Quackenbush v. Allstate Ins. Co., 517 U.S. 706, 20 (1996)

Page:   Index   Previous  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  Next

Cite as: 517 U. S. 706 (1996)

Opinion of the Court

Having thus posed the question in terms of the District Court's discretion, as a court sitting "in equity," to decline jurisdiction, we approved the District Court's dismissal of the complaint on a number of grounds that were unique to that case. We noted, for instance, the difficulty of the regulatory issues presented, stating that the "order under consideration is part of the general regulatory system devised for the conservation of oil and gas in Texas, an aspect of 'as thorny a problem as has challenged the ingenuity and wisdom of legislatures.' " 319 U. S., at 318 (quoting Rowan, supra, at 579). We also stressed the demonstrated need for uniform regulation in the area, 319 U. S., at 318-319, citing the unified procedures Texas had established to "prevent the confusion of multiple review," id., at 325-326, and the important state interests this uniform system of review was designed to serve, id., at 319-320. Most importantly, we also described the detrimental impact of ongoing federal court review of the Commission's orders, which review had already led to contradictory adjudications by the state and federal courts. Id., at 327-328, 331-332.

We ultimately concluded in Burford that dismissal was appropriate because the availability of an alternative, federal forum threatened to frustrate the purpose of the complex administrative system that Texas had established. See id., at 332 ("The whole cycle of federal-state conflict cannot be permitted to begin again"). We have since provided more generalized descriptions of the Burford doctrine, see, e. g., County of Allegheny, 360 U. S., at 189 ("abstention on grounds of comity with the States where the exercise of jurisdiction by the federal court would disrupt a state administrative process"); Colorado River, 424 U. S., at 814-816 (abstention where "exercise of federal review of the question in a case and in similar cases would be disruptive of state efforts to establish a coherent policy with respect to a matter of substantial public concern"), but with the exception of cases that rest only loosely on the Burford rationale, e. g.,


Page:   Index   Previous  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007