United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division
OPINION AND ORDER
AIKEN, U.S. District Judge
seeks an order from this Court enjoining the state of Oregon,
specifically the Curry County Circuit Court, from enforcing a
criminal judgment against plaintiff. Plaintiff requested
expedited consideration of this motion (doc 12). I construe
the motion, styled as a "Motion for Emergency Exparte
Injunctive Relief, " as a Motion for a Temporary
Restraining Order. For the reasons set forth below,
plaintiffs motion is DENIED.
brings suit against various state actors for alleged
violations of her constitutional due process rights, the
Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act. Plaintiffs claims stem
from her March 14, 2017, conviction of two counts of
Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, in violation of
Oregon Revised Statute ("O.R.S.") § 166.025 in
Curry County Circuit Court No. 16CR28311. On April 5, 2017,
Plaintiff was sentenced to a fine of $2, 000 per count and
bench probation for period of five years to run consecutively
on each count. Special conditions of probation were imposed,
including that plaintiff could not electronically amply sound
through outdoor speakers or other devices, that the speakers
used in the offense would be forfeited to the county, and
that plaintiff must undergo a mental health evaluation and
1 note that the same general legal standards govern temporary
restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. Fed.R.Civ.P.
65; New Motor Vehicle Bd. of Cat v. Orrin W. Fox
Co., 434 U.S. 1345, 1347 n.2 (1977). A plaintiff seeking
such relief must establish (1) a likelihood of success on the
merits; (2) a likelihood of irreparable harm in the absence
of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of equities tips in
the plaintiffs favor; and (4) a preliminary injunction is in
the public interest. Winter v. Nat'l Resources Def
Council, 555 U.S. 7, 21 (2008). A court may not enter a
preliminary injunction without first affording the adverse
party notice and an opportunity to be heard. Fed.R.Civ.P.
65(1)(2); People of State of Cat ex rel. Van De Kamp v.
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 766 F.2d 1319, 1322 (9th
Cir. 1985). By contrast, an emergency temporary restraining
order may be entered without notice. See Fed R. Civ.
P. 65(b)(1)(A) (restricting availability of ex parte
temporary restraining orders to situations in which
"immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will
result to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in
I would examine plaintiffs motion through the prism of the
factors outlined in Winter, However, plaintiff seeks
an order enjoining state court criminal proceedings. Requests
for such injunctive relief implicate federalism and comity
concerns. In recognition of those concerns, Congress has
broadly forbidden federal courts from staying state court
proceedings through the Anti-Injunction Act
("AIA"). See 28 U.S.C. § 2283
("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."). Nonetheless, the U.S. Supreme Court has
held that 42 U.S.C, § 1983 "is an Act of Congress
that falls within the expressly authorized exception of [the
AIA]." Mitchnm v. Foster, 407 U.S. 225, 243
(1972) (internal quotations omitted).
though § 1983 is an exception to the AIA, "the
principles of equity, comity, and federalism that must
restrain a federal court when asked to enjoin a state court
proceeding" still apply when considering whether to
award such injunctive relief. Id.; see also Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-49 (1971) (enunciating the
principles of federal abstention in the context of state
criminal prosecutions). Abstention is required under
Younger when a state judicial proceeding is pending,
the proceedings implicate important state interests, and the
state proceedings provide an adequate opportunity to raise
constitutional challenges. Middlesex County Ethics Comm.
v. Garden State Bar Ass % 457 U.S. 423, 431 (1982);
Sprague v. Oregon, 2007 WL 1138462, *4 (D. Or. April
16, 2007). Exceptions to the Younger abstention
doctrine are permitted, however, where (1) irreparable injury
as a result of the prosecution is both "great and
immediate"; (2) the state law flagrantly and patently
violates the Constitution of the United States; (3) there is
a showing of bad faith or harassment; or (4) other unusual
circumstances exist that require issuance of the requested
relief. Mitchum, 407 U.S. at 230.
it appears that the state court appeals process is ongoing.
Also, I find that, for the purposes of the extraordinary
relief sought here, plaintiff has failed to show that any of
the exceptions to Younger apply in this case. The
mere fact that a defendant must defend herself in state
criminal proceedings does not demonstrate irreparable
harm. Younger, 401 U.S. at 46
("[T]he cost, anxiety, and inconvenience of having to
defend against. .. criminal prosecution, [is not] considered
irreparable in the special legal sense of that term.").
Further, there is no showing that the state law under which
defendant was charged and found guilty patently violates the
U.S. Constitution. A review of the amended complaint and the
attached exhibits fails to reveal any bad faith or harassment
that would justify federal interference in the underlying
state proceedings. Finally, I find that there are no other
unusual or extraordinary circumstances that require
plaintiffs requested relief.
aside the concerns noted above, the motion would still be
denied based on the factors outlined in Winter.
Plaintiff has shown no likelihood of success on the merits as
evidenced by the confusing nature of her claims and Judge
Clarke's previous order dismissing her original complaint
(doc. 7). Further, an emergency injunction is likely not in
the public interest for the reasons underlying the
Younger abstention doctrine and the AIA. Most
importantly, plaintiff was sentenced in the spring of 2017
and only now, nearly a year later, moves this Court for an
emergency injunction. Thus, based on the record before me, I
find that the continued enforcement of the terms of her
probation would not likely result in the type of irreparable
harm contemplated by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.
reasons set forth above, Plaintiffs' Motion for Emergency
Exparte Injunctive Relief (doc. 12) is DENIED.
 Also, while plaintiff contends that
incarceration pursuant to an August 30, 2017, arrest warrant
for failure to appear would be "foreseeably fatal,
" the record contains no evidence to support such an
assertion. PL Mot, for Injunction at 2, Based on plaintiffs
submitted exhibits, the arrest warrant in question was
recalled on ...