Finova Capital Corp. v. Ryan Helicopters USA, Inc.

180 F.3d 896 (1999)

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Finova Capital Corp. v. Ryan Helicopters USA, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
180 F.3d 896 (1999)

RW

Facts

Ryan Helicopters USA, Inc. (Ryan) (defendant) and Rotorcraft Partnership Ltd. (Rotorcraft) signed an agreement by which Ryan leased two helicopters that Rotorcraft maintained in St. Lucia in the British West Indies. The agreement permitted the parties to litigate any dispute between them either in St. Lucia or in Illinois, the relevant laws of which were essentially similar. At the end of the lease term, Ryan sued Rotorcraft for a St. Lucia court’s declaratory judgment that under the terms of the lease, Ryan was now entitled to take ownership of the helicopters. Finova Capital Corporation (Finova) (plaintiff) subsequently succeeded to Rotorcraft’s interest in the helicopters. Before the St. Lucia proceedings had progressed significantly, Finova sued in an Illinois federal district court for a declaratory judgment that Finova owned the helicopters. Shortly thereafter, Finova intervened in the St. Lucia proceedings. The district court denied Ryan’s motion to dismiss the Illinois suit. However, the court granted Ryan’s motion to apply the doctrine of abstention and stay the Illinois proceedings pending resolution of the St. Lucia litigation. Ryan appealed to the Seventh Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cudahy, J.)

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