to the parties. See e.g., Continental Time Corp. v. Swiss
Credit Bank, 543 F. Supp. 408 (S.D.N.Y. 1982); Ronar Inc. v.
Wallace, 649 F. Supp. 310 (S.D.N.Y. 1986).
There is no question that the parties in the Canadian criminal
actions are not identical to the parties in the instant action.
Nonetheless, contrary to plaintiffs' assertions, that fact alone
does not compel the conclusion that a stay is inappropriate.
See e.g., Caspian Investments Ltd. v. Vicom Holdings, Ltd.,
770 F. Supp. 880 (S.D.N.Y. 1991), citing, Landis, 299 U.S. at
254, 57 S.Ct. 163 (court may stay proceedings in deference to a
foreign action even if the parties and issues are not
identical); see also Dragon Capital, 949 F. Supp. at 1127
(courts repeatedly rule that parties and issues need not be
identical in order for one action to be stayed in deference to
an earlier action).
Moreover, the issues in the actions are sufficiently similar
to favor a stay. Both actions arise out of the same events and
present the same central question — e.g., who, if anyone,
violated the Canadian tax laws in connection with the transfer
of vehicles from plaintiffs to defendants. Accordingly, even if
as plaintiffs argue, the required elements of proof in each of
the actions are not identical, there is no question that the
fundamental issues to be resolved are substantially similar and
a stay is appropriate. See e.g., Landis, 299 U.S. at 256, 57
S.Ct. 163 (it is not necessary that the foreign action settle
every question of fact or law to support a stay).
In addition, in light of the similarity of issues, resolution
of the Canadian criminal actions will more than likely narrow
the issues before this Court and ultimately save the parties and
the Court from a needless or duplicative expenditure of
With regard to the temporal filing of the actions, when as
here, the foreign action is pending, principles of comity
counsel that priority generally goes to the suit first filed.
Ronar, 649 F. Supp. at 318. There is no dispute that the
Canadian criminal actions filed in February of 1999 predated
institution of the present civil action which was filed in
January of 2001.
Finally, plaintiffs' claim that they will be prejudiced by a
stay because they will be left without any form of redress
against defendants overstates the impact of the requested
relief. A stay will simply hold further proceedings in this
action in abeyance pending judgments in the Canadian criminal
cases. Thus, contrary to plaintiffs' assertions, the issuance of
a stay will not leave plaintiffs without an avenue for redress.
Moreover, because the Canadian criminal trials are scheduled to
commence in approximately five months, any delay in moving
forward in the present litigation will be of a relatively short
For all of the foregoing reasons, I hereby grant a stay of
further proceedings in the instant action until judgment is
rendered in the two Canadian criminal actions currently pending
against plaintiffs. The parties are directed to notify the Court
in writing within twenty-one days of judgments being issued in
the Canadian actions.
ALL OF THE ABOVE IS SO ORDERED.