ESCHBACH, Senior Circuit Judge.
The primary issue presented in this appeal from a judgment for the defendant in this personal-injury diversity suit is whether the district court improperly denied the plaintiff's motion for transfer pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the reasons stated below, we will affirm.
The plaintiff, Margaret E. Coffey, is a citizen of Indiana. The defendant, Van Dorn Company ("Van Dorn"), is incorporated in Ohio, with its principal place of business in that state. On February 3, 1981, the plaintiff's left hand was crushed while she operated in Indiana a molding press manufactured by the defendant. Several months later, following a series of unsuccessful operations, the plaintiff's left arm had to be amputated at the elbow.
On February 2, 1983, one day before the two-year statute of limitations for personal-injury suits was to expire, the plaintiff brought this action in Indiana state court. Her complaint alleged claims based on negligence, strict liability, and breach of implied warranties. The plaintiff's filing in Indiana state court was ill-advised, however, because Ind.Code § 34-4-20A-5 bars product-liability actions, whether sounding in negligence or strict liability, initiated more than ten years after delivery of the product to the initial user or consumer.
In her response to the defendant's motion, the plaintiff did not dispute the defendant's averments or the applicability of Indiana's repose statute. Rather, the plaintiff moved the district court to transfer the action to an Ohio federal district court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), arguing that, because her tort claims were not time-barred there, a transfer was in the "interest of justice." The district court denied the transfer motion on June 15, 1984, and granted the defendant summary judgment on the basis of the repose statute. In denying the plaintiff's motion for transfer of venue, the district court, citing Martin v. Stokes, 623 F.2d 469 (6th Cir.1980), concluded that the Ohio federal district court would have been bound to apply Indiana's choice-of-law rules, which in turn, would require application of the Indiana repose statute, making a transfer futile. The district court also found that, because the plaintiff was a resident of Indiana, and that medical records and the treating physicians were in Indiana as well, the transfer would not have been for the convenience of the parties. This appeal followed.
A federal district court, in which a suit is filed with proper venue, may "[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice ... transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). A plaintiff, as well as a defendant, may move for transfer of venue under § 1404(a). Pruess v. Udall, 359 F.2d 615 (D.C.Cir.1965); United States v. Berkowitz, 328 F.2d 358 (3d Cir.1964); Philip Carey Manufacturing Co. v. Taylor, 286 F.2d 782, 784 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 366 U.S. 948, 81 S.Ct. 1903, 6 L.Ed.2d 1242 (1961); Riley v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., 177 F.2d 673 (7th Cir.1949), cert. denied, 338 U.S. 911, 70 S.Ct. 350, 94 L.Ed. 561 (1950); 1 J. Moore, Moore's Federal Practice ¶ 0.145[4.-3] (2d ed. 1985); 15 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3844 (1986).
In passing on a motion for transfer, the district judge must consider the statutory factors in light of all the circumstances of the case.
The plaintiff claims that the district court erred in concluding that the convenience of the parties weighed against transfer. In her briefs to the district court, however, the plaintiff did not argue, nor did she point to particular circumstances that would indicate, that the convenience of the parties weighed in favor of transfer. It was for the first time on appeal that the plaintiff contended that, because all records and witnesses relating to the design, testing, and manufacture of the molding press are in Ohio, an Ohio federal court would have been the most convenient forum. As a general matter, we will not consider an argument raised for the first time on appeal. See, e.g., City of Chicago v. United States Department of Labor, 753 F.2d 606, 607 n. 3 (7th Cir.1985); Trotter v. Klincar, 748 F.2d 1177, 1184 (7th Cir.1984). Furthermore, the presentation of this argument in plaintiff's initial brief to this court goes little beyond a recitation of facts. We have noted that Fed.R.App.P. 28 requires that the appellant present argument with citation to the relevant authorities. See, e.g., Sanchez v. Miller, 792 F.2d 694, 703 (7th Cir.1986) ("It is not the obligation of this court to research and construct the legal arguments open to parties."); see May v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp., 787 F.2d 1105, 1118 (7th Cir.1986); Libertyville Datsun Sales v. Nissan Motor Corp., 776 F.2d 735, 737 (7th Cir.1985). In addition, it was not until her reply brief that the plaintiff argued that the location of records and witnesses relating to the design, testing, and manufacture of the molding press weighed in favor of transfering venue to the Ohio federal district court. We will not consider an argument made for the first time in the appellant's reply brief. See, e.g., Davis v. A & J Electronics, 792 F.2d 74, 76 (7th Cir.1986); Beerly v. Department of Transportation, 768 F.2d 942, 949 (7th Cir.1985), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 106 S.Ct. 1184, 89 L.Ed.2d 301 (1986). In any event, there is no merit to the plaintiff's claim. At best she has indicated that a federal district court in Ohio might be as convenient as its sister Indiana court, but that is insufficient to meet her burden under § 1404(a). Savage, 611 F.2d at 279; Illinois Tool Works, Inc., 436 F.2d at 1187-88. In conclusion, we find that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that a transfer to Ohio federal district court was not for the convenience of the parties.
The plaintiff also claims that the district court abused its discretion in ruling that a transfer was not in the interest of justice. The plaintiff contends that a federal district court in Ohio would, upon transfer, apply Ohio choice-of-law rules, which in turn would point either to Ohio substantive law, which has no repose statute, or to Indiana substantive law, but would classify the repose statute as procedural and not apply it. The plaintiff concludes that, because she would be able to reach the merits in an Ohio, but not an Indiana, federal court, it is in the interest of justice to effect a transfer of the action to the former.
The "interest of justice" is a separate component of a § 1404(a) transfer analysis, Van Dusen, 376 U.S. at 625, 84 S.Ct. at 813-14 (1964); Internatio-Rotterdam, Inc. v. Thomsen, 218 F.2d 514 (4th Cir.1955), and may be determinative in a particular case, even if the convenience of the parties and witnesses might call for a different result. See, e.g., Lemke v. St. Margaret Hospital, 594 F.Supp. 25 (N.D.Ill.1983); Blanning v. Tisch, 378 F.Supp. 1058 (E.D.
The "interest of justice" analysis relates, then, to the efficient functioning of the courts, not to the merits of the underlying dispute. It is also not a vehicle for resurrecting a claim lost because the plaintiff erred in her initial choice of forums.
The plaintiff seeks to distinguish Martin on the ground that it was the defendant in that case, not the plaintiff, who had moved for transfer. That distinction is unavailing, because the rationale of the decision clearly embraces the facts of the instant case. The court in Martin stated:
Id. at 472-73.
Thus, even if the district court had granted plaintiff's motion for transfer of venue to a federal district court in Ohio, the transferee court would have been bound by the controlling authority in the Sixth Circuit to apply the law that the federal district court in Indiana would have applied. Furthermore, under Indiana choice-of-law rules, the Indiana products-liability repose statute would apply when Indiana is the forum and Indiana substantive law is applicable. Travis v. Harris Corp., 565 F.2d 443 (7th Cir.1977); Eby v. York-Division, Borg-Warner, 455 N.E.2d 623 (Ind.App. 4th Dist.1983); Horvath v. Davidson, 148 Ind.App. 203, 264 N.E.2d 328 (1970); see also Dart Industries, Inc. v. Adell Plastics, Inc., 517 F.Supp. 9, 10 (S.D.Ind.1980). Because a transfer under § 1404(a), with respect to the outcome of the dispute, should amount to nothing more than a change of courtrooms, the transferee court would apply the Indiana repose statute and dismiss the plaintiff's suit.
For the reasons stated above, the judgment of the district court is
This section has survived challenges based on Indiana's constitution, Pitts v. Unarco Industries, Inc., 712 F.2d 276 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1003, 104 S.Ct. 509, 78 L.Ed.2d 698 (1983); Dague v. Piper Aircraft Corp., 275 Ind. 520, 418 N.E.2d 207 (1981), and the due process and equal protection clauses of the United States Constitution. Braswell v. Flintkote Mines, Ltd., 723 F.2d 527 (7th Cir.1983), cert. denied, 467 U.S. 1231, 104 S.Ct. 2690, 81 L.Ed.2d 884 (1984); Pitts v. Unarco Industries, Inc., 712 F.2d at 279.
The Court noted further:
Id. at 639 n. 40, 84 S.Ct. at 821 n. 40.
In regard to Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(b), which governs a party's capacity to sue or be sued, the Court held that "[w]here a § 1404(a) transfer is thus held not to effect a change of law but essentially only to authorize a change of courtrooms, the reference in Rule 17(b) to the law of the State `in which the district court is held' should be applied in a corresponding manner so that it will refer to the district court which sits in the State that will generally be the source of applicable laws." Id. at 642-43, 84 S.Ct. at 822-23. The Court also cited with approval the case of Headrick v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Co., 182 F.2d 305, 308 (3rd Cir.1950), in which the Third Circuit held that the statute of limitations of the transferor state would control following transfer. Thus, in light of Van Dusen and Martin, the Indiana repose statute would have governed if transfer to an Ohio federal district court had been granted.