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The ‘Colorado River’ Abstention: A Potentially Overlooked Forum-Selection Tool

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The differences between federal and state procedural law, and especially the differences in federal and state evidence rules, make filing a case the best forum and keeping it there. And also, it could be a battle that was hard won. Most litigants are familiar with the removal of cases from state courts to federal courts under 28 USC Section 1446. The process is relatively simple and provides for defendants in state courts – but only defendants – to litigate a case in the federal court where the state court is located. As long as the case meets the requirements of the jurisdiction of the federal issue. See Section 28 USC 1446 (a) – (c). Fewer litigators are less familiar with the mechanisms for withdrawing cases with federal jurisdiction outside the federal court to the state court arena. One mechanism that is usually ignored is a request that the federal court refrain from exercising its statutory jurisdiction in a case despite the existence of federal jurisdiction. Impossible? No. Unusual? Yes. helpful? Definitely. Given the dense nature of federal lawsuits, limited legal resources and accumulated current cases due to COVID-19, the legal community may see the Colorado River The avoidance doctrine is used more frequently to refer certain federal cases to state courts.

Colorado River Avoidance: The Basics

Although federal courts generally have an “almost unceasing duty” to exercise their jurisdiction established in Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court created an exception to this rule for “exceptional circumstances” when speaking Colorado River The doctrine of avoidance to be in The Colorado River Water Conservation District against the United States, 424 US 800, 817–18 (1976). under Colorado River Doctrine of Avoidance, a federal court facing “exceptional circumstances” can refrain from exercising its federal jurisdiction if: There is a parallel proceeding in the state court and after carefully considering a number of factors Judgment will waste judicial resources. Moses Hospital e. Con Memorial v. Mercury Construction, 460 US 1.13-16.19 (1983); Golden Gate National Elderly Against Sex, 629 Fed.Appx. 348, 349–50 (3d Cir. 2015).

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