48 F3d 1233 Varallo v. Colorado Supreme Court

Michael Anthony VARALLO, Plaintiff-Appellant,
COLORADO SUPREME COURT, Principal; Grievance Committee of
the Supreme Court of Colorado, Agent; Colorado
Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel,
Agent, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 94-1356.
(D.C. No. 94-M-111)

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

March 13, 1995.

48 F.3d 1233
NOTICE: Although citation of unpublished opinions remains unfavored, unpublished opinions may now be cited if the opinion has persuasive value on a material issue, and a copy is attached to the citing document or, if cited in oral argument, copies are furnished to the Court and all parties. See General Order of November 29, 1993, suspending 10th Cir. Rule 36.3 until December 31, 1995, or further order.

Before SEYMOUR, Chief Judge, McKAY, and HENRY, Circuit Judges.


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After examining the briefs and appellate record, this panel has determined unanimously that oral argument would not materially assist the determination of this appeal. See Fed. R.App. P. 34(a); 10th Cir. R. 34.1.9. The case is therefore ordered submitted without oral argument.


Mr. Varallo, formerly a licensed attorney in Colorado, appeals the dismissal of a 1983 action challenging the procedural constitutionality of the Colorado system of attorney discipline. Mr. Varallo brings this suit as a collateral attack upon disciplinary proceedings now pending against him in Colorado. Mr. Varallo's license to practice law in Colorado was suspended by the Colorado Supreme Court as of May 22, 1994, and his case is currently upon appeal before that court. The district court dismissed the federal action for lack of jurisdiction.


We AFFIRM. Principles of comity and federalism dictate that federal courts abstain from intervention in pending state judicial proceedings that implicate important state interests. See, e.g., Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 431-32 (1982); Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). In Middlesex County, the Supreme Court held that federal courts should not interfere with pending attorney disciplinary actions if state procedures allow an attorney the opportunity to raise constitutional challenges to the proceedings. 457 U.S. at 432-37. The disciplinary process followed in Colorado does not differ in any material way from that addressed by the Supreme Court in Middlesex County, and the disciplinary procedures promulgated by the Colorado Supreme Court permit constitutional challenges to be raised before that court. See Colorado Supreme Ct. Grievance Comm. v. District Ct., 850 P.2d 150, 153-54 (Colo.1993). Mr. Varallo does not dispute that his case is still pending before the Colorado Supreme Court. Younger abstention is therefore appropriate, and the case was properly dismissed.


The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED. The mandate shall issue forthwith.


This order and judgment is not binding precedent, except under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel. The court generally disfavors the citation of orders and judgments; nevertheless, an order and judgment may be cited under the terms and conditions of the court's General Order filed November 29, 1993. 151 F.R.D. 470