Prominent Consulting LLC v. Allen Bros., Inc., No. 07 C 6357, 2008 WL 373217 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 11, 2008) (Dow, J.).
Judge Dow held that the Court had jurisdiction over plaintiff Prominent Consulting’s (“PC”) copyright claim and denied defendant Allen Brothers’ motion to stay based upon Colorado River abstention. The Court had subject matter jurisdiction over PC’s copyright infringement claim – based on source code PC wrote for Allen Brothers’ websites – because the claim was not controlled solely by the parties’ contract. At least some of PC’s copyrights existed before the parties entered the contract because PC wrote some of the code before signing the contract.
The case appeared ripe for Colorado River abstention: the parties were involved in state court proceedings paralleling the federal case; both cases arose out of the parties’ website-related agreement; and PC’s available relief was identical in each case because PC’s late federal registration prevents statutory copyright damages. But the Court’s exclusive jurisdiction over the copyright claim prevented abstention. The Court cited Colorado River for the proposition that district courts lack discretion to stay cases involving exclusively federal claims.