Platt v. Minnesota Mining Manufacturing Co

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Citation11 L.Ed.2d 674,84 S.Ct. 769,376 U.S. 240
Docket NumberNo. 113,113
PartiesHon. Casper PLATT, Petitioner, v. MINNESOTA MINING & MANUFACTURING CO
Decision Date09 March 1964

Daniel M. Friedman, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

John T. Chadwell, Chicago, Ill., for respondent.

Mr. Justice CLARK delivered the opinion of the Court.

Rule 21(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that where it appears that an offense was committed in more than one district or division and the court 'is satisfied that in the interest of justice the proceeding should be transferred' to another such district or division than the one wherein it is filed, the court shall, upon motion, transfer the case. The respondent filed such a motion to transfer this antitrust prosecution from the Eastern District of Illinois to the District of Minnesota. After a hearing, the trial judge denied this motion on the ground that the factors of convenience, expense and early trial, together with the fact that it 'would be more difficult (for the Government) to get a fair and impartial jury in the Minnesota District,' convinced him that 'the interest of justice' would not be promoted by a transfer. The respondent then petitioned the Court of Appeals to issue a writ of mandamus1 directing the transfer. The Court of Appeals found that the trial judge had treated the factor of a fair and impartial trial as the 'most important item'2 in his decision and that this was not an appropriate criterion. It concluded that in addition to 'the essential elements of convenience, expense and early trial, constituting 'interest of justice' in a civil case,' a criminal case was 'impressed with the fundamental historical right of a defendant to be prosecuted in its own environment or district * * *.'3 Upon reviewing the record, the Court of Appeals substituted its own findings for those of the trial judge and ordered the case transferred. 314 F.2d 369. Chief Judge Hastings dissented. We granted the petition for certiorari in view of the importance of the questions to the prosecution of multivenue cases. 374 U.S. 825, 83 S.Ct. 1870, 10 L.Ed.2d 1050. We believe that the Court of Appeals erred in ordering the transfer and therefore vacate its judgment and remand the case for further consideration by the District Court.

I.

A grand jury sitting at Danville, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois, returned an indictment charging the respondent with violating §§ 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. The indictment charged an attempt to monopolize and a conspiracy to restrain and monopolize interstate and foreign commerce in pressure-sensitive tape, magnetic recording media and aluminum presensitized lithographic plates. The offense was alleged to have been committed in part in the Eastern District of Illinois, which includes both Danville and East St. Louis. It is agreed that the indictment could have been returned in the District of Minnesota as well as several other districts.

The Court of Appeals found, in contradiction to the finding of the District Court, that a trial in the Eastern District of Illinois would result in unjustifiable increased expenses to the respondent of 'at least $100,000, great inconvenience of witnesses, serious disruption of business and interference of contact between the (respondent's) executives and its trial attorneys * * *.'4 It also found that respondent had no office, plant, or other facility in the Eastern District and that there was less congestion in the docket of the Minnesota District than in the Eastern District of Illinois. The court concluded that this was a 'demonstration by proof or admission of the essential elements of convenience, expense and early trial, consti- tuting 'interest of justice' in a civil case,'5 which, augmented by the additional consideration that this was a criminal action, compelled the granting of the motion to transfer.

In awarding the mandamus the Court of Appeals placed particular weight on the trial judge's finding that it 'would be more difficult to get a fair and impartial jury in the Minnesota District than in the Eastern District of Illinois.' The Court of Appeals stated that this finding, if true 'which it doubted), 'would not justify a refusal to make a transfer otherwise proper under rule 21(b) * * *.'6 and concluded that 'it would be an unsound and dangerous innovation in our federal court system for a judge in any district to appraise or even speculate as to the efficacy of the operations of a federal court of concurrent jurisdiction in another district. It follows that no order in any way based upon such reasoning can stand, even under the guise of an exercise of discretion.'7 The Court of Appeals, by way of footnote, then characterized the consideration of this factor by the trial judge as 'the most important item'8 despite the trial judge's statement in his answer to the rule to show cause that it 'was but one of a number of factors, * * * which led respondent to his conclusion.'

II.

The trial judge in his memorandum decision listed a number of items as pertinent in the determination of whether the case should be transferred to Minnesota 'in the interest of justice' as required by Rule 21(b). As Chief Judge Hastings pointed out in his dissent, these 'factors were (1) location of corporate defendant (2) location of possible witnesses; (3) location of events likely to be in issue; (4) location of documents and records likely to be involved; (5) disruption of defendant's business unless the case is transferred; (6) expense to the parties; (7) location of counsel; (8) relative accessibility of place of trial; (9) docket condition of each district or division involved; and (10) any other special elements which might affect the transfer.'9

It appears th t both parties and the Court of Appeals agree that the first nine factors enumerated were appropriate. As we have noted, the Court of Appeals struck the fair and impartial jury finding as not being a proper factor and the Government does not challenge that action here. Nor has the Government challenged the use of the extraordinary writ of mandamus as an appropriate means to review the refusal to transfer. We shall, therefore, not consider those matters here, assuming, without deciding, their validity for the purposes of this case. This leaves before us the question of whether the Court of Appeals erred in considering the motion to transfer de novo on the record made in the District Court and ordering transfer to the District of Minnesota.

III.

We cannot say, as did the Court of Appeals, that 'the most important item' in the trial judge's mind when he ruled against transfer was the finding of difficulty in the selection of a fair and impartial jury in Minnesota. The weight that Judge Platt gave this factor is a matter so peculiarly within his own knowledge that it seems more appropriate to have him resolve it....

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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 12 d3 Dezembro d3 1990
    ...as the convenience of records, officers, personnel and counsel.' " Id. at 4-5 (quoting Platt v. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co., 376 U.S. 240, 245-46, 84 S.Ct. 769, 772-73, 11 L.Ed.2d 674 (1964)). The court found that though some of the planning and authorization for the robbery occu......
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    ...rules may prescribe." Fed.R.Cr.P. 22. B. THE PLATT FACTORS The following ten factors introduced in Platt v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 376 U.S. 240, 84 S.Ct. 769, 11 L.Ed.2d 674 (1964), are routinely considered by courts deciding motions to change venue. 1. Location of the Defendants 2. L......
  • U.S. v. Kopituk, 80-5025
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • 4 d4 Novembro d4 1982
    ...not have a constitutional right to be tried in the district encompassing his residence. Platt v. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co., 376 U.S. 240, 245, 84 S.Ct. 769, 772, 11 L.Ed.2d 674 (1964). Since venue properly laid in the Southern District of Florida (see note 30, supra ), Williams......
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    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 29 d1 Outubro d1 1979
    ...for transfers for the convenience of parties and witnesses and in the interests of justice.4 In Platt v. Minnesota Mining & Mfcting. Co., 376 U.S. 240, 84 S.Ct. 769, 11 L.Ed.2d 674 (1964), the Supreme Court noted 9 factors to be considered in making a determination under Rule 21(b): (1) loc......
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3 books & journal articles
  • Trial
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Federal Criminal Practice
    • 30 d6 Abril d6 2022
    ...weigh a variety of factors, often referred to as the ten Platt factors, in exercising discretion. Platt v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 376 U.S. 240, 243-44 (1964) (the factors guiding analysis and exercise of discretion to transfer venue are: (1) location of the defendants; (2) location of......
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    ...things considered, the case would be better off transferred to another district."). (65.) See Platt v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 376 U.S. 240, 243-44 (1964) (recounting the considerations that trial courts frequently follow in ruling on a motion to transfer on convenience grounds. Al......

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