 2d at 1257-58. As a result, a transfer motion should be denied when the
presence of witnesses, although located in another district, can otherwise be obtained at trial.
Cf. Mason, 146 F. Supp. 2d at 1361.
Likewise, a transfer motion should be denied where, as here, the movant does not
allege that any witnesses are actually unwilling to attend trial such that compulsory process
would be necessary. See, e.g., id. at 1362 (citations omitted). Ultimately, the most important
consideration is whether the witnesses will be available at trial; not how far they might have
And even if the test were, rather than being a matter of “convenience,” Defendant’s motion seems to be
motivated more by his desire to simply obtain a jury pool drawn from Doak Campbell Stadium.
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to travel to reach the courthouse. Id. Moreover, motions to transfer do not turn on which
party “can present a longer list of possible witnesses located in the respective districts in
which each party would like to try the case.” Id. Rather, the movant “must support its
motion by clearly specifying the key witnesses to be called and particularly stating the
significance of their testimony.” Id. (emphasis added); J.I. Kislak Mortg. Corp., 604 F.
Supp. at 348. As a result, the Court cannot, as Defendant would appear to suggest, “merely
tally the number of witnesses” in the Northern District and then compare that number to the
number of witnesses in the Middle District of Florida. See, e.g., Microspherix LLC, 2012
WL 243764, at *3 (citations and quotations omitted). Instead, the Court must qualitatively
evaluate the materiality of each witnesses’ actual knowledge relative to the dispute at hand.
Here, Defendant’s witness list purportedly includes thirty-eight individuals he asserts
will have the “greatest impact” on the case, (Doc. 8 at 5 n.3), nearly all of whom supposedly
live in the Northern District. (Doc. 8-8). However, seventeen of those individuals (i) are not
even identified by name but denoted only as groups, categories or entities – such as
“Potbelly’s Employees,” “Witnesses at and outside of Potbelly’s,” “FSU fellow students that
Plaintiff contacted. . .,” “Tallahassee Police Department” or “State Attorney’s Office” – or
(ii) are clearly cumulative and duplicative of other individuals (such as “Other hospital
personnel,” “Other police personnel,” “Other State Attorney Personnel”). Compare (Id.)
with (Ex. 5, Plaintiff’s notations to Defendant’s list of non-party witnesses).
remaining twenty-one (21) specifically-identified and non-cumulative witnesses on
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Only nine (9) actually reside within the Northern District or within 100 miles
of the Northern District and may potentially be unwilling to attend trial;10
Eight (8) either reside within the Middle District or have provided sworn
declarations to Ms. Kinsman proclaiming that they are willing to testify and
attend trial in Orlando;
Two (2) are completely unknown (a taxicab driver whom law enforcement
could not locate and an unnamed security guard at the Legacy Suites
apartment building); and
Two (2) do not even reside in the State of Florida (Ronald Darby and
Moreover, Defendant’s description of these individuals’ anticipated testimony is
broad and non-particularized, consisting of simply “Events of Dec. 6-7, 2012,”
“Investigation” or “Toxicology.” (Doc. 8-8). None of those conclusory descriptions lend
support to the notion that the individuals on Defendant’s list are crucial trial witnesses whose
live testimony at trial is necessary. See, e.g., Mason, 146 F. Supp. 2d at 1362 (movant “must
support its motion by . . . particularly stating the significance of their [key witnesses’]
testimony.”) (emphasis added).
Indeed, Defendant fails to particularly identify the
significance of any witnesses’ testimony, preventing the Court from qualitatively evaluating
the materiality of their testimony. Furthermore, Defendant has not shown that there is any
witness who is unwilling to attend trial absent compulsory process. Such an omission is
Defendant did not attempt to determine or specify whether any of these nine (9) individuals – let alone any of
the witnesses on his list – was unwilling to attend trial in Orlando. See (Ex. 5, Plaintiff’s notations to
Defendant’s list of non-party witnesses).
Contrary to Defendant’s representations that his two former teammates reside in Tallahassee, Mr. Darby was
recently drafted by the Buffalo Bills and either resides in New York or continues to reside in his home state of
Maryland, and Mr. Casher appears to reside in Alabama. See (Ex. 6, Skip-Trace reports). While Mr. Casher
may for the time being be a student at FSU (it is unclear whether he will still be a student at the time this case
goes to trial), for purposes of Rule 45, he “resides” in Alabama. See, e.g., In re Application of Yukos
Hydrocarbons Invs. Ltd., No. 5:09-mc-78, 2009 WL 5216951, at *6 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 30, 2009) (construing
“resides” in Rule 45 as, inter alia, place to which individual has clear intent to return and maintain his residence
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fatal, as courts routinely deny motions to transfer venue when a movant has not shown that
witnesses are unwilling. See, e.g., J.I. Kislak Mortg. Corp., 604 F. Supp. at 348 (denying
motion to transfer because movant did not identify anticipated testimony or show that
witnesses would be unwilling to attend). But even assuming that the nine (9) individuals on
Defendant’s list who may potentially be unwilling to attend trial are, in fact, unwilling to
voluntarily testify at trial, Defendant has further failed to show that their testimony would be
necessary, relevant and non-cumulative. Courts have denied motions to transfer for precisely
such a failure. See, e.g., Dale, 846 F. Supp. 2d at 1258.
In sum, Defendant has failed to carry his burden of identifying the anticipated
testimony of his non-party witnesses with particularity, or demonstrating that there are
individuals who unwilling to testify in the absence of a subpoena and that such individuals
are in any event necessary and indispensable.
Moreover, Ms. Kinsman’s notations to
Defendant’s list of non-party witnesses and collection of declarations from non-resident
witnesses makes plain that a transfer to the Northern District would – at the very least – not
be any more convenient for non-party witnesses than retaining this case in the Middle
District. (Exs. 5 & 7). Having failed to make a clear and convincing showing on the factor
he contends is the single “most important” factor in this case, (Doc. 8 at 11), Defendant’s
motion should be denied.
The Location of Documents and Tangible Evidence Does Not
The location of documents and tangible evidence in this case does not support
transfer. First, notwithstanding Defendant’s contentions to the contrary, it is well established
that “in a world with . . . email, overnight shipping and mobile phones that can scan and
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send documents, the physical location of documents is irrelevant.” Microspherix, 2012 WL
243764 at *3; see also, e.g., Trinity Christian Ctr.,761 F. Supp. 2d at 1327 (“[t]echnological
advancements in electronic document imaging . . . reduce the significance of the location of
sources of documentary proof.”); Perfect Web Technologies, Inc. v. Infousa, Inc., No. 07-cv80286, 2007 WL 2757356, at *4 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 20, 2007) (suggesting that the location of
documents outside of a chosen forum does not provide much, if any, support for transfer and
further citing Coker v. Bank of Am., 984 F.Supp. 757, 766 (S.D.N.Y.1997) for the proposition
that copy machines, fax machines and FedEx render location of documents a “non-factor.”).
Indeed, many if not all of the documents Defendant sweepingly identifies – such as hearing
transcripts, investigative reports, witness statements, correspondence, text messages, twitter
posts, toxicology reports and medical examination reports, (Doc. 8 at 12) – were either
originally created in or are now stored in easily and near instantaneously-transferrable
In fact, as Defendant’s own CM/ECF filings with the Court reveal,
Defendant already appears to be in possession of many of these documents.12 See, e.g., (Doc.
8-3) (citing portions of record, transcripts, exhibits and other materials from code of conduct
“The idea that it would be cumbersome or inefficient to transfer [such
electronically stored information] back electronically to this district begins to approach
absurd.” Holliday v. Lifestyle Lift, Inc., No. 09-cv-4995, 2010 WL 3910143, at *8 (N.D. Cal.
Oct. 5, 2010).
As does the world at large. See, e.g., Memorandum from Jason Newlin to State Attorney William Meggs
regarding Jameis Winston investigation (Dec. 5, 2013), available at http://espn.go.com/pdf/2013/1206/winstoninv1.pdf (last visited May 22, 2015) (248-page memorandum detailing FSU, TPD and State Attorney
investigations and attaching witness summaries, reports, correspondence, text messages, twitter posts,
toxicology reports and medical examination reports).
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Second, with respect to tangible evidence, Defendant fails to demonstrate that (i)
declining transfer would make collection and production of such evidence any more burdensome
or cause any such evidence to be lost, or (ii) that transfer to the Northern District would make the
collection and production of such evidence any less burdensome or costly. See Mason, 146 F.
Supp. 2d at 1363-64. Nor does he explain why or how specific tangible evidence is supposedly
“critical to Mr. Winston’s effective defense.”
(Doc. 8 at 12).
In any event, as with the
documents that are already in his possession, it appears that Defendant already possesses or at
least has access to some of the tangible evidence he identifies or, alternatively, that such evidence
may in fact not even be relevant. See, e.g., (Doc. 8-7, ESPN article dated Dec. 5, 2013)
(indicating that DNA matched Defendant’s).13
Accordingly, Defendant has failed to make a clear and convincing showing that the
location of documents and tangible evidence in his case supports transfer, and
Ms. Kinsman’s choice of forum will have no effect on where documents and tangible
evidence are reviewed or on how far Defendant’s counsel may have to travel.14
The Convenience of the Parties Weights Against Transfer
Defendant’s motion does not directly address the convenience of the parties, but
instead simply rehashes its attacks on Ms. Kinsman’s choice of forum without articulating
Defendant also appears to suggest that the “physical location” where relevant events occurred could be
relevant. (Doc. 8 at 12). Such a suggestion should be rejected. Mason, 146 F. Supp. 2d at 1363-64 (“[T]he
Court is not convinced that a view of [the] premises is needed, even if it were made possible by transfer. . . .
Also, even if site inspection is relevant, it can be achieved through video, photographs, and drawings.).
In passing, Ms. Kinsman notes that most of Defendant’s counsel are located in the Middle District –
specifically, Jacksonville – which is closer to Orlando than it is to Tallahassee. Compare Google Maps,
https://goo.gl/maps/wZO2X (141 highway miles and approximately 125 geodesic miles between Orlando and
Jacksonville) with https://goo.gl/maps/0IOMh (165 highway miles and approximately 159 geodesic miles
between Jacksonville and Tallahassee).
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why a trial in Tallahassee would supposedly be more convenient for “the parties.” See
(Doc. 8 at 14). The Middle District is home to both Ms. Kinsman and Defendant, making it
equally convenient for the parties. In contrast, a transfer to Tallahassee would simply put the
trial further away from both parties. As noted below, while Defendant would be better able
to absorb that increased inconvenience, in circumstances where there is a disparity in the
financial means of the parties, a transfer that imposes an inconvenience on a plaintiff of
lesser means “[c]uts in favor of Plaintiff’s chosen forum.” Dale, 846 F. Supp. 2d at 1258.
The convenience-of-the-parties factor therefore weighs against transfer.
The Locus of Operative Facts Does Not Strongly Favor Transfer
Defendant’s arguments regarding the locus of operative facts have little to no
evidentiary or legal support, and he has failed to make a clear and convincing showing that
this factor strongly favors transfer.
First, it is simply not true that “[a]ll of the critical events” in this case or “[a]ll of the
events described in Plaintiff’s Complaint” occurred in the Northern District. (Doc. 8 at
15). As previously noted, Ms. Kinsman’s injuries are ongoing;; the operative facts on her
damages are therefore located in and continue to materialize in the Middle District. Mason,
146 F. Supp. 2d at 1361 (“[I]t would be inaccurate to state that none of the operative facts in
this case occurred within the forum chosen by Plaintiffs. Rather, because Plaintiffs’ injuries
are ongoing, some operative facts on the damages element are located, and continue to
materialize, in Plaintiffs’ residence.”).
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Second, Defendant has not requested that this case be transferred to the Tampa
Division.15 Local Rule 1.02(c) and Bennett Eng’g Grp., Inc. v. Ashe Indus., Inc., No. 6:10cv-1697, 2011 WL 836988, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 8, 2011) – a case in which the defendants
actually requested an intradistrict transfer – are therefore inapposite and have no bearing on
whether this case should be transferred under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to the Tallahassee
Division of the Northern District.16
Third, Defendant’s assertion that Ms. Kinsman’s 12-page complaint in the instant
case against Defendant and her 35-page complaint in the Title IX case against FSU “rely on
the same transaction” or that Ms. Kinsman has pled “substantially similar facts to support her
claims in both cases” is demonstrably false. Compare (Doc. 2) with Kinsman v. The Fla.
State Univ. Bd. of Trustees, Case No. 6:15-cv-16 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 9, 2015) (Doc. 1). As
previously noted, these two cases are far from inextricably intertwined. FSU’s and
Defendant’s liability are completely independent of one another and there is very little
factual overlap or common issues between them.
Fourth, this Court did not “[e]ssentially decide the transfer issue in this case when
transferred [sic] the FSU Case to the Northern District,” nor has it “[a]lready determined that
the Northern District is the appropriate venue for a lawsuit based on the events pleaded
Plaintiff’s [sic] Complaint.” (Doc. 15-16). The preface to Judge Presnell’s April 27, 2015
If he had, Ms. Kinsman fears she would become subject to the same sort of community bias and hostility
from Buccaneers fans in the Tampa Bay area that she has experienced to date from Seminole fans in
Tallahassee. Amongst some of the other reasons already discussed, that is another reason why Ms. Kinsman
sought out Orlando as a neutral forum in which to bring suit.
Defendant’s reliance on Local Rule 1.02(c) is further misplaced because the text of that rule plainly concerns
the division in which civil proceedings “shall be instituted. . . .” Ms. Kinsman did not “institute” or otherwise
commence this case in the Middle District – she originally brought suit in state court. To the extent Local Rule
1.02(c) nevertheless applies to removed cases, it was Defendant – not Ms. Kinsman – who “instituted” this
proceeding in federal court. See (Doc. 1).
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Order clearly states that, “[b]y way of the instant motion, the Board argues that venue is
improper here and seeks to have the case transferred to the Northern District of Florida.” The
Fla. State Univ. Bd. of Trustees, Case No. 6:15-cv-16 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 27, 2015) (Doc. 50 at
2). Moreover: “[T]he Court concludes that the Board is not subject to personal jurisdiction
in the Middle District of Florida . . . and therefore venue is not proper here. Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1406(a), this case will be transferred.” Id. (Doc. 50 at 9-10) (footnoted omitted)
(emphasis added). Defendant’s motion to transfer arises under § 1404(a) and has nothing to
do with the propriety of venue.
Having elected to remove this case from state court,
Defendant does not have the ability to challenge venue in this Court because, as a matter of
law, venue upon removal necessarily became fixed in this Court. Hollis, 259 F.3d at 1300.
Accordingly, Defendant’s assertion that the Court already decided the transfer issues in this
case misstates the Court’s April 27, 2015 Order.
Lastly, even if the locus of operative facts could be shown to support a transfer, in the
circumstances of this case, it would be inequitable to attach much significance to this factor.
To do otherwise would permit Defendant to capitalize on his own misconduct.
The Availability of Process to Compel the Attendance of Unwilling
Witnesses Weighs Against Transfer
As discussed above, Defendant has failed to show that a single witness is unwilling to
attend trial in this Court absent compulsory process. Such an omission is fatal. See, e.g., J.I.
Kislak Mortg. Corp., 604 F. Supp. at 348 (denying motion to transfer, in part, because
movant did not show that any witnesses would be unwilling to attend). Even if Defendant
had made such a showing, his assertion that “[t]he the process to compel witness
attendance exists only in the Tallahassee Division” is mistaken. (Doc. 8 at 16). Clearly,
Case 6:15-cv-00696-ACC-GJK Document 23 Filed 05/26/15 Page 17 of 22 PageID 396
parties before this Court have access to the same process to compel witnesses under Rule 45
as do parties in the Northern District of Florida. The issue, of course, is the extent of the
Court’s 100-mile reach and the importance of unwilling witnesses who may or may not come
within its expanse.17 By failing to particularly identify the significance of any witnesses’
anticipated testimony and whether they are unwilling to testify, Defendant has precluded the
Court from addressing that issue.
Furthermore, one of the handful of witnesses whom Defendant specifically identifies
as being “key” to his case – Dr. Bruce Goldberger, a forensic pathologist at the University of
Florida, who may or may not be willing be testify, (Doc. 8 at 6) – does not come within the
100-mile reach of the Northern District’s Tallahassee Division but is within the 100-mile
reach of this Court. See (Clune Decl., ¶15).
The Relative Means of the Parties Weighs Against Transfer
The relative means of the parties also weighs against transfer. Ms. Kinsman is an
undergraduate student who lives with her family, (Ex. 1, Kinsman Decl., ¶¶ 3-4); she is not
employed and has limited savings to bear the cost of travel, lodging and other expenses that
she would necessarily incur if her case were transferred to Tallahassee.
(Id., ¶¶ 4-5).
Defendant, on the other hand, recently received a $16.69 million signing bonus as part of a
four-year NFL contract totaling $25.35 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. See, e.g.,
Big Bucks for New Buc, Tampa Bay Times, May 2, 2015, at 1A, available at 2015 WLNR
Defendant is mistaken, however, in his assertion that “[t]his Court cannot compel the attendance of any
nonparty witnesses who live or work more than 100 miles from Orlando.” (Doc. 8 at 16) (emphasis added).
While the 100-mile limit may be the initial source and limit on the Court’s authority, Rule 45 also grants the
Court the authority to compel the attendance at trial of any nonparty witness within the entire state in which the
witness resides, is employed or regularly transacts business if the witness would not incur substantial expense.
FED. R. CIV. P. 45(c)(1)(B)(ii).
Case 6:15-cv-00696-ACC-GJK Document 23 Filed 05/26/15 Page 18 of 22 PageID 397
Clearly, Defendant is better able to bear the costs attendant to whatever
inconvenience he may have in Ms. Kinsman’s choice of forum than would she if this case
was transferred to the Northern District.
In addition, Defendant failed to present any evidence on this factor and, as one of his
own cases makes plain, when a party seeking transfer does not present evidence as to the
relative means of the parties, this factor weighs against transfer. (Doc. 8 at 18) (citing
Cableview Commc’ns of Jacksonville, Inc. v. Time Warner Cable Se. LLC, No. 3:13-cv-306,
2014 WL 1268584, at *25 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 27, 2014) (“As [movant] presented no evidence
as to the relative means of the parties, this factor does not favor transfer.”)). Similarly,
Defendant also failed to show with particularity how transfer would reduce costs. See, e.g.,
Perlman v. Delisfort-Theodule, 451 F. App’x 846, 848 (11th Cir. 2012) (unpublished)
(affirming denial of motion to transfer venue where movant failed to, inter alia, show how
transferring venue would reduce costs). Accordingly, the relative means of the parties weighs
Familiarity with Governing Law Does Not Favor Transfer
Defendant concedes that the Middle and Northern District are equally familiar with
the law governing Ms. Kinsman’s claims. (Doc. 8 at 19). Accordingly, this factor does not
favor transfer. Watson v. Cmty. Educ. Centers, Inc., No. 2:10-cv-778, 2011 WL 3516150, at
*5 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 11, 2011) (“Due to the presumption favoring a plaintiff’s choice of
venue, when analysis of any particular factor results in a “neutral” outcome, that factor does
not favor transfer.”).
Case 6:15-cv-00696-ACC-GJK Document 23 Filed 05/26/15 Page 19 of 22 PageID 398
Trial Efficiency Does Not Favor Transfer
As the Court well knows, despite its size and relative caseload, the Middle District
has historically been ranked as one of the most efficient district courts in the nation. While
Defendant provides a recent snapshot from the Administrative Office’s Court Management
Statistics, the 12-month Case Load Statistics and six-month CJRA reports paint a slightly
different picture. See, e.g., (Ex. 8, U.S. District Courts – Median Time Intervals at 3)
(showing, inter alia, a median time interval from filing to disposition by trial in civil cases of
21.4 months in the Middle District versus 24.5 months in the Northern District). But even on
Defendant’s statistics, with a median time from filing to disposition in civil cases of only 7.6
months (versus 7.4 months in the Northern District), there is no appreciable difference in
efficiency between Ms. Kinsman’s choice of forum and the Northern District.
Nor is there any efficiency to be gained by consolidating Ms. Kinsman’s tort claims
with the Title IX case in Tallahassee. This case not only involves separate parties but, as
previously discussed, entirely separate causes of action with limited factual overlap and no
common issues of liability. Furthermore, the Northern District recently denied FSU’s motion
to stay discovery in the Title IX case, notwithstanding its suggestion that Defendant’s
intention to seek transfer and consolidation could result in duplicative discovery. 18
circumstances such as these, Defendant should not be rewarded with a change in venue
simply because Ms. Kinsman has a pending case in the Northern District. Cf. Carrizosa v.
Chiquita Brands Int'l, Inc., No. 07-60821-CIV, 2007 WL 3458987, at *4 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 14,
See (Ex. 9, May 8, 2015 Hearing Tr. at 8, 11). The Northern District also recognized that, if Defendant was
successful in seeking transfer, his request for consolidation could be a “fly in the ointment” that might require
an extension of the deadlines in its Scheduling & Mediation Order. (Id. at 12).
Case 6:15-cv-00696-ACC-GJK Document 23 Filed 05/26/15 Page 20 of 22 PageID 399
2007) (denying transfer predicated, in part, on supposedly similar action pending in
transferee court notwithstanding potential efficiency gains).
The Interests of Justice Strongly Weigh Against Transfer
The interests of justice in this case include Ms. Kinsman’s right to avoid the risk of
receiving an unfair jury trial, cf. Los Angeles Mem’l Coliseum Comm’n v. Nat’l Football
League, 89 F.R.D. 497, 502 (C.D. Cal. 1981), and weigh strongly against transfer. Ms.
Kinsman’s decision to bring suit in a neutral forum was not the product of conjecture or
speculation, but a decision supported by objective evidence19 demonstrating that the majority
of potential jurors in the Tallahassee Division of the Northern District have already made up
their minds on the central issue in this case, specifically: 67% of those with opinions believe
Defendant did not rape Ms. Kinsman and 93% of those individuals are either “completely
certain” or “pretty certain” about their opinions. (Ex. 2, Williams Decl., sub-ex B). Taken in
conjunction with the clear allegiance that Tallahassee has to FSU football and to its Heisman
trophy-winning quarterback, along with risk of implicit or subconscious bias, (Ex. 3,
Whitbourne Decl., at ¶20), these statistics strongly favor denying Defendant’s motion and
retaining this case in Orlando.
Defendant has failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that any other factors
strongly outweigh the considerable deference afforded Ms. Kinsman’s choice of forum.
Accordingly, the Court should deny Defendant’s motion to transfer.
While concerns of bias cannot be sustained by conjecture, in the context of motions to transfer, district courts
have considered objective evidence such as opinion polls. See, e.g., N. Ind. Pub. Serv. Co. v. Envirotech Corp.,
566 F. Supp. 362, 366 (N.D. Ind. 1983) (“This Court will consider . . . the results of an opinion poll of
prospective veniremen conducted by a public opinion research company.”).
Case 6:15-cv-00696-ACC-GJK Document 23 Filed 05/26/15 Page 21 of 22 PageID 400
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I HEREBY CERTIFY that, on May 26, 2015, I electronically filed the foregoing
with the Clerk of the Court by using the CM/ECF system, which will send a notice of
electronic filing to all counsel of record.
/s/ David B. King
David B. King
Florida Bar No.: 0093426
Thomas A. Zehnder
Florida Bar No.: 0063274
Taylor F. Ford
Florida Bar No.: 0041008
KING, BLACKWELL, ZEHNDER & WERMUTH, P.A.
P.O. Box 1631
Orlando, FL 32802-1631
Telephone: (407) 422-2472
Facsimile: (407) 648-0161
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Baine Kerr (Colorado Bar No.: 9797)*
John Clune (Colorado Bar No.: 27684)*
Lauren E. Groth (Colorado Bar No.: 47413)*
HUTCHINSON BLACK AND COOK, LLC
921 Walnut Street, Suite 200
Boulder, CO 80302
Telephone: (303) 442-6514
Facsimile: (303) 442-6593
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
*(Motions to appear pro hac vice pending)
Counsel for Plaintiff
Case 6:15-cv-00696-ACC-GJK Document 23 Filed 05/26/15 Page 22 of 22 PageID 401
EXHIBIT INDEX TO DECLARATION OF JOHN CLUNE IN SUPPORT OF
PLAINTIFF’S RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO
Declaration of Erica Kinsman
Declaration of James L. Williams, Jr.
(Polling Analyst at Public Policy Polling, LLC)
Current Firm Information & Additional Background Regarding PPP
Survey of Registered Voters in Tallahassee Division of the Northern District
of Florida conducted March 5, 2015 – March 8, 2015
Declaration of Susan K. Whitbourne, PH.D.
(Doctor of Psychological and Brain Sciences)
Declaration of Baine Kerr, Esq.
Collection of Internet Posts, Tweets, and Emails from FSU Fans Based in
Plaintiff’s Notations to Defendant’s List of Non-Party Witnesses
Skip-Trace Reports for Christopher Casher & Ronald Darby
Declarations of Certain Non-Party Witnesses
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts’ Case Load Statistics For 12Month Period Ending March 31, 2014 (Table C-5) and
Excerpts from 6-Month CJRA Report dated September 30, 2014
Transcript of May 8, 2015 Hearing in Title IX Case