A Washington marijuana grower brought a lawsuit against an Idaho corporation that fumigated potatoes on an adjacent parcel. The plaintiff alleged trespass, nuisance, and other related claims after the plaintiff's plants were seized by the State of Washington for having levels of chlorpropham (a herbicide) in excess of levels allowed by regulations. Plaintiff filed its lawsuit in Washington State Court. The defendant responded by removing the case to federal court using diversity jurisdiction. 

The Western District Court of Washington abstained from presiding over the lawsuit and remanded the case back to state court. The Court reasoned that a Buford abstention was appropriate. A Buford abstention occurs when federal review would intrude upon a state’s ability to create a comprehensive policy in a particular subject. Since the defendants planned to have the federal court dismiss the lawsuit based on the illegality of the plaintiff’s operations under federal law, having the federal court review the tort-based case would disrupt Washington’s ability to regulate its marijuana market and deny the plaintiff relief from legal harms they suffered.

Stirling Hort, LLC v Industrial Ventilation, Inc., No. C22-1155-JCC (W.D. Wash. June 7, 2023).