United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY
C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Plaintiff evidently alleges her due process rights
were violated during state court proceedings related to
certain real property. The matter is before the Court on
Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction. (Motion,
ECF No. 12.) Following a review of the record, and after
consideration of Plaintiff's motion, I recommend the
Court deny the motion.
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy
that is never awarded as of right.” Peoples Federal
Sav. Bank v. People's United Bank, 672 F.3d 1, 8-9
(1st Cir. 2012) (quoting Voice of the Arab World, Inc. v.
MDTC Med. News Now, Inc., 645 F.3d 26, 32 (1st Cir.
2011)). When evaluating a request for preliminary injunction,
courts “must consider (1) the likelihood of success on
the merits; (2) the potential for irreparable harm if the
injunction is denied; (3) the balance of relevant
impositions, i.e., the hardship to the nonmovant if enjoined
as contrasted with the hardship to the movant if no
injunction issues; and (4) the effect (if any) of the
court's ruling on the public interest.”
Ross-Simons of Warwick, Inc. v. Baccarat,
Inc., 102 F.3d 12, 15 (1st Cir. 1996). The likelihood of
success factor is given the most weight. Id. at 16
(“Likelihood of success is the main bearing
case, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that she is likely to
prevail on her claim. While the gravamen of Plaintiff's
complaint is somewhat difficult to discern, Plaintiff appears
to challenge a decision of the state court. The decision
evidently involves a dispute between Plaintiff and her
brother regarding the property on which Plaintiff resides or
district courts do not have jurisdiction to act as an
appellate court to review the rulings of state courts. The
only federal court with such authority is the United States
Supreme Court. Silva v. Massachusetts, 351 Fed.Appx.
450, 454 (1st Cir. 2009) (“28 U.S.C. § 1257 vests
the United States Supreme Court with exclusive
‘jurisdiction over appeals from final state-court
judgments.'” (quoting Lance v. Dennis, 546
U.S. 459, 463 (2006) (per curiam))); see also Lance,
546 U.S. at 460 (“The Rooker-Feldman doctrine
prevents the lower federal courts from exercising
jurisdiction over cases brought by ‘state-court
losers' challenging ‘state-court judgments rendered
before the district court proceedings commenced.'”
(quoting Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus.
Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284, (2005))).
McKenna v. Curtin, 869 F.3d 44 (1st Cir. 2017), the
First Circuit reiterated the scope and significance of the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, and its reasoning is
instructive in this case. The First Circuit, relying on the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, affirmed the dismissal of
the plaintiff's claim that the proceedings that resulted
in a state court order suspending him from the practice of
law violated his rights under the First, Seventh, and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The
First Circuit reasoned that because the plaintiff complained
of harm arising from a state court order, and asked the
federal district court “to countermand that order,
” his claim was “precisely the ‘functional
equivalent of an appeal' that the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine forbids.” Id. at 48 (quoting
Badillo-Santiago, 378 F.3d at 6). The First Circuit
also concluded that the plaintiff's claims did not
constitute a challenge on behalf of the public for
declaratory relief regarding the constitutionality of state
court proceedings, because “all of the
allegations in his complaint concern the constitutionality of
the rules as applied to him.” Id.
(emphasis in original).
claim similarly is the “functional equivalent of an
appeal.” Plaintiff, therefore, has not demonstrated
that she is likely to prevail on her claim in this Court.
Given that “[t]he sine qua non of [the] four-part
inquiry [for an injunction] is likelihood of success on the
merits, ” Plaintiff is not entitled to a preliminary
injunction. New Comm Wireless Servs., Inc. v. SprintCom,
Inc., 287 F.3d 1, 9 (1st Cir. 2002).
on the foregoing analysis, I recommend the Court deny
Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction.
may file objections to those specified portions of a
magistrate judge's report or proposed findings or
recommended decisions entered pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) for which de novo review by the district court
is sought, together with a supporting memorandum, within
fourteen (14) days of being served with a copy thereof.
to file a timely objection shall constitute a waiver of the
right to de novo review by the district court and to ...