insurance litigation for the purpose of deciding which locale is the home forum. See, e.g., Fimbel Door, 1990 WL 191920, at ** 6-7. On the one hand, New Jersey has an interest in adjudicating a dispute over coverage for a corporation located within its borders. On the other hand, Florida has an interest in ensuring the clean-up of a contaminated site. An analysis of the record shows that Florida's interest vis-a-vis the current litigation is slight. The present litigation involves insurance coverage for Resort's obligation to Insilco under their settlement agreement. Florida has no direct claim against Resorts to clean up the site. Rather, Insilco is the entity obligated to remove the contaminants from the ground water and soil. There is no underlying dispute as to whether Resorts has an obligation to clean-up the Tampa site.
This situation distinguishes the present case from both Fimbel Door and Sandvik, in which the plaintiff insureds were seeking insurance coverage for current and potential clean-up obligations being imposed by the state in which the site was located. INA argues that this is a distinction without legal significance because the same ultimate issue -- whether costs of cleaning up pollution should be paid by the polluter or whether the polluter can transfer that liability to its insurers -- facing the courts in Fimbel Door and Sandvik is before the court here. INA's Reply Brief at 4-5. The court's present task is to evaluate the strength of Florida's interest in the litigation in order to determine the location of the home forum. A state clearly maintains a strong interest in the outcome of an environmental insurance litigation so long as responsibility for clean-up costs remains undecided and insurance coverage may play a role in the ability of a potentially responsible party to undertake a clean up. See Sandvik, 724 F. Supp. at 310 (state's interest in insurance litigation over allocation of clean-up costs relates to its interest in "ensuring [that] contamination at the site will be removed"). As a corollary to this proposition, it also seems clear that the state's interest in the outcome of an environmental insurance litigation decreases significantly when full responsibility for the clean-up has been determined. In this situation, there is no longer a risk that the allocation of costs between insurer and insured will affect the clean-up. The court, therefore, finds that for the purposes of the present transfer motion, New Jersey, with its interest in determining "whether the construction and interpretation of contracts between a state citizen and another business entity require the payment of money by the latter to the former," Armotek, 1989 WL 21771, at * 4, maintains a stronger interest in the litigation than Florida.
Finally, there is the important issue of the forum court's familiarity with the applicable law. Unfortunately, the parties have not addressed this question in their briefs or submissions. Without a proper factual basis, this court will not attempt, even for the limited purposes of deciding a transfer motion, to predict the governing law. This factor is, therefore, neutral as between New Jersey and Florida.
The court, having weighed all the facts and circumstances and exercising its sound discretion, holds that INA's motion for a transfer should be denied. Some of the Gulf Oil factors are neutral as between New Jersey and Florida. Others weigh slightly in favor of the New Jersey forum. Still others weigh slightly in favor of the Florida forum. It is clear that Florida would not be an inconvenient forum for this litigation. However, the court is ultimately persuaded by the burden of proof that rests with the moving party. In light of the above analysis of the Gulf Oil factors, the court finds that INA has not demonstrated that the balance of conveniences weighs so strongly in favor of transfer as to defeat the "paramount consideration" of plaintiff's choice of forum. INA's transfer motion is, therefore, denied.
For the foregoing reasons, the court denies INA's motions, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), to transfer the present action from the District of New Jersey to the Middle District of Florida. An appropriate order will be entered.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in 813 F. Supp. 289.
STANLEY S. BROTMAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DATED: December 21, 1992
ORDER - December 21, 1992, Filed
This matter having come bofore the Court on the motion of defendant Insurance Company of North America ("INA") to transfer the present action to the Middle District of Florida, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a);
The court having carefully considered the submissions of the parties; and
For the reasons stated in the court's opinion of this date;
IT IS on this 21st day of December 1992 hereby
ORDERED that defendant INA's motion to transfer the present action to the Middle District of Florida is DENIED.
STANLEY S. BROTMAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT