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Jacobs v. Wheaton Van Lines Inc.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 13, 2017

Albert L Jacobs, Jr., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Wheaton Van Lines Incorporated, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JAMES A. TEILBORG, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court are Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (“Motion for TRO”) (Doc. 11), Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction (“Motion for Preliminary Injunction”) (Doc. 13), and Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment (Doc. 14).[1] The Court now rules on the motions.

         I. MOTIONS FOR TRO AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

         A. Background

         On December 6, 2017, Albert Jacobs and Linda Jacobs (collectively and individually, “Plaintiffs”) filed the pending Motion for TRO (Doc. 11) and Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 13) against Wheaten Van Line, Inc. (“Defendant”). Plaintiffs seek a TRO and preliminary injunction to prevent Defendant from maintaining a state court action in Maricopa County Superior Court against Plaintiffs. (See Doc. 11 at 1-2). The Maricopa County Superior Court previously set December 14, 2017 as the date for Arbitration in Defendant's state court claim against Plaintiffs. (See id. at 1).

         B. Legal Standard

         The test for a TRO is the same test as for a preliminary injunction. See, e.g., Ron Barber for Cong. v. Bennett, CV-14-02489-TUC-CKJ, 2014 WL 6694451, at *2 (D. Ariz. Nov. 27, 2014). Under Rule 65(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”), plaintiffs seeking a TRO or a preliminary injunction 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 their favor, and (4) an injunction is in the public interest. Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 129 S.Ct. 365, 374, 172 L.Ed.2d 249 (2008). Alternatively, the Ninth Circuit also provides that, when the latter requirements are met, “[a] preliminary injunction is appropriate when a plaintiff demonstrates . . . that serious questions going to the merits were raised and the balance of hardships tips sharply in the plaintiff's favor.” Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1134-35 (9th Cir. 2011) (internal citations and quotations omitted).

         C. Analysis

         “The Younger abstention doctrine, as originally articulated by the Supreme Court, forbids federal courts from staying or enjoining pending state court proceedings.” AmerisourceBergen Corp. v. Roden, 495 F.3d 1143, 1147 (9th Cir. 2007) (internal quotations omitted) (citing Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 41 (1971)); see also 28 U.S.C. § 2283; Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 431 (1982) (“Younger v. Harris[], and its progeny espouse a strong federal policy against federal-court interference with pending state judicial proceedings absent extraordinary circumstances.”). Here, the Court may not intervene in the Maricopa County Superior Court proceedings referenced by Plaintiffs. As such, Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate any likelihood of success on the merits because this Court is unable to provide the relief Plaintiffs seek. Accordingly, Plaintiffs' Motion for TRO (Doc. 11) and Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 13) are hereby denied.[2]

         II. MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

         On December 6, 2017, Plaintiffs filed the pending Motion for Default Judgment (Doc. 14).

         A. Background

         Plaintiffs argue that “Defendant was serve[d] November 3rd[, ] 2017, ” but Defendant failed to answer or otherwise plead to the Complaint (Doc. 1) in a timely manner. (Doc. 14 at 2). Under FRCP Rule 12, a defendant must serve an answer “within 21 days after being served with the summons and complaint.” Under FRCP Rule 55(a), if a properly served party fails “to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the party's default.” In this case, Defendant did not answer or otherwise plead within 21 days of the day Defendant was purportedly served. Defendant first responded to Plaintiffs' Complaint (Doc. 1) several days after this deadline with a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16) filed on December 8, 2017.

         B. ...


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