Kapoor v. National Rifle Association of Am., No. 18 C 4252, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Oct. 23, 2018) (Lee, J.).

Judge Lee granted in part defendant National Rifle Association’s (“NRA”) Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or, in the alternative to transfer to the Eastern District of Virginia pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1404(a) in this copyright dispute involving plaintiff Kappor’s Chicago-based Cloud Gate sculpture, commonly known as the Bean.

The Court acknowledged that the Bean was located in Chicago and that the alleged infringing video of the Bean was necessarily taken in Chicago. But the NRA claimed that it received the footage from a third party that was not the NRA’s agent. Kapoor argued that the third party was the NRA’s agent, but the Court could not determine that issue without discovery and factual analysis. Furthermore, other portions of the alleged infringement, for example distribution and decisions regarding the alleged infringement occurred outside of Chicago in the E.D. Virginia.

But the Court did not need to reach the agency issue because the Court held that transfer was appropriate pursuant to §1404(a), for at least the following reasons:

  • As a London resident, Kapoor did not have a particular connection to Illinois, except the location of his statue.
  • The NRA is headquartered in the E.D. Virginia, its witnesses live and work nearby, and its documents are largely there.
  • There were no non-party witnesses to consider.
  • The E.D. Virginia typically resolves cases faster than the N.D. Illinois.
  • While Illinois may have an interest in the Bean and while it is a popular tourist attraction in the N.D. Illinois, Kapoor offered no support for the proposition that such general public interests outweighed the NRA’s interest in its First Amendment right to advocate for the Second Amendment.
  • Aside from the location of the Bean, the only factor weighing in Kapoor’s favor was his choice of forum. But that held little weight because he had no other significant connection to the N.D. Illinois.