United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Pensacola Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. JONES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
initiated this civil action by filing ECF No. 1, a pro
se “Complaint for Emergency Injunctive Relief and
Declaratory Relief and Other Relief.” Plaintiff has
been granted leave to proceed as a pauper, and is proceeding
pursuant to a First Amended Complaint, ECF No. 11
(“Amended Complaint”), as supplemented by ECF No.
14 (“Supplement”). For the following reasons, the
undersigned recommends that injunctive relief be denied and
this case dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
seeks emergency injunctive relief in connection with pending
hearings in a state domestic relations case, identified in
ECF No. 1 as Escambia County No. 2009 DR 003717, which
concerns child custody matters and a domestic violence
injunction against Plaintiff. According to the allegations of
the original Complaint, a hearing was scheduled for May 7,
2018. ECF No. 1 at 15-19. The Amended Complaint alleges that
a hearing is presently set for June 8, 2018. Plaintiff also
alleges that the state court judge has set an arraignment for
June 19, 2018, and a trial for July 20, 2018, on charges
arising from Plaintiff's asserted violation of the state
court injunction and contempt of court. The 25 named
defendants include state court judges, prosecutors, public
defenders, and law enforcement officers, all of whom are
alleged to have violated Plaintiff's due process rights.
Plaintiff alleges that he has been unlawfully incarcerated on
five different occasions from October 2010 to December 2017
in connection with the underlying state proceedings.
Plaintiff contends that in light of alleged prior denials of
his due process rights by state officials, he is entitled to
seek relief in this Court in the form of an injunction that
“IMMEDIATELY halts all proceedings in the
First Judicial Circuit of Florida.” ECF No. 11 at 21.
Plaintiff does not seek monetary relief. Id.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction that possess only
that power authorized by the Constitution and federal
statutes. See, e.g., Delaware v. Van Arsdall, 475
U.S. 673, 692 (1986). A plaintiff invoking the court's
jurisdiction must establish the basis for such jurisdiction
in the complaint. See Taylor v. Appleton, 30 F.3rd
1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994). The allegations of
the Complaint are insufficient to establish a basis for the
exercise of federal subject matter jurisdiction with regard
to a pending state domestic relations and child custody case,
as well as criminal charges arising in connection with such
cases. Such proceedings arise under state law, and the
Complaint alleges no facts suggesting that this Court has
jurisdiction over any aspect of the pending state
proceedings. Plaintiff is not currently in custody, and
therefore the Court lacks habeas corpus jurisdiction over
claims relating to his criminal prosecution. To the extent
that Plaintiff could seek such relief following any
conviction, he must first exhaust all available state
postconviction remedies. See 28 U.S.C. §
under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 41-45 (1971),
the Court is barred from hearing claims regarding
Plaintiff's pending state court hearing. Younger
describes “the national policy forbidding federal
courts to stay or enjoin pending state court proceedings
except under special circumstances” and notes that
“the normal thing to do when federal courts are asked
to enjoin pending proceedings in state courts is not to issue
such injunctions”. Younger, 401 U.S. at 41.
“Since the beginning of this country's history
Congress has, subject to few exceptions, manifested a desire
to permit state courts to try state cases free from
interference by federal courts.” Id. at 43.
Plaintiff asserts that his claims establish “bad
faith” on the part of state officials that merit an
exception to the Younger abstention doctrine, but
his claims are wholly conclusional and factually
insufficient. Because Plaintiff has not shown that an
exception to the Younger abstention doctrine applies
to this case,  the Court has no authority to grant the
relief that Plaintiff requests.
the Court had subject matter jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's claims and found merit in Plaintiff's
argument that Younger should not bar relief, his
request for a preliminary injunction is due to be denied.
“It is well recognized that courts may not enter
injunctions against persons or entities that [a]re not party
to the litigation before them.” Merial Ltd. v.
Cipla Ltd., 681 F.3d 1283, 1304 (11th Cir. 2012). No.
Complaint has been served, and therefore there are no parties
to enjoin. In addition, Plaintiff's allegations are too
vague and conclusional to support a motion for injunctive
relief. Granting or denying a preliminary injunction is a
decision within the discretion of the district court.
Carillon Importers, Ltd. v. Frank Pesce Intern. Group
Ltd., 112 F.3d 1125, 1126 (11th Cir. 1997), citing
United States v. Lambert, 695 F.2d 536, 539 (11th
Cir. 1983). Guiding this discretion is the required
finding that plaintiff establish:
(1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits;
(2) a substantial threat of irreparable injury if the
injunction were not granted;
(3) that the threatened injury to the plaintiffs outweighs
the harm an injunction may cause the defendant; and
(4) that granting the injunction would not disserve the
Siegel v. LePore, 234 F.3d 1163, 1176 (11th Cir.
2000); Carillon Importers, Ltd., 112 F.3d at
1126; United States v. Jefferson County, 720 F.2d
1511, 1519 (11th Cir. 1983). A preliminary
injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy and should
not be granted unless the movant "clearly carries the
burden of persuasion" of all four prerequisites, which
is always upon the plaintiff. Jefferson County, 720
F.2d at 1519, citing Canal Auth. v. Callaway, 489
F.2d 567 (5th Cir. 1974).
Amended Complaint wholly fails to establish the four
prerequisites for injunctive relief. For example, Plaintiff
generally claims that the defendant state officials have
denied him due process in connection with multiple state
domestic and criminal proceedings. Such general and
conclusional claims do not demonstrate a “a substantial
likelihood of success on the merits” and are facially
insufficient to support a claim for preliminary injunctive
relief. See ECF No. 11.
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(c), “[t]he Court may issue
a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order
only if the movant gives security in an amount that the court
considers proper to pay the costs and damages sustained by
any party found to have been wrongfully enjoined or
retrained.” Plaintiff's motion is not accompanied
by any security, and therefore it is procedurally defective.
for the foregoing reasons, it is respectfully
RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's motion for
emergency injunctive relief be DENIED and
this case DISMISSED for lack of subject