Hemp Litigation: Colorado Federal Court Stays Hemp Partnership Dispute Under Colorado River Abstention Doctrine

Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court of Colorado decided to stay (i.e. pause) a hemp lawsuit (Leago v. Ricks, No. 20-CV-03297) concerning a dispute between partners in a hemp business because of similar pending litigation in state court.  The legal basis for the court’s ruling is the Colorado River abstention doctrine. We have written about how federal courts make use of various doctrines of abstention on a few occasions:

Abstention doctrines provide federal courts guidance on whether to stay or dismiss a federal lawsuit for a variety of reasons unrelated to the merits of the claims. As we wrote in discussing the Ninth Circuit’s decision to abstain from deciding a case involving the transportation of hemp through Idaho, on the basis of Younger abstention:

“abstention doctrines include Colorado River abstention – which is concerned with avoiding duplicative litigation; the Rooker-Feldman doctrine – which concerns federal court review of state court decisions; Pullman abstention – which concerns refraining from deciding questions based on unclear state law; and Burford abstention – which concerns deferring review of complex state administrative procedures.”

My colleague, Jihee Ahn, described how Colorado River abstention may apply in the context of international cannabis litigation. The ruling in

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