Vanderbilt Law Review


Joyce Britt

First Page



Equitable abstention refers to the deference a federal court will give a state tribunal to determine the rights of the litigants, even though technically, a federal court could entertain the action, whether by means of diversity of citizenship or because of a federal issue involved. Because of comity, or convenience, or a sense of balance in the federal system, or better handling of the problem, or some other reason of policy, federal courts at times have required a litigant to proceed in the state courts before invoking federal court jurisdiction. How this doctrine arose, its extensions and limitations form the subject of this note.