Primary Jurisdiction Primer (9th Circuit)

Greene v. T-Mobile USA, Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12605 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 7, 2008):

Primary jurisdiction is properly invoked when a claim is cognizable in federal court but requires resolution of an issue of first impression, or of a particularly complicated issue that Congress has committed to a regulatory agency. [Citation omitted].

There is no fixed formula for applying the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. United States v. Western Pacific Railroad Co., 352 U.S. 59, 64, 77 S. Ct. 161, 1 L. Ed. 2d 126, 135 Ct. Cl. 997 (1956). However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has traditionally considered the presence of four factors when determining whether the doctrine of primary jurisdiction is properly invoked. Davel Communications, Inc. v. Qwest Corp., 460 F.3d 1075, 1086 (9th Cir. 2006). These factors are "(1) the need to resolve an issue that (2) has been placed by Congress within the jurisdiction of an administrative body having regulatory authority (3) pursuant to a statute that subjects an industry or activity to a comprehensive regulatory scheme that (4) requires expertise or uniformity in administration." United States v. General Dynamics Corp., 828 F.2d 1356, 1362 (9th Cir. 1987).

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