FIRST-TO-FILE RULEfirst-to-file rule. Civil procedure.
1. The principle that, when two suits are brought by the same parties, regarding the same issues, in two courts of proper jurisdiction, the court that first acquires jurisdiction usu. retains the suit, to the exclusion of the other court. ? The court with the second-filed suit ordinarily stays proceedings or abstains. But an exception exists if the first-filed suit is brought merely in anticipation of the true plaintiff’s suit and amounts to an improper attempt at forum-shopping. See ANTICIPATORY FILING. [Cases: Courts 475, 493, 514; Federal Courts 1145. C.J.S. Courts ¡ì¡ì 188, 211, 224.]
2. The doctrine allowing a party to a previously filed lawsuit to enjoin another from pursuing a later-filed action. ¡ª Also termed first-filing rule; first-filed rule; priority-jurisdiction rule. [Cases: Injunction 26(3). C.J.S. Injunctions ¡ì¡ì 43¨C44, 47¨C48, 54.]