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Lapin v. Widmyer

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 18, 2017

GREGORY LAPIN, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVEN D. WIDMYER and JANE DOE WIDMYER, individually and the community property comprised thereof, WILLIAM T. REAGAN and JANE DOE REAGAN, individually and the community property comprised thereof; BW REAL ESTATE, LLC, a Idaho Limited Liability Company; BENJAMIN WIDMYER in his capacity as sole member of BW real Estate, LLC; and BENJAMIN WIDMYER and JANE DOE WIDMYER, individually and the community property comprised thereof Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          HONORABLE DAVID C. NYE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         INTRODUCTION

         On August 11, 2017, Plaintiff, Gregory Lapin, filed a motion for Order to Show Cause for Preliminary Injunction in this case (Dkt. 4). This order requested the Court to enjoin the defendants from prosecuting an eviction currently pending in the First District Court of Kootenai County, Idaho (Case No. CV-2017-2918). Because the order for preliminary injunction was extremely time sensitive, the Court ordered that Defendants respond immediately so that the Court could make a determination before the eviction proceedings were set to take place in State Court. Defendants filed a brief in opposition to Plaintiff's Motion on August 17, 2017. Having reviewed the record, the Court now issues the following decision DENYING the Motion.

         DISCUSSION

         Lapin contends that he will be irreparably harmed if a preliminary injunction is not granted at this time. The Court often enters a preliminary injunction to preserve the status quo pending a determination of the action on the merits. Larry P. v. Riles, 502 F.2d 963, 965 (9th Cir. 1974). However, this case is somewhat unique in that Lapin is asking the Federal Court for a preliminary injunction to stop the State Court proceeding.

         The underlying facts of the case are not relevant at this time, but the procedural history, while not lengthy, is relevant to the Court's decision.

• On April 11, 2017, Defendants filed their complaint against Lapin in State Court.
• On May 19, 2017, Plaintiff filed a notice of removal to Federal Court. Plaintiff then filed an Answer, Counterclaim, Third Party Complain and Jury Demand in that case.
• On May 25, 2017, Judge Edward J. Lodge remanded the case filed in Federal Court to State Court.
• On July 19, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Answer and Affirmative Defenses in State Court but did not raise any counterclaims or third party claims as he had in his federal case.
• On July 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant suit in Federal Court.

         In this case, it appears that Lapin is trying to use a federal cause of action to control his state cause of action. This is not appropriate - one court will not substitute or impose its jurisdiction on the other except under limited circumstances.

         In a recent case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court held that

In exceptional circumstances, a federal court may decline to exercise its “virtually unflagging obligation” to exercise federal jurisdiction, in deference to pending, parallel state proceedings. Such a decision “rest[s] on considerations of wise judicial administration, giving regard to conservation of judicial resources and comprehensive disposition of litigation.” The decision “does not rest on a mechanical checklist, but on a careful balancing of the important factors as they apply in a given case, with the balance heavily weighted in favor of the exercise ...

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