United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order (ECF No. 2). For the reasons set forth
below, the Court denies Plaintiffs motion.
March 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed a federal Complaint against
several Defendants. He brings a claim under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for violation of his rights under the Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution
against St. Louis County Collector of Revenue; Richard
Robinson, the Manager of Revenue Services in St. Louis
County; and Ashely Greely and Mark Devore, both County
Collectors of Revenue. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that
these Defendants used an unlawful and wanton procedure to
deprive Plaintiff of his home. In addition, Plaintiff alleges
fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and an
action to quiet title against Defendants John Ramsey,
President of WMAC in 2013 and 2014; Richard Robinson, Chief
of Operations for Investa Services; Carlton Black, Vice
President for Investa Services; Michael DeLuca, Vice
President for Investa Services; Chad M. Cooper of Investa
Services; Scott F. Walterbach, attorney; Investa Services;
WMAC 2013; WMAC 2014; Christiana Trust; and The Deed Co.,
LLC. Further, Plaintiff alleges civil conspiracy against all
Defendants. He seeks monetary damages and declaratory
same date, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining
Order. Plaintiff claims that Defendant St. Louis County
Collector of Revenue conducted an annual Tax Sale auction
pursuant to Missouri statute and that Defendant WMAC 2014
participated in such auction without signing an affidavit as
required by law. Specifically, Defendant WMAC 2014 purchased
a Tax Sale Certificate for Plaintiffs home and then sent a
letter claiming to have purchased an interest in the
property. Plaintiff claims that the Tax Sale Certificate may
be void and that the Notice provided to Plaintiff by WMAC
2014 was legally insufficient. Plaintiff further alleges that
once WMAC 2014 has obtained the Tax Collector's Deed,
Defendant will immediately seek to evict Plaintiff from the
property. Specific to the Motion for Temporary Restraining
Order, Plaintiff states, "[b]y the time the Plaintiff
could prevail on the merits of his claims as alleged in the
attached complain[t], the Plaintiff will be homeless."
(Pl's Mot. ¶ 5, ECF No. 2) He further asserts that
he will suffer irreparable loss, specifically the loss of his
home, if the Court does not issue a Temporary Restraining
Order. Plaintiff requests that the order enjoin Defendants
from issuing or receiving a collector's deed and
instituting any detainer action to have Plaintiff evicted
from his residence.
March 30, 2017, this Court issued an Order to Show Cause,
ordering Plaintiff to show cause (1) whether Plaintiff will
suffer immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage
before Defendants have an opportunity to file an Answer
and/or response to Plaintiffs Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order; (2) whether Defendants have received
actual notice of Plaintiff s Complaint and Motion for
Temporary Restraining Order; and (3) whether this Court has
subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs cause of action.
The Plaintiff filed a response on April 3, 2017, indicating
that he mailed copies of the Complaint and the Motion for
Temporary Restraining Order to the named Defendants. In
addition, Plaintiff asserts that deprivation of his
constitutional rights even for a minimal period constitutes
irreparable harm. Finally, Plaintiff contends that this Court
has federal question jurisdiction by virtue of Plaintiff s
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
determine whether preliminary injunctive relief is warranted,
the Court considers four factors: "1) the threat of
irreparable harm to the moving party; 2) the state of the
balance between the harm to the moving party and the harm
that granting the injunction will inflict on the other
parties; 3) the probability that the moving party will
succeed on the merits; and 4) the public interest."
Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Mgmt. Servs., Inc. v.
Kinsey, No. 4:08 CV 635 DDN, 2008 WL 2064797, at *1
(E.D. Mo. May 14, 2008) (citing Dataphase Sys., Inc. v.
CLSys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 113 (8th Cir. 1981)). Courts
apply the Dataphase factors to motions for a
temporary restraining order. Id. "Without a
finding of irreparable injury to the moving party, however, a
preliminary injunction should not be issued."
Phelps-Roper v. Cty. of St. Charles, Missouri, No.
4:10CV02232 AGF, 2010 WL 5281668, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 17,
2010) (citing Modern Computer Sys., Inc. v. Modern
Banking Sys., Inc., 871 F.2d 734, 738 (8th Cir. 1989)).
"A temporary restraining order is an extraordinary and
drastic remedy . . . [and] [t]he burden of proving that the
relief should be awarded rests entirely on the movant."
King v. Blake, No. 4:08CV1050 RWS, 2009 WL 73678, at
*1 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 9, 2009) (citations omitted).
Court will deny Plaintiffs request for a Temporary
Restraining Order because Plaintiff has failed to show that
immediate, irreparable injury will occur before Defendants
have an opportunity to answer the Complaint and respond to
Plaintiffs motion. Plaintiff states in his affidavit that
Defendant WMAC 2014 has expressed its intention to obtain a
Collector's Deed and evict Plaintiff. (Pl's Aff.
¶ 6, ECF No. 4) (emphasis added). Plaintiff contends
that he would be irreparably harmed if he and his family were
forced to move from their home, which would likely be looted
for copper and anything of value. (Id. at ¶ 10)
In addition, Plaintiff baldly claims that deprivation of his
constitutional rights constitutes irreparable harm. At best,
Plaintiffs assertions amount to speculation. However,
"[m]erely demonstrating the 'possibility of
harm' is not enough." Chlorine Inst, Inc. v. Soo
Line R.R., 792 F.3d 903, 915 (8th Cir. 2015) (citation
Court notes that Plaintiff has not requested preliminary
injunctive relief. The Court will consider such request after
the Defendants' are properly served should Plaintiff
choose to file a motion.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Temporary