Part of the Federal case is about discrimination and several injurious torts. However part of the case also depends on how the property is viewed under the ordinance. We claim its a non conforming use and the defense claims its not. Is it possible to request that the Federal case be paused while we seek a declaratory judgement in state court about whether the ordinance can be applied to our situation. I think that we would be in a much stronger position in Federal Court if we had a judgement first in state court, rather than have the Federal Court rule on the legality of a local ordinance.
A federal court has the authority and ability to apply state law. If the law itself is uncertain, in some circumstances, quite unusual, a federal court may refer a matter to a state appellate court for advisory opinion
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