- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
- Date Filed: 12-08-2022
- Case #: 21-16688
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Smith Jr., J. for the Court; Thomas, J.; & McShane, D.J.
- Full Text Opinion
Gearings appealed the district court’s grant of a Motion to Abstain, filed by the City pursuant to Railroad Commission of Texas v. Pullman Co., 312 U.S. 496 (1941) pending the resolution of an eminent domain action filed in state court. Gearings argued that the court must reject state-forum exhausting requirements for eminent domain litigation because failing to do so would force them to litigate federal claims in state court and asserted that the requirements to abstain under Pullman were not met. “Pullman abstention is ‘an equitable doctrine that allows federal courts to refrain from deciding sensitive federal constitutional questions when state law issues may moot or narrow the constitutional questions.” San Remo Hotel v. City & County of San Franscisco, 145 F.3d (9th Cir. 1998). “[Abstention] is appropriate where (1) the federal constitutional claim ‘touches a sensitive area of social policy,’ (2) ’constitutional adjudication plainly can be avoided by a state court,’ and (3) a ‘possibly determinative issue of state law is doubtful.” Sinclair Oil Corp v. County of Santa Barbara, 96 F.3d 401 (9th Cir. 1996)(quoting Pearl INv. Co. v. City & County of San Francisco, 774 F.2d 1460 (9th Cir. 1985)). The Court rejected Gearings's arguments and determined that the requirements for abstention were met. Affirmed.