Overlapping state and federal cases about the rights to settlement proceeds led the district court to abstain under the Colorado River doctrine in Saucier v. Aviva Life & Annuity Co., No. 11-60503 (Nov. 16, 2012). The Fifth Circuit reversed, finding no “exceptional circumstances” warranting abstention. In reviewing each of the relevant factors, the Court distinguished “duplicative litigation” — which does not warrant absention — from “piecemeal” litigation in which a state court case has more relevant parties than a federal one. Id. at 7-8. The Court also reminded that “how much progress has been made” is more important in comparing the status of parallel cases than their respective filing dates. Id. at 8.
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