In 1948, Congress enacted section 1404(a) of Tit;e 28 to allow transfers between federal district courts. Congress intended the statute to promote convenience in the federal courts. The statute does not specify which state's law applies following a transfer, but in 1964, in Van Dusen v. Barrack, the Supreme Court determined that the state law of the transferor court must apply following defendant-initiated transfers. The Van Dusen Court reasoned that application of the statute should promote convenience and uniformity and discourage forum-shopping in the federal courts. In 1990, in Ferens v. John Deere Co., the Supreme Court held that the state law of the transferor court must apply following all section 1404(a) transfers. The Ferens Court purported to base its decision on Van Dusen's rationale and other considerations. The Ferens holding, however, violates these principles. This Comment analyzes the historical development of section 1404(a) and the Ferens decision, and proposes an application of the statute that increases both uniform application of state law and convenience in the federal courts.
Michaael B. Rodden,
Is 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) a Federal Forum-Shopping Statute?,
66 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol66/iss3/7