the case in this court. The presumption is weightier in cases such as this one where the chosen forum has a relatively strong local interest in the outcome of the case. Defendants' motion to dismiss is denied.
II. International Abstention
Defendants next move for a stay of these proceedings pending the outcome of the English action. Under certain "exceptional circumstances" federal district courts may order a stay or dismissal of an action to avoid duplicative litigation in a foreign country. See Ingersoll Mill. Mach. Co. v. Granger, 833 F.2d 680, 684 (7th Cir. 1987) (using the state-federal abstention doctrine of Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 817, 47 L. Ed. 2d 483, 96 S. Ct. 1236 (1976) as "a helpful guide" in evaluating international abstention). See also Moses H. Cone Memorial Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 16, 74 L. Ed. 2d 765, 103 S. Ct. 927 (1983) ("'only the clearest of justifications will warrant dismissal'"); Laker Airways Ltd. v. Sabena, Belgian World Airlines, 235 U.S. App. D.C. 207, 731 F.2d 909, 926-27 (D.C.Cir. 1984) (federal trial court should usually exercise jurisdiction concurrently with foreign trial court, "at least until a judgment is reached in one which can be pled as res judicata in the other").
In the Seventh Circuit the Colorado River abstention analysis begins with an inquiry into whether the concurrent foreign and federal actions are parallel. See Caminiti and Iatarola, Limited v. Behnke Warehousing, Inc., 962 F.2d 698, 700 (7th Cir. 1992). "A suit is parallel when substantially the same parties are contemporaneously litigating substantially the same issues in another forum." Beres v. Village of Huntley, Ill., 824 F. Supp. 763, 767 (citing Caminiti). We find that the circumstances here fall short of this threshold requirement.
None of the parties in this action is named in the English action. Defendants argue nevertheless that the interests of the parties in each case are substantially the same since Ludgate's sole shareholder, Randall, and the corporation for which Becker and Lape act as officers, MMI, are the parties in the English action. While there may be cases where the interests of different parties in the two cases substantially overlap, this case is not among them. As discussed supra, the English action is largely unrelated to the one before us. The mere fact that the commutation agreement is at issue in both cases does not make the suits parallel. See Mitsui Taiyo Kobe Bank, Ltd. v. First Nat. Realty and Development, 788 F. Supp. 1007, 1009-10 (N.D.Ill. 1992). Even if the court hearing the English action finds that the commutation agreement had no effect on Ludgate's margin of solvency, plaintiff's claim in this action is not necessarily without merit. Thus, there is not a substantial likelihood that the litigation in the United Kingdom will dispose of all claims presented in this case. In the absence of such a probability, abstention is improper. See Day v. Union Mines Inc., 862 F.2d 652, 656 (7th Cir. 1988); Lumen Constr., Inc. v. Brant Constr. Co., Inc., 780 F.2d 691, 695 (7th Cir. 1985).
We would come to the same conclusion even if we reached the second step of the Colorado River analysis, where the following factors are balanced: (1) whether the state has assumed jurisdiction over property; (2) the inconvenience of the federal forum; (3) the desirability of avoiding piecemeal litigation; (4) the order in which jurisdiction was obtained by the concurrent forums; (5) the source of governing law, state or federal; (6) the adequacy of state-court action to protect the federal plaintiff's rights; (7) the relative progress of state and federal proceedings; (8) the presence or absence of concurrent jurisdiction; (9) the availability of removal; and (10) the vexatious or contrived nature of the federal claim. Caminiti, 962 F.2d at 701; Beres v. Village of Huntley, Ill., 824 F. Supp. at 768; Home Federal Bank For Sav. v. Gussin, 783 F. Supp. 363, 367 (N.D.Ill. 1992).
In this case some factors weigh in favor of abstention while others weigh against it. As a whole, however, the balance does not favor granting defendants' motion for a stay. While English law in all likelihood will govern the claims in both actions, it nonetheless would be convenient to try this case where it presently sits. See supra. In addition, since the two suits are quite dissimilar, we would not avoid piecemeal litigation by staying our hand. Finally, although the English action was brought six months before this one, it has not advanced significantly further than the one before us. According to Wilkes' declaration a timetable was scheduled to be set for the English action in late October 1995, marking the end of the pleading period and the possible commencement of discovery. This action is thus only a couple of months behind the one in the United Kingdom. See Moses H. Cone, 460 U.S. at 21 ("priority should not be measured exclusively by which complaint was filed first, but rather in terms of how much progress has been made in the two actions").
Nor are we persuaded that concerns of international comity tip the balance in defendants' favor. Even if we were to adopt defendants' characterization of the deference owed to concurrent foreign proceedings,
abstention in this case would be inappropriate. Neither the parties nor the issues in the two cases are significantly similar; full relief in the English action would not adequately resolve the claims in this one; prejudice or unfairness to either party is unlikely; and there would be little if any promotion of judicial efficiency if we were to stay the proceedings while the English action pends. Furthermore, by retaining jurisdiction in this district we would maintain the appropriate level of respect for England, as well as fairness to the parties and commitment to the efficient use of scarce judicial resources. See Turner Entertainment, 25 F.3d 1512, 1518. In sum, we decline to stay these proceedings.
For the foregoing reasons, defendants' motion to dismiss or stay is denied.
JAMES B. MORAN
Senior Judge, U.S. District Court
December 4, 1995.