United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION ORDER
J. BOYLE, UMTED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for a Temporary
Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. Doc. 13. For
the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES
cases involves a defaulted mortgage and the ensuing eviction
proceedings in state court. Plaintiffs James and Cheryl
Douglas obtained a mortgage loan for their home from LHM
Financial Corporation (LHM). Doc. 14, Pis.' Br. in Supp.,
4. In connection with receiving the loan, the Douglases
signed a promissory note indicating that they owed LHM $415,
266 and a deed of trust granting a security interest.
Id. at 4-5. The note and the deed required the
Douglases to timely pay their mortgage; default and
foreclosure were the consequences of not doing so. Doc. 16,
Defs.' Resp., 1-2. The Douglases defaulted, so their home
was purchased in May 2017 by Defendant Wells Fargo Bank N.A.
(Wells Fargo) at a foreclosure sale. Doc. 14, Pis.' Br.
in Supp., 6. Wells Fargo later conveyed the home to Defendant
Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA). Id.
Vendor Resource Management (VRM), the VA's agent,
obtained a forcible-detainer judgment entitling it to
possession of the home from the Justice of the Peace Court of
Dallas County. Id. The Douglases appealed the
judgment to the Dallas County Court at Law. Id. The
eviction trial in that court is scheduled for November 2,
2017. Id. The Douglases filed this suit in August
2017 in state court, which granted the Douglases'
temporary restraining order preventing their eviction.
Id. The Defendants removed the case to this Court on
September 22, 2017. Doc. 1. On October 27, 2017, the
Douglases filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order
and Preliminary Injunction, Doc. 13, which is now before the
Court and ripe for consideration.
relief is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, and should
only be granted when the movant has clearly carried the
burden of persuasion." Anderson v. Jackson, 556
F.3d 351, 360 (5th Cir. 2009). To obtain a preliminary
injunction, a plaintiff must show "(1) a substantial
likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a substantial threat
that it will suffer irreparable injury absent the injunction;
(3) that the threatened injury outweighs any harm the
injunction might cause the defendants; and (4) that the
injunction will not impair the public interest."
Enrique Bernat F., S.A. v. Guadalajara, Inc., 210
F.3d 439, 442 (5th Cir. 2000).
reaching the merits, the Court must first determine whether
it has authority to enjoin the currently pending state
proceedings. The Douglases request that this Court
preliminarily enjoin their state-court eviction proceeding
until after this litigation has concluded. Doc. 14, Pis.'
Br. in Supp., 4. The Douglases' request for injunctive
relief necessarily implicates the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA),
28 U.S.C. § 2283. The AIA 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 Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its
jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its
judgments." 28 U.S.C. § 2283. This Act "has
been interpreted consistently as an absolute bar to any
federal court action that has the effect of staying a pending
state court proceeding unless that action falls within one of
the Act's three specifically designated exceptions."
Phillips v. Charles Schreiner Bank, 894 F.2d 127,
131-32 (5th Cir. 1990). "Any doubts as to the propriety
of a federal injunction against state court proceedings
should be resolved in favor of permitting the state courts to
proceed in an orderly fashion to finally determine the
controversy." Ail. Coast Line R. Co. v. Bhd. of
Locomotive Engineers, 398 U.S. 281, 297(1970).
Court denies the Douglases' motion because the AIA
prevents the Court from granting the relief sought. The
Douglases ask this Court to stay their state-court eviction
proceedings while this lawsuit is pending, Doc. 14, Pis.'
Br. in Supp., 4, a remedy the AIA clearly precludes this
Court from issuing, 28 U.S.C. § 2283. There are
exceptions to the AIA that would nevertheless allow the Court
to grant the Douglases' request, Phillips, 894
F.2d at 131-32, but the Douglases have not alleged the
exceptions apply. And both the Fifth Circuit and this Court
have found that the AIA precludes enjoining state-court
eviction proceedings under similar circumstances. See
Knoles v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 513 Fed.Appx. 414,
415-16 (5th Cir. 2013); Andrade v. Bank of N.Y.
Mellon, No. 3:14-CV-783-N-BK, 2014 WL 12531168, at *l-2
(N.D. Tex. Mar. 19, 2014).
reasons stated above, the Court DENIES the
Douglases' Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining
Order and Preliminary Injunction. Doc. 13.