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In determining whether a case satisfies prudential requirements for ripeness, the court considers two factors: the fitness of the issues for judicial decision, and the hardship to the parties of withholding court consideration.
Yahoo!, an American Internet service provider, brought suit in federal district court in diversity against La Ligue Contre Le Racisme et L'Antisemitisme ("LICRA") and L'Union des Etudiants Juifs de France ("UEJF") seeking a declaratory judgment that two interim orders by a French court were unrecognizable and unenforceable. The district court held that the exercise of personal jurisdiction over LICRA and UEJF was proper, that the dispute was ripe, that abstention was unnecessary, and that the French orders were enforceable in the United States because such enforcement would violate the First Amendment. LICRA and UEJF appealed only the personal jurisdiction, ripeness, and abstention holdings.
The appellate court held that personal jurisdiction did indeed exist, but found that the case was not ripe under the criteria of Abbott Laboratories v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 149, 87 S. Ct. 1507, 18 L. Ed. 2d 681 (1967). Specifically, the court had to determine the fitness of the issues for judicial decision and the hardship to the parties of withholding court consideration. The court noted that it was difficult to know whether enforcement of the French court's interim orders would have been repugnant to California public policy. Until the court knew whether further restrictions on access by French, and possibly American, users were required, the court could not decide whether or to what degree the First Amendment may have been violated by enforcement of the French court's orders, and whether such enforcement would be repugnant to California public policy. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's decision and remanded with instructions to dismiss the action without prejudice.