Acres v. Blue Lake Rancheria et al

Filing 54

Order by Hon. William H. Orrick denying 53 Motion for TRO. (jmdS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/28/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 JAMES RAYMOND ACRES, Plaintiff, 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 Case No. 16-cv-05391-WHO ORDER DENYING TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER v. BLUE LAKE RANCHERIA, et al., Re: Dkt. No. 53 Defendants. Plaintiff James Acres sought a determination, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, that the Blue 13 Lake Rancheria Tribal Court lacks jurisdiction over him in a contract dispute proceeding in Tribal 14 Court. Dkt. No. 1. On February 24, 2017, I dismissed that claim because Acres failed to exhaust 15 tribal remedies as required by considerations of comity and binding precedent. See Dkt. No. 50; 16 National Farmers Union Ins. Cos. V. Crow Tribe, 471 U.S. 845, 857 (1985) (holding that district 17 courts must decline jurisdiction to hear § 1331 claims “until after the Tribal Court has had a full 18 opportunity to determine its own jurisdiction.”) . Acres now applies for a Temporary Restraining 19 Order against the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribal Court, seeking to enjoin the proceedings in his 20 underlying Tribal Court case pending appeal of my dismissal Order. Dkt. No. 53. 21 Because my February 24, 2016 Order was an unconditional dismissal of this case, I retain 22 no jurisdiction over the matter. See O’Connor v. Colvin, 70 F.3d 530, 532 (9th Cir. 1995) (“When 23 the initial action is dismissed, federal jurisdiction terminates.”). I therefore lack the authority to 24 grant Acres’s requested relief. Acres cites to Natural Resources Defense Council Inc. v. 25 Southwest Marine Inc., 242 F.3d 1163, 1166 (9th Cir. 2001), for the proposition that “[t]he district 26 court retains jurisdiction during the pendency of an appeal to act to preserve the status quo.” But 27 that case is inapplicable because there the district court had not dismissed the action and thus had 28 not terminated federal jurisdiction. Id. 1 Even if I retained jurisdiction over this matter, the same considerations of comity that 2 required me to dismiss Acres’s claim would prohibit me from issuing the requested relief. As 3 comity requires that I grant the Tribal Court a full and fair opportunity to determine its own 4 jurisdiction, it also prohibits me from enjoining the Tribal Court from proceeding with such a 5 determination. 6 As this court lacks jurisdiction to grant the Temporary Restraining Order Acres requests, 7 and because such an order would violate the same principles of comity that required this case’s 8 dismissal in the first instance, Acres’s application is DENIED. 9 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: March 28, 2017 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 William H. Orrick United States District Judge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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