U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

Ruling Involving the Colorado River Abstention Doctrine

In Jimenez v. Rodriguez-Pagan, No. 09-1135, the First Circuit dealt with the issue of whether the Colorado Abstention doctrine applied to two identical actions in federal district court and in a Puerto Rico Commonwealth court, involving plaintiff's action seeking her late husband's share of certain stocks and to exercise his option on a penthouse apartment, as had allegedly been previously agreed to with defendants.

Applying the Colorado River factors to the case, the court concluded that, although some of the factors are neutral, considering all the factors, this is one of the rare cases that merit abstention because of the possibility for inconsistent dispositions of a res, the heightened potential for piecemeal litigation, and other issues. 

Thus, having decided that conditions for Colorado River abstention are met, the court ordered the action in federal court to stay pending outcome of the Commonwealth court case. 

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