United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge
January, 2017, defendant Brady Esch (“Esch”)
filed a motion to dismiss or, alternatively, to transfer
venue claiming that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction
over Esch, that a necessary and indispensable party was not
joined and that this case would be more properly litigated in
California. In September, 2017, this Court denied that
Court rejected defendant's argument that Venclose, a
start-up company that Esch founded, was a necessary party for
this litigation. It also rejected defendant's request to
transfer venue to the Northern District of California. The
Court stated that it would hold the parties to their
agreement (the forum selection clause) in all but the most
October, 2017, defendant filed a motion to stay the present
case pursuant to the Colorado River doctrine, the
Wilton/Brillhart doctrine and the Court's inherent
authority to manage its own docket. Because no new
developments in this case have occurred that alter the
analysis in this Court's September, 2017, memorandum and
order, defendant's motion to stay or dismiss proceedings
(Docket No. 73) will be denied.
Colorado River doctrine provides that when similar actions
are pending in state and federal court, it is appropriate
“in some instances for the federal court to defer to
the state court.” Bacardi Int'l Ltd. v. V.
Suarez & Co., 719 F.3d 1, 14 n. 17 (1st Cir. 2013)
(citing Colo. River Water Conservation Dist. v. United
States, 424 U.S. 800, 817 (1976)).
all the abstention doctrines, ” Colorado River
“is to be approached with the most caution, ”
with only the clearest cases warranting dismissal.
Jimenez v. Rodriguez-Pagan, 597 F.3d 18, 27 (1st
Cir. 2010) (citing Colo. River, 424 U.S. at 819). Eight
non-exclusive factors are weighed to determine if the
“exceptional circumstances necessary for
(1) whether either court has assumed jurisdiction over a res;
(2) the [geographical] inconvenience of the federal forum;
(3) the desirability of avoiding piecemeal litigation; (4)
the order in which the forums obtained jurisdiction; (5)
whether state or federal law controls; (6) the adequacy of
the state forum to protect the parties' interests; (7)
the vexatious or contrived nature of the federal claim; and
(8) respect for the principles underlying removal
Rio Grande Cmty. Health Ctr., Inc. v. Rullan, 397
F.3d 56, 60, 71 (1st Cir. 2005) (citation omitted).
has failed to show that exceptional circumstances are present
in this case as demonstrated by reference to the following
geographical inconvenience of the federal forum does not
weigh in defendant's favor because defendant contracted
to litigate in Massachusetts. See Atlantic Marine Constr.
Co., Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Court for the Western Dist. of
Texas, 134 S.Ct. 568, 5882 (2013) (observing that
“when parties agree to a forum-selection clause, they
waive the right to challenge” that forum as
the extent that defendant wishes to avoid piecemeal
litigation, he could do so by interpleading Venclose. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 20. The piecemeal litigation factor weighs
“in favor of dismissal only if there is some
exceptional basis for dismissing one action” and no
such exceptional basis exists in this case. See KPS &
Assocs., Inc. v. Designs By FMC, Inc., 318 F.3d 1, 11
(1st Cir. 2003) (citations omitted) (internal quotation marks
chronological order in which the forums obtained jurisdiction
weighs against defendant because this case was filed earlier
and is more advanced than any of the parallel actions.
Because this case “amounts to a simple breach of
contract case involving straightforward issues of state law,
” this factor, with respect to whether state or federal
law controls, does not weigh in favor of abstention. See
Spark Energy Gas, LP v. Toxikon Corp., 864 F.Supp.2d
210, 220 (D. Mass. 2012) (citing Nazario-Lugo v.
Caribevision Holdings, Inc., 670 F.3d 109, 118 (1st Cir.
present action is the first-filed action and this Court has
already found plaintiffs' claims plausible. See
Covidien LP v. Esch, 2017 WL 3971278 (D. Mass. Sept. 7,
2017) (denying defendant's motion to dismiss);
Covidien LP v. Esch,229 F.Supp.3d 94, 99 (D. Mass.
2017) (concluding that plaintiffs “have shown a