McGhee v. Fridlund-Horne et al
ORDER - IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion (Doc. 2 ) is denied. (See document for complete details). Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 7/28/17.(SLQ)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
Joseph Martin McGhee, et al.,
Judge Elaine Fridlund-Horne, et al.,
Plaintiff Joseph McGhee has filed a motion to restrain Defendant Fridlund-Horne
from issuing certain legal rulings next week in a domestic relations case pending in
Coconino County Superior Court. Doc. 2. The motion will be denied.
To obtain preliminary injunctive relief such as a TRO, a plaintiff must show that
he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the
absence of relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that injunctive relief is
in the public interest. Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). The
test includes a sliding scale. If the plaintiff shows that the balance of hardships will tip
sharply in his favor, he need not make a strong showing of likelihood of success on the
merits – the existence of serious questions will suffice. Alliance for Wild Rockies v.
Cottrell, 622 F.3d 1045, 1049-53 (9th Cir. 2010).
Plaintiff has not shown that he is likely to succeed on the merits, and he has not
raised serious questions. Plaintiff’s claims arise out of a state court case apparently
concerning custody and other rights with respect to Plaintiff’s son. Plaintiff brings a
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Judge Fridlund-Horne has ignored motions
brought by Plaintiff, violated rules of evidence, denied Plaintiff the right to cross-
examine witnesses, and exhibited unfair and prejudicial conduct in the state court case.
Doc. 2 at 2.
Judges acting in their judicial capacity are protected from civil lawsuits by
absolute immunity under both federal and Arizona law. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9,
11 (1991); Acevedo v. Pima Cnty. Adult Prob. Dep’t, 690 P.2d 38, 40 (Ariz. 1984).
“[Judicial] immunity is overcome in only two sets of circumstances. First, a judge is not
immune from liability for nonjudicial actions, i.e., actions not taken in the judge’s
judicial capacity.” Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11. “Second, a judge is not immune for actions,
though judicial in nature, taken in the complete absence of all jurisdiction.” Id. at 12.
“[J]udicial immunity is not overcome by allegations of bad faith or malice, the existence
of which ordinarily cannot be resolved without engaging in discovery and eventual trial.”
Id. at 11 (citing Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 554 (1967)).
The actions at issue in this case clearly are judicial actions taken in Defendant
Fridlund-Horne’s judicial capacity, and Plaintiff makes no claim that the judge is acting
in the complete absence of all jurisdiction. Because Plaintiff’s claims are barred by
judicial immunity, he is not likely to succeed on the merits and has not raised serious
questions. The Court therefore will deny his motion for a temporary restraining order.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion (Doc. 2) is denied.
Dated this 28th day of July, 2017.
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