Coppedge et al v. Conway et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 1/12/15. (mas)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
JAMES COPPEDGE and
KRISHA JOHNSON COPPEDGE,
DANIEL T. CONWAY, ESQ., et al.,
) Civ. Action No. 14-1477-GMS
The plaintiffs James Coppedge ("J. Coppedge") and Krisha Johnson Coppedge ("K.
Coppedge) (together "the plaintiffs") filed this action as a "Notice of Appeal" from a final order
of the Supreme Court of Delaware to the Controller of Currency, U.S. Treasury Department, the
Justice Department, and the U.S. District Court of Delaware. (D.I. 1.) The plaintiffs "request a
120 day extension to file in order to claim remedy for errors in the lower court's opinions." (Id.)
The plaintiffs appear pro se and have paid the filing fee.
On December 19, 2014, the plaintiffs filed a motion to stay/injunction "for appellees
wrongful proceedings, cancellation of Sheriff's sale for lack of personal and subject matter
jurisdiction, and void judgment for failure to state a claim per FRCP Rule 60(b)( 6)" on the
grounds of fraud, misrepresentation, other adversary misconduct, and void judgment of mortgage
fraud." (D.1. 3.) There is no indication on the court docket that the defendants were served with
process or received a service copy of the motion for injunctive relief.
The following facts are taken from the Delaware Supreme Court decision, Coppedge v.
US Bank Nat 'l Assoc., No. 466, 2014 (Del. Nov. 5, 2014). In February 2011, American Home
Mortgage Bank ("the Bank) filed a complaint against the plaintiffs seeking to foreclose on their
property located at 52 Barkley Court in Dover, Delaware, due to their failure to make mortgage
payments. The Bank moved for summary judgment and to enter judgment in its favor. By an
order and opinion dated September 15, 2011, the Superior Court, granted the Bank's motion for
summary judgment. On appeal, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the
Superior Court. See Coppedge v. US Bank Nat'! Ass 'n, 2011 WL 6393197 (Del. Dec. 19, 2011).
The Bank proceeded to a sheriffs sale, but the sale was stayed after the plaintiffs filed for
bankruptcy. Once the bankruptcy action was dismissed, the Bank filed an alias writ of levari
facias on June 10, 2014 to reinitiate the sale process. J. Coppedge then filed a "petition/motion
to set aside judgment of sheriffs sale due to full settlement of the accounting and stay
proceeding pending trial by jury" opposed by the bank who argued that the mortgage remained
in default. The Delaware Superior Court denied J. Coppedge's motion. The plaintiffs appealed
to the Delaware Supreme Court.
The Delaware Supreme Court noted that the mortgage debt remained unsatisfied and
found no merit to the issues raised by the plaintiffs. The Delaware Supreme Court found that
the Superior Court did not err in concluding that there was no basis for setting aside the prior
judgment and in denying the motion to set aside the prior judgment and to stay the Sheriffs sale.
On November 5, 2014, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Superior
Court. Coppedge v. US Bank Nat'! Assoc., No. 466, 2014 (Del. Nov. 5, 2014). The plaintiffs
filed a motion for rehearing en bane of the November 4, 2014 order. (D.I. 1, ex.) On November
25, 2014, the Delaware Supreme Court denied the motion finding no basis to grant rehearing en
bane. (Id.) The plaintiffs filed the instant action on December 12, 2014.
LEGAL ST AND ARD
When considering a motion for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction,
the court considers "( 1) whether the movant has a reasonable probability of success on the
merits; (2) whether irreparable harm would result if the relief sought is not granted; (3) whether
the relief would result in greater harm to the non-moving party, and (4) whether the relief is in
the public interest." Swartzwelder v. McNeilly, 297 F.3d 228, 234 (3d Cir. 2002)). "The relevant
inquiry is whether the movant is in danger of suffering irreparable harm at the time the
preliminary injunction is to be issued." SJ Handling Sys., Inc. v. Heisley, 753 F.2d 1244, 1264
(3d Cir. 1985). "Preliminary injunctive relief is 'an extraordinary remedy' and 'should be
granted only in limited circumstances."' Id. (citations omitted). It is the plaintiffs burden, in
seeking injunctive relief, to show a likelihood of success on the merits. Campbell Soup Co. v.
ConAgra, Inc., 977 F.2d 86, 90 (3d Cir. 1992). "[F]ailure to establish any element in [a
plaintiffs] favor renders a preliminary injunction inappropriate." Nutrasweet II, 176 F.3d at
The relief sought by the plaintiffs is barred by the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine. In
addition, the Anti-Injunction Act weighs against granting the motion.
The Rooker-Feldman doctrine prohibits this court from maintaining subject matter
jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' appeal and motion, both of which effectively seek to vacate the
findings of the Delaware Supreme Court. "The Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevents the lower
federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by 'state-court losers' challenging
'state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced."' Lance v.
Dennis, 546 U.S. 459, 460 (2006) (citations omitted). The court finds that the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine claim bars the plaintiffs' claim because the relief they seek would require "(l) the
federal court [to] determine that the state court judgment was erroneously entered in order to
grant the requested relief, or (2) the federal court [to] take an action that would negate the state
court's judgment .... " In re Knapper, 407 F.3d 573, 581 (3d Cir. 2005). Throughout the
mortgage foreclosure action, the Delaware Courts have ruled against the plaintiffs. In essence,
the plaintiffs ask this the court to determine that those rulings were in error and to grant relief in
the form of an injunction to stay the State Court proceedings (which have concluded following
the denial of the motion for a rehearing en bane) and/or to enjoin or cancel a Sheriffs sale of the
foreclosed property. The plaintiffs also wish this court to act as a court of review of the State
Court decisions by reason of their "appeal." This court does not have the power to grant these
In addition, the Anti-Injunction Act prohibits the federal courts from interfering with
proceedings in the state courts. "A court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay
proceedings in a State Court except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where
necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments." 28 U.S.C. § 2283.
See Becker v. Evans, 496 F. Supp. 20, 21 (M.D. Pa. 1980) ("State court proceedings to enforce a
state court judgment have been found not to come within any of [the three exceptions of the
Anti-Injunction Act], and therefore the district court lacks jurisdiction to issue the injunction [to
stay the writ of execution on a state court judgment]."); Clark v. United States Bank Nat'! Ass 'n,
2004 WL 1380166, at *3 (E.D. Pa. June 18, 2004) ("The Anti-Injunction Act simply does not
allow federal courts to enjoin state court proceedings, including mortgage foreclosure actions,
absent the application of an exception under the statute.") (citations omitted).
Finally, this court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' action
under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See Burgos v. McEwan, 413 F. App'x 469 (3d Cir. 2011)
(unpublished) (sua sponte dismissal of the complaint as clearly barred by the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine); Van Tassel v. Lawrence Cnty. Domestic Relations Sections, 390 F. App'x 201 (3d Cir.
2010) (unpublished) (affirming district court's sua sponte dismissal of complaint under RookerFeldman); White v. Rabner, 349 F. App'x 681 (3d Cir. 2009) (affirming district court's sua
sponte dismissal of complaint under Rooker-Feldman). Because the court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, the case must be dismissed.
For the above reasons, the court will deny the motion to stay/injunction (D.1. 3), and will
dismiss the case for want of subject matter jurisdiction. A separate order shall issu .
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