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Oliver v. Ricci

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

July 13, 2017

OLIVER,
v.
RICCI, et al.

          ORDER

          Barbara Jacobs Rothstein U.S. District Court Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Tiffany Oliver instituted this action against Defendant Gerald Ricci and his businesses Ricci Estates LLC and Rememory Images LLC (hereinafter collectively referred to a “Defendants”) on June 2, 2017. Dkt. No. 6. The Court granted her motion to proceed in forma pauperis on June 2, 2017. Dkt. No. 5. Plaintiff charges that Defendants filed an eviction proceedings against her in violation of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (“Fair Housing Act”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631. Plaintiff seeks both monetary and injunctive relief.

         On June 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed what the Court interpreted as an ex parte motion for a temporary restraining order in which she requested that this Court stay a state court proceeding that Defendants initiated against her. Dkt. No. 12. The Court denied the motion, noting that the Anti-Injunction Act (“AIA”) prohibited Plaintiff's requested relief. Dkt. No. 13.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff has now filed a document titled “Omnibus Motion for Emergency Preliminary Injunction Relief and Rule to Show Cause Why Defendant's [sic] Should Not Be Found In Contempt”. Dkt. No. 15. The motion raises the same argument raised in Plaintiff's ex parte motion for a temporary restraining order, requesting that this Court “prevent Defendant's [sic] from pursuing eviction.” Id. at 12. Plaintiff's motion must be dismissed for the same reasons articulated in the Court's June 13, 2017 Order denying her motion for an ex parte temporary restraining order. The requested relief is prohibited by the AIA which provides that “[a] Court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a State court except as expressly authorized by [a]ct of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments.” 28 U.S.C. § 2283. As articulated in the Court's June 13, 2017 Order, none of the AIA's three exceptions applies to this case.

         III. CONCLUSION

         For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's motion [Dkt. No. 15] is DENIED.

         III. DISCUSSION

         As discussed above, Plaintiff has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, requesting that this Court issue a temporary restraining order to prevent Defendants “from pursuing eviction against Plaintiff” in state court.

         A. Legal Standard

         Under Federal Rule of Procedure 65, a request for a preliminary injunction requires notice to the adverse party, usually in the form of a hearing. PharmaSeq, Inc. v. Estate of Griess, 2015 WL 620802, *1 (E.D.P.A. Feb. 11, 2015) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a)). However, a court may issue an ex parte temporary restraining order until a hearing may be held in order to preserve the status quo. Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b)); see also Granny Goose Foods, Inc. v. Bhd. of Teamsters & Auto Truck Drivers Local No. 70 of Alameda Cnty., 415 U.S. 423, 439 (1974) (“Ex parte temporary restraining orders are no doubt necessary in certain circumstances, but under federal law they should be restricted to serving their underlying purpose of preserving the status quo and preventing irreparable harm just so long as is necessary to hold a hearing, and no longer.”) (citation omitted).

         As stated above, this Court directed the United States Marshal Service to mail a copy of the summons and complaint in this case to the named Defendants. However, this directive was issued only four days ago and there is no indication in the record that Defendants have yet been properly served. Therefore, this Court will consider Plaintiff's motion as a motion for an ex parte temporary restraining order under Rule 65(b). See PharmaSeq, Inc., 2015 WL 620802, *2 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 11, 2015) (citing Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. v. Sathers, Inc., 666 F.Supp. 655, 657-58 (D. Del.1987) (applying Rule 65(b) standard where adverse party was not present and had no opportunity to be heard, despite movant's assertion that the adverse party was given notice).

         Injunctive relief is an “extraordinary remedy and should be granted only in limited circumstances.” Id. (quoting Kos Pharmaceuticals v. Andrx Corp., 369 F.3d 700, 708 (3d Cir. 2004)). The standard to obtain a temporary restraining order is the same as for a preliminary injunction. Id. (citing Bieros v. Nicola, 857 F.Supp. 445, 446 (E.D. Pa. 1994)). The party applying for a temporary restraining order must demonstrate: (1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) that she will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted; (3) that granting injunctive relief ...


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