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Clavelle v. Superior Court of Solano County

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 9, 2014

FRANSWAN CLAVELLE, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SUPERIOR COURT OF SOLANO COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

KIMBERLY J. MUELLER, Judge.

Plaintiffs Franswan and Malika Clavelle move for a temporary restraining order. Pls.' Mot. for Temporary Restraining Order ("Mot.") at 1, ECF No. 1. As explained below, the court DENIES the motion.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs filed the instant motion on May 8, 2014, id. at 1, accompanied by a temporary restraining order checklist, ECF No. 3. They seek an emergency stay of a family-law hearing scheduled for May 9, 2014 in the Superior Court of California, County of Solano. Id. They do not state the precise nature of the proceeding, but, based on the papers, the court infers that it relates to custody or termination of parental rights. See id. at 2-6.

The motion is premised on several asserted violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act ("ICWA"), 25 U.S.C. ยงยง 1901-63, committed by various state-court officials and Solano County Child Welfare Services employees. Id. at 2. The violations relate to procedural guarantees, such as notice and provision of counsel, purportedly required under the ICWA. Id.

II. STANDARD

The court may grant a temporary restraining order where the moving party is "likely to succeed on the merits, ... likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, ... the balance of equities tips in his [or her] favor, and... an injunction is in the public interest." Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008)); see also Stuhlbarg Int'l Sales Co. v. John D. Brush & Co., 240 F.3d 832, 839 n.7 (9th Cir. 2001) (analysis for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions is "substantially identical"). "Under the sliding scale' approach... the elements... are balanced, so that a stronger showing of one element may offset a weaker showing of another." Pimentel v. Dreyfus, 670 F.3d 1096, 1111 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). However, "at an irreducible minimum, the moving party must demonstrate a fair chance of success on the merits, or questions serious enough to require litigation.'" Guzman v. Shewry , 552 F.3d 941, 948 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Dep't of Parks & Recreation v. Bazaar Del Mundo, Inc., 448 F.3d 1118, 1124 (9th Cir. 2006)). Where a party has not shown likelihood of success on the merits, the court need not address the remaining Winter elements. See Pimentel, 670 F.3d at 1111.

III. ANALYSIS

As an initial matter, the court notes that plaintiffs have failed to comply with Local Rule 231, which governs issuance of a temporary restraining order. The rule requires that "the following documents are provided to the Court":

(1) a complaint;
(2) a motion for temporary restraining order;
(3) a brief on all relevant legal issues presented by the motion;
(4) an affidavit in support of the existence of an irreparable injury;
(5) an affidavit detailing the notice or efforts to effect notice to the affected parties or counsel or showing good cause ...

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