United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
STEVEN K. TOPLETZ, Petitioner,
JIM SKINNER, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
KIMBERLY C. PRIEST JOHNSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is Petitioner Steven K. Topletz's
(“Petitioner”) Motion for Temporary Restraining
Order and Preliminary Injunction (the “Motion”)
(Dkt. 3). Petitioner filed the above-numbered petition for
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (the
“Petition”) (Dkt. 1). The Petition was referred
to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for
findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations for
the disposition of the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636.
The parties consented to the Magistrate Judge for the limited
purpose of deciding the temporary restraining order.
See Dkt. 13.
November 25, 2019, the Court held a hearing to address
whether the Court has jurisdiction to decide the Motion (the
“Jurisdiction Hearing”), wherein only Petitioner
appeared.See Dkt. 5. After requesting leave
to file additional briefing at the Hearing, Petitioner filed
a Supplemental Brief in Support of the Motion on November 26,
2019 (“Supplemental Brief”) (Dkt. 6), to
specifically address the Court's question regarding
jurisdiction. The Court subsequently ordered Respondent Jim
Skinner (“Respondent”) to file responsive
briefing limited to the question of the Court's
jurisdiction regarding this matter. See Dkt. 7.
Respondent filed his Brief on Federal Habeas Corpus
Jurisdiction on December 3, 2019 (Dkt. 9). On December 5,
2019, the Court held a hearing regarding Petitioner's
Motion (the “Motion Hearing”), wherein both the
Petitioner and the Respondent appeared. See Dkt. 13.
Respondent represented that he is unopposed to the issuance
of a temporary restraining order, but opposed to the issuance
of a preliminary injunction. See id.
2018, Petitioner was served with post-judgment discovery in a
case pending in the 416th Judicial District Court in Collin
County, Texas (the “Collin County Court”), Trial
Court Cause No. 416-04120-2012. See Dkt. 1. The
Collin County Court ordered Petitioner to provide information
related to his assets and liabilities, such as financial
documents for the Steven K. Topletz 2011 Family Trust (the
“Trust”), since Petitioner is a beneficiary.
See id. Petitioner alleges that he sent a letter to
the trustee for the Trust requesting such documents, but the
trustee denied his request. See id. Because the
trustee denied his request for documents, Petitioner alleges
he cannot comply with the Collin County Court's order.
See id. Thus, the Collin County Court found
Petitioner in contempt and sentenced him to up to six months
in the Collin County Detention Facility, or until he purged
himself of contempt (the “Contempt Judgment”).
See Dkt. 1. Petitioner was immediately taken into
custody by the Collin County Sheriff. Id.
same day the Collin County Court entered its Contempt
Judgment, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas
corpus with the Dallas Fifth Court of Appeals. See
Dkt. 1. The Fifth Court of Appeals denied Petitioner's
petition, holding that Petitioner had constructive possession
of the requested documents. See id. Petitioner moved
for a rehearing with the Fifth Court of Appeals and filed a
second petition for writ of habeas corpus with the Supreme
Court of Texas. See id. Petitioner's request for
rehearing and second petition with the Supreme Court of Texas
were both denied. See id. On September 12, 2019, the
Collin County Court issued a capias for Petitioner's
arrest, which has since expired. See Dkt. 1-23. On
October 8, 2019, the Collin County Court issued an amended
capias, which is currently active. See Dkt. 1-7.
Petitioner filed the present Petition on November 12, 2019.
temporary restraining order should be restricted to serving
the underlying purpose of preventing irreparable harm just so
long as is necessary to hold a hearing, and no longer.
Granny Goose Foods v. Bhd. of Teamsters & Auto Truck
Drivers, 415 U.S. 423, 439 (1974). Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 65 provides that “the Court may issue a
temporary restraining order without written or oral notice to
the adverse party only if:
(A) specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint
clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or
damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can
be heard in opposition; and
(B) the movant's attorney certifies in writing any
efforts made to give notice and the reasons why it should not
Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(b)(1). Additionally, a party seeking
injunctive relief must show: (1) a substantial likelihood of
success on the merits; (2) a substantial threat that the
movant will suffer irreparable injury if the injunction is
denied; (3) that the threatened injury outweighs any damage
that the injunction might cause the Defendant; and (4) that
the injunction will not disserve the public interest. See
Palmer v. Waxahachie Indep. Sch. Dist., 579 F.3d 502,
506 (5th Cir. 2009); Nichols v. Alcatel USA,
Inc., 532 F.3d 364, 372 (5th Cir. 2008). The movant
bears the burden to prove all four requirements in order to
be entitled to injunctive relief. See Palmer, 579
F.3d at 506.
Jurisdiction Hearing and in the Supplemental Brief,
Petitioner argues that he is “in custody” as
required under the habeas corpus statute, and thus, the Court
has jurisdiction to decide Petitioner's claims.
See Dkt. 6. As indicated in Respondent's Brief,
Respondent agrees that this Court has ...