United States District Court, S.D. California
SAWSAN WARDA, and MAJID M. TOMA, Plaintiffs,
SANTEE APARTMENTS LP, Defendant.
WILLIAM Q. HAYES United States District Judge.
matter before the Court is the Ex Parte Application for
Temporary Restraining Order and Motion for Preliminary
Injunction (ECF No. 3) filed by Plaintiffs Majid M. Toma and
Sawsan Warda ("Plaintiffs") and the Motion to
Dissolve the Temporary Restraining Order and Opposition to
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 8)
filed by Defendant Santee Apartments LP
March 30, 2017, Plaintiffs initiated this action by filing a
Complaint (ECF No. 1), a motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis (ECF No. 2), and the Ex Parte Application for
Temporary Restraining Order and Motion for Preliminary
Injunction (ECF No. 3). On March 30, 2017, the Court issued
an order granting Plaintiffs' motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 4).
their Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order
and Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Plaintiffs contend
that if the Court did not grant injunctive relief preventing
Defendant from enforcing a lockout "against Plaintiffs
based on a default judgment in an Unlawful Detainer action[,
]" Plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm by
"be[ing] denied the opportunity ... to reside in the
community and environment of the[ir] choice." (ECF No. 3
at 1-2, 7). Plaintiffs contend that temporary injunctive
relief "is necessary to preserve the status quo so that
this Court can make the determination as to whether the
intended denial of housing was motivated by discrimination
based on disability in violation of the Fair Housing
Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §3601 et
seq., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and related
state laws." Id. at 7. Plaintiffs contend that
there is a substantial likelihood they will prevail on the
merits because Defendant has refused to provide Plaintiffs
with a reasonable accommodation and has attempted to remove
Plaintiffs from their rental unit "prior to engaging in
the interactive process as part of the reasonable
accommodation request." Id. Plaintiffs contend
that "[t]he threatened injury to Plaintiffs far
outweighs any potential harm to Defendant" and issuing a
temporary restraining order will not harm the public
interest. Id. at 7-8.
March 30, 2017, the Court issued an order granting
Plaintiffs' request for a temporary restraining order.
(ECF No. 6). The Court found that Plaintiffs had
"identified immediate and irreparable injury which may
result before Defendant can be heard in opposition."
Id. at 2. The Court found that Plaintiffs had
"made an adequate attempt to provide Defendant with
notice of this action and the Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order prior to any irreparable injury [, ]"
and found "that Plaintiffs have met the requirements of
Rule 65(b)." Id. The Court ordered that
Defendant "is hereby ENJOINED from taking any actions to
prevent Plaintiffs' continuous occupancy of their rental
unit, pending further order of this Court." Id.
April 4, 2017, Defendant filed Proof of Service (ECF No. 7)
and the Motion to Dissolve the Temporary Restraining Order
and Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary
Injunction. (ECF No. 8). On April 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
reply to Defendant's Motion to Dissolve the Temporary
Restraining Order and opposition. (ECF No. 11). On April 6,
2017, the Court held a hearing regarding the temporary
restraining order, where counsel for both parties entered
appearances and presented argument to the Court. (ECF No.
Motion to Dissolve the Temporary Restraining Order and
Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary
Injunction (ECF No. 8)
Contentions of the Parties
contends that this Court is prohibited from entering
temporary injunctive relief by the Anti-Injunction Act.
Defendant contends that the Anti-Injunction Act
"prohibits a federal district court from issuing a
temporary restraining order staying unlawful detainer
proceedings in state court." (ECF No. 8 at 11).
Defendant contends that the injunction requested by
Plaintiffs does not fall into any of the three exceptions to
the Anti-Injunction Act. Id. at 11-14.
contend that the "necessary in aid of its
jurisdiction" exception to the Anti-Injunction Act
applies to this case, so that this Court may issue the
injunctive relief requested by Plaintiffs. (ECF No. 11 at 3).
Plaintiffs contend that another district court has found that
courts "can enjoin a state court eviction proceeding
where certain important housing rights are in jeopardy of
being lost, such as housing subsidized under the low-income
Section 8 federal housing assistance program."
Id. (citing Sierra v. City of New York, 528
F.Supp.2d 465, 468 (S.D.N.Y. 2008)). Plaintiffs contend they
"are recipients of subsidized housing under the
federally funded Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
("LIHTC")[, ]" and "the potential loss of
housing subsidized under the LIHTC program is equally as
devastating as losing Section 8 housing." Id.
at 4. Plaintiffs contend that "federal courts do have
the authority to enjoin a landlord from denying housing where
the 'necessary in aid of its jurisdiction' exception
extends to cases where some federal injunctive relief may be
necessary to prevent a state court from so interfering with a
federal court's consideration or disposition of a case as
to seriously impair the federal court's flexibility and
authority to decide the case." Id. at 3
(citation and quotation marks omitted).
Rule of Civil Procedure 65(b)(4) provides that "[o]n 2
days' notice to the party who obtained the [temporary
restraining] order without notice-or on shorter notice set by
the court-the adverse party may appear and move to dissolve
or modify the order." Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b)(4). Upon the
filing of a motion to dissolve the temporary restraining
order, "[t]he court must . . . hear and decide the
motion as promptly as justice requires." Id.
plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish
that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely
to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary
relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and
that an injunction is in the public interest."
Winter v. Nat'l Res. Defense Council, Inc., 555
U.S. 7, 20 (2008). The standard for issuing a preliminary
injunction and a temporary restraining order under Rule 65
are the same. See Quiroga v. Chen, 735 F.Supp.2d
1226, 1228 (D. Nev. 2010) ("Temporary restraining orders
are governed by the same standard applicable to preliminary
injunctions."). "The stringent restrictions imposed
by . . . Rule 65 on the availability of ex parte temporary
restraining orders reflect the fact that our entire
jurisprudence runs counter to the notion of court ...