Quackenbush v. Allstate Ins. Co., 517 U.S. 706, 5 (1996)

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710

QUACKENBUSH v. ALLSTATE INS. CO.

Opinion of the Court

case "this important state interest could be undermined by inconsistent rulings from the federal and state courts." App. to Pet. for Cert. 34a. Based on these observations, and its determination that the setoff question should be resolved in state court, the District Court concluded this case was an appropriate one for the exercise of Burford abstention. The District Court did not stay its hand pending the California courts' resolution of the setoff issue, but instead remanded the entire case to state court. The District Court entered this remand order without ruling on Allstate's motion to compel arbitration.

After determining that appellate review of the District Court's remand order was not barred by 28 U. S. C. 1447(d), see Garamendi v. Allstate Ins. Co., 47 F. 3d 350, 352 (CA9 1995) (citing Thermtron Products, Inc. v. Hermansdorfer, 423 U. S. 336 (1976)), and that the remand order was appealable under 28 U. S. C. 1291 as a final collateral order, see 47 F. 3d, at 353-354 (citing Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U. S. 1 (1983)), the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the District Court's decision and ordered the case sent to arbitration. The Ninth Circuit concluded that federal courts can abstain from hearing a case under Burford only when the relief being sought is equitable in nature, and therefore held that abstention was inappropriate in this case because the Commissioner purported to be seeking only legal relief. 47 F. 3d, at 354-356; App. to Pet. for Cert. 35a-37a (order denying petition for rehearing because Commissioner had waived any argument that this case involved a request for equitable relief).

The Ninth Circuit's holding that abstention-based remand orders are appealable conflicts with the decisions of other Courts of Appeals, see Doughty v. Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, 6 F. 3d 856, 865 (CA1 1993) (order not appealable); Corcoran v. Ardra Insurance Co., Ltd., 842 F. 2d 31, 34 (CA2 1988) (same); In re Burns & Wilcox, Ltd., 54 F. 3d 475, 477,

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