Maryland Rule 2-327 Section (c) - Interpretation

In Odenton Development Co. v. Lamy, 320 Md. 33, 40, 575 A.2d 1235 (1990), Judge Chasanow, after noting the provenance of Rule 2-327(c), pointed out how the federal cases interpreting 28 U.S.C. 1404(a) are highly persuasive authority in Maryland. "Section (c) of Md. Rule 2-327 was derived from 28 U.S.C. 1404(a). Consequently the federal law construing 1404(a) is highly persuasive in our analysis of the trial court's ruling, which was based on Md. Rule 2-327(c)." In enunciating, for the first time, the basic guidelines for appellate review of a transfer decision, Judge Chasanow supported each principle with a wealth of supporting caselaw both from the Supreme Court and from lower federal courts. When determining whether a transfer of the action for the convenience of the parties and witnesses is in the interest of justice, a court is vested with wide discretion. Norwood v. Kirkpatrick, 349 U.S. 29, 32, 75 S. Ct. 544, 546, 99 L. Ed. 789, 793 (1955); King v. Johnson Wax Associates, Inc., 565 F. Supp. 711, 719 (D. Md. 1983). Section 1404(a) is intended to place discretion in the District Court to adjudicate motions for transfer according to an 'individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness.'" Stewart Organization, Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22 (1988) (citing Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612 (1964)). It is the moving party who has the burden of proving that the interests of justice would be best served by transferring the action, Texas Gulf Sulphur Company v. Ritter, 371 F.2d 145, 147 (10th Cir. 1967); Equitable Bank v. Finn, 671 F. Supp. 374, 380 (D. Md. 1987); King, 565 F. Supp. at 719, and a motion to transfer should be granted only when the balance weighs strongly in favor of the moving party. Akers v. Norfolk and Western Railway Company, 378 F.2d 78, 80 (4th Cir. 1967); King at 719. To reach this decision, a court "must weigh in the balance the convenience of the witnesses and those public-interest factors of systemic integrity and fairness that, in addition to private concerns, come under the heading of 'the interest of justice.'" Stewart, 487 U.S. at 30. (320 Md. at 40.)