issues to be resolved are none the less identical. This Court cannot discern a compelling rationale to intervene in this litigation and interfere with the orderly judicial process that is ongoing in Superior Court.
At this stage in the Superior Court litigation, this Court declines to interfere and risk preempting the Superior Court's determination of the issues. This decision is in keeping with the abstention doctrine. The doctrine of abstention, as developed in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 27 L. Ed. 2d 669, 91 S. Ct. 746 (1971), and its progeny, strongly discourages federal court interference with pending state judicial proceedings, absent extraordinary circumstances. There are no circumstances in this case that mandate this Court's involvement.
In fact, this case satisfies all three of the significant factors to be considered in a federal court's decision to abstain. There must be ongoing state proceedings which are judicial in nature; the proceedings must implicate important state interests; and the proceedings must provide an adequate opportunity to litigate plaintiff's claims. In this case, there is an ongoing action in Superior Court, and that court is certainly of competent jurisdiction to litigate all of plaintiff's constitutional claims. The Hospital has had an opportunity to present all its constitutional claims in Superior Court, and it continues to have that opportunity.
The issues raised by plaintiff certainly implicate important issues for the District. The District has a strong interest in clarifying the constitutional issues that arise in the closings of its hospitals and other quasi-public institutions. Moreover, the claims raised by the Hospital directly implicate the question of whether the District is free to disregard a Superior Court order, where obeying that order might be unconstitutional. This is an important case for the District, which it clearly wants resolved.
The Hospital argues that abstention is not appropriate because this Court is not being asked to enjoin the state proceedings or in any way interfere with them, but simply to decide the issue of compensation for the alleged taking by SHPDA. This argument is without merit. To decide the issue of compensation, this Court would necessarily have to consider the constitutional questions which are currently before Superior Court, and that court would be bound by this Court's determination. The Superior Court should be permitted to decide the action before it. That court is equally capable of safeguarding litigants' constitutional rights. Accordingly, Counts III and IV will be dismissed.
An Order accompanies this Opinion.
ORDER - August 9, 1991, Filed
Upon consideration of defendants' motion to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment, plaintiff's opposition thereto, oral argument, and the entire record in this case, it is hereby
ORDERED, that defendants' motion is GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED, that the above-captioned case is DISMISSED.
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