In Negrete v. Allianz Life Insurance Co., ___ F.3d ___ (9th Cir. Apr. 29, 2008), the Ninth Circuit invalidated a district court order that would have prohibited the defendant from settling similar class actions pending in other jurisdictions without the participation of plaintiff's co-lead counsel in the certified nationwide class action case before it. The concluding paragraphs of the opinion read:
The district court was troubled by the fact that settlements in other courts might draw the fangs from at least a portion of the class action case that it was then considering. Perhaps they will. But in this instance it was improper for the district court to react by issuing an injunction against other federal and state court proceedings.
Rather, the district court must live with the vicissitudes and consequences of our elegantly messy federal system. The restrictions inherent in the All Writs Act and explicit in the Anti-Injunction Act have helped to concinnate the elements of our national polity; this is not the time to disrupt the harmony.
Slip op. at 4594. There's no "harmony" when someone else files on top of you and then tries to settle your case out from under you — especially if the district court can do nothing to prevent it. However, the Ninth Circuit was concerned about a different kind of "harmony." This morning's Daily Journal reports that "Panel Finds Judge's Order Went Too Far" (subscription).
[Vocabulary word of the day: Concinnate. Verb, tr. "To place fitly together; to adapt; to clear."]