United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
OPINION AND ORDER
AIKEN U.S. District Judge
Kevin McFarland, has filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining
Order (doc. 8) ("TRO") against defendants seeking a
TRO and Preliminary Injunction enjoining all proceedings in
Lane County Circuit Court No. 18CR33889. For the reasons set
forth below, plaintiffs motion is DENIED.
as the Court can discern from Plaintiffs submissions, he is
currently facing charges of "Unauthorized Use of a Motor
Vehicle, Elude by Vehicle, Reckless Endangering, Interfering
with Police, Resisting Arrest, and Criminal Mischief 2 as a
result of incidences that occurred on or around
05/19//2018." Pi's. Ex Parte Mot. for TRO at 51.
Plaintiff has filed suit in this Court against the State of
Oregon, Lane County Circuit Court, and various state actors,
alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq ("ADA").
Plaintiff complains that he made twelve requests for
accommodations under the ADA related to his autism spectrum
disorder with the Lane County Circuit Court, three of which
were granted. Pi's. Ex. Parte Mot. for TRO at 36. He also
complains that the presiding judge in his state court case
erred in finding, after an adversarial hearing, that
plaintiff was competent to proceed in participating and
assisting in the defense of his criminal case.
the Court notes that the same general legal standards govern
temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 65; New Motor Vehicle Ed. of Cal. 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 Cal. ex
rel. Van Be 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. 650b)(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 opposition").
the Court 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."). It is unclear whether the ADA is a
recognized exception to AIA. See Gunter-Ritter v. Robarts
Properties, LP, 2018 WL 2388804, at *2 (E.D. Cal. 2018)
even if an action brought under the ADA 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. See
also Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-49 (1971)
(enunciating the principles of federal abstention in the
context of ongoing 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'n, 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.
the state criminal proceedings are ongoing, and plaintiff has
been informed of his rights to pursue grievances through the
Oregon Justice Department ADA grievance process. It is
unclear whether he has pursued or exhausted remedies through
this process. The Court also finds 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. While the Court is not insensitive to the needs of
defendants with autism, the mere fact that a defendant must
defend himself 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 patently violates the U.S.
Constitution. A review of the motion and complaint fails to
reveal any bad faith or harassment that would justify federal
interference in the underlying state proceedings. Finally,
the Court finds that there are no other unusual or
extraordinary circumstances that require granting plaintiffs
requested relief at this time.
aside the concerns noted above, the motion would still be
denied based on the factors outlined in Winter.
Plaintiff has not shown a sufficient likelihood of success on
the merits of this case. Further, an emergency injunction is
likely not in the public interest for the reasons underlying
the Younger abstention doctrine and the AIA. Thus,
based on the record, the Court declines to grant the
extraordinary relief requested by plaintiff.
reasons set forth above, Plaintiffs' Emergency Ex Parte