United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
SHERIPOLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant PaxeraHealth Corp.'s
(“Paxera”) Motion to Abstain Jurisdiction (Doc.
36) filed on October 11, 2019. Plaintiff NCH Healthcare
Systems, Inc. (“NCH”) filed a Memorandum of Law
in Opposition (Doc. 38) on October 24, 2019. For the
following reasons, Paxera's motion is denied.
an action for breach of contract and express warranty, unjust
enrichment, fraudulent inducement, and deceptive and unfair
trade practices under Florida law. (Doc. 30). Nearly two
years ago, based on Paxera's promises, NCH purchased a
Picture Archiving and Communication System
(“PACS”). (Id. at ¶ 2). The system
was intended to transmit, access, and store digital images of
radiological studies. (Id. at ¶ 12). PACS,
however, did not work as expected. (Id. at
parties dispute the cause of the PACS breakdown. NCH says the
software failed, while Paxera blames NCH staff. (Id.
at ¶¶ 19-26). Due to the system failure, NCH
terminated the contract after paying Paxera over $400, 000.
(Id. at ¶¶ 28, 42, 48, 48, 49, 55, 59).
Thereafter, Paxera filed a one-count breach of contract
action against NCH in Massachusetts state court. (Doc. 36-1).
NCH then sued Paxera in Florida state court. (Doc. 1-1 at
6-11). Paxera removed the action to this Court three months
ago. (Doc. 1). Now, Paxera moves the Court to abstain from
exercising jurisdiction over this case and stay the matter
pending resolution of the parties' pre-existing state
action in Massachusetts. (Doc. 36). For the reasons below,
the Court finds abstention inappropriate here.
from the exercise of federal jurisdiction is the exception,
not the rule, ” and is warranted only in
“exceptional circumstances.” Colorado River
Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424
U.S. 800, 813 (1976) (quotation marks omitted). To determine
whether abstention is warranted, federal courts undertake two
inquiries. First, courts determine whether the state and
federal proceedings are parallel. See Ambrosia
Coal & Const. Co. v. Pages Morales, 368
F.3d 1320, 1330 (11th Cir. 2004). This means the federal and
state actions involve “substantially the same parties
and substantially the same issues.” Id.
Second, if parallel, courts weigh six factors:
(1) whether one of the courts has assumed jurisdiction over
property, (2) the inconvenience of the federal forum, (3) the
potential for piecemeal litigation, (4) the order in which
the fora obtained jurisdiction, (5) whether state or federal
law will be applied, and (6) the adequacy of the state court
to protect the parties' rights.
Id. (citation omitted). Notably, no one factor is
determinative, and the weight given to each factor may vary
from case to case. See Id. at 1320.
Nonetheless, federal courts have a “virtually
unflagging obligation . . . to exercise the jurisdiction
given them, ” Colorado River, 424 U.S. at 817
(citation omitted), and “[t]he doctrine of abstention .
. . is an extraordinary and narrow exception to the duty of a
District Court to adjudicate a controversy properly before
it[.]” Id. at 813.
argues the Court should abstain from exercising subject
matter jurisdiction over this case pursuant to the
Colorado River doctrine. (Doc. 36). NCH maintains
Paxera fails to show exceptional circumstances that warrant
this Court to abstain from exercising its jurisdiction. (Doc.
38). The Court agrees with NCH.
threshold issue before the Court is whether the federal and
state cases are sufficiently parallel. Paxera asserts the
cases are parallel because they arise out of the same
operative facts and involve the same parties. (Doc. 36 at 4).
NCH appears to concede the parties are the same, but argues
the issues are not sufficiently parallel. (Doc. 38 at 8-10).
More specifically, NCH asserts the issues are not parallel
because its breach of express warranty and fraud and
deception claims do not exist solely because a breach of
contract occurred. (Id.). Rather, it argues these
claims accrued as a result of Paxera's actions leading up
to the agreement and during the purchase of the product.
(Id. at 8-10, 13).
Eleventh Circuit has acknowledged that “[t]here is no
clear test for deciding whether two cases contain
substantially similar parties or issues.” Acosta v.
James A. Gustino, P.A., 478 Fed.Appx. 620, 622 (11th
Cir. 2012). Nonetheless, from the start, the balance weighs
heavily in favor of exercising jurisdiction. See
id. “Thus, if there is any substantial doubt
about whether two cases are parallel the court should not
abstain.” Id. (citation omitted). Moreover,
“the decision to invoke Colorado River necessarily
contemplates that the federal court will have nothing further
to do in resolving any substantive part of the case.”
Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr.
Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 28 (1983).
initial matter, there is no dispute that the state and
federal cases involve the same parties. Thus, the remaining
question before the Court is whether the ...