The Ward family did not oppose the move to the court in Rochester (about 135 miles from Utica), but Judge David Hurd wrote in his decision that there was not a strong enough reason to move the case. In the request, Stewart's side argued that key witnesses would have to travel more than 100 miles to Utica and that it was more convenient for out-of-town witnesses to travel to Rochester. Hurd wrote that the Syracuse airport is 56 miles from Utica and that the additional travel for some witnesses didn't warrant a transfer from the location initially chosen by the Ward family when it first filed suit in August in its home county (Lewis County) in state court.
The judge noted that Stewart had given no indication that any of the witness from the Canandaigua area — local law enforcement and others — would refuse to come to Utica to testify or that a video deposition would be insufficient. He also wrote that the median time from filing a lawsuit to trial in the Western District of New York (which includes Rochester) is 66.3 months, while in the Northern District (which includes Utica) it is 40.8 months. ESPN.com