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Environmental Defense Fund v. Higginson

Citation: 9 ELR 20073
No. No. 78-1135, 12 ERC 1349/(D.D.C., 11/01/1978) Transfer of venue denied

In a suit seeking injunctive relief against construction of nine federal water resources projects in the Colorado River Basin pending compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the court denies defendants' motion for transfer from the District Court for the District of Columbia to the District Court for the District of Colorado. After first determining that it would be inappropriate to consider the arguments of the intervenors in considering the motion, the court finds the circumstances in this case no different from those in EDF v. Costle, 8 ELR 20782, in which a similar motion was denied. Transfer is contraindicated by the virtual absence of issues of local law in the case, as well as by the fact that defendants have not shown that they will introduce testimony from specific individuals who will be inconvenienced if required to travel to Washington. Further, there appears to be a substantial likelihood that the case will be resolved prior to trial on the basis of motions for summary judgment. The nature of the relief requested by plaintiffs has no bearing on the question of transfer. The court concludes that defendants have failed to make the strong showing necessary to rebut the presumption that the litigation should be conducted in the plaintiffs' choice of forum.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
William M. Butler
Environmental Defense Fund, Inc.
1525 18th St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 833-1484

Counsel for Defendants
William M. Cohen, David C. Cannon, Jr.
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2775