In Reifer v. Westport Insurance Corp., No. 13-2880 (3d Cir. Apr. 29, 2014), plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action against defendant insurance company in Pennsylvania state court, seeking a declaration that defendant’s policies covered any liability arising out of a legal malpractice claim.  Defendant removed the case to federal court and filed a motion to dismiss, which the parties fully briefed.  The court, however, sua sponte declined to exercise jurisdiction over the matter and dismissed the case, ruling that, under the Declaratory Judgment Act (DJA), it had discretion to decline to hear such matters.  On appeal, appellant argued that the court had abused its discretion because, among other things, there was no pending parallel state court proceeding.  In affirming, the Third Circuit held, as a matter of first impression in that Circuit, that it was not a per se abuse of discretion for a court to decline to exercise jurisdiction under the DJA when pending parallel state proceedings do not exist.  Rather, that was but one factor for a district court to consider.  The court found that while the lack of state proceedings militates significantly in favor of exercising jurisdiction, the district court’s decision was sound because other factors supported the court’s refusal to hear the case, including the court’s finding that the claims implicated critical issues of state law and public policy that should be decided by Pennsylvania state courts.