Marfut v. The Gardens of Gulf Cove POA, Inc et al
ORDER denying 27 Plaintiff Christine E. Marfut's Request for Emergency Injunctive Relief. Signed by Judge Sheri Polster Chappell on 11/29/2017. (LMF)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
CHRISTINE E. MARFUT,
Case No: 2:17-cv-595-FtM-38CM
THE GARDENS OF GULF COVE
POA, INC, JOHN ANDERSON,
BREEN LUCILLE, JACK
ARLINGHAUS, DAHL HERMAN,
FRED STREIF, NAMY THOMPSON
PL, STEPHEN W. THOMPSON,
JOSEPH NAJMY, LOUIS NAJMY,
RICHARD WELLER, RANDOLF L.
SMITH and MICHAEL J. SMITH,
OPINION AND ORDER1
This matter comes before the Court on pro se Plaintiff Christine E. Marfut’s
Request for Emergency Injunctive Relief. (Doc. 27). For the following reasons, the Court
denies her motion.
Two years ago, Defendant Gardens of Gulf Cove Property Owner’s Association,
Inc. filed a complaint for lien foreclosure against Marfut in county court. (Doc. 25-1).
Gardens of Gulf Cove did so because Marfut allegedly did not pay her homeowners’
association assessments. (Doc. 25 at 1-2). Marfut moved to transfer the case to the
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circuit court, arguing the amount in controversy exceeded the jurisdictional maximum for
county court. When the court denied her motion last month, she appealed. And the
appeal is still pending.
In addition to the appeal, Marfut filed this federal suit against Defendants. She
alleges they have violated the mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, and
conspiracy federal statutes.
She also requests injunctive relief from the
foreclosure action. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 64-67). She specifically wants the Court to stay the
foreclosure trial because the county court “does not have subject matter jurisdiction to try
a case which involves title to and possession of real property.” (Doc. 13 at ¶ 66).
According to Marfut, her constitutional rights have been violated because the county court
has neither dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction nor sent the case to
the circuit court. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 67). Because the county court case still “has not been
removed from the docket,” Marfut files this emergency motion asking the Court to stay
the case. (Doc. 27 at 2).
But the Court has no authority to grant Marfut such relief. Under the Anti-Injunction
Act, a federal district court “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. “The . . .
‘necessary in aid of its jurisdiction exception  applies in two narrow circumstances: (1)
the federal court gains jurisdiction over res in an in rem proceeding a party brings a
subsequent state court action; or (2) the federal court is presented with a similar context,”
e.g., the need to protect an earlier-issued injunction. See Arthur v. JP Morgan Chase
Bank, NA, 569 F. App’x 669, 678 (11th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). The third exception
“is applicable where subsequent state law claims ‘would be precluded by the doctrine of
res judicata’ . . . In addition to the existence of a federal judgment, ‘the party seeking the
injunction must make a strong and unequivocal showing of relitigation.’” Id. at 678-79
Here, Marfut’s motion requesting the Court to stay the county court trial falls
squarely under the Anti-Injunction Act. And there is no applicable exception to grant
Marfut the relief she requests. Regardless of how liberally the Court construes her
motion, it lacks any authority to direct the county court to stay the upcoming trial. See,
e.g., Reed v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Assoc., No. 8:17-cv-1051-T-33AEP, 2017 WL 1906297, at
*2 (M.D. Fla. May 10, 2017) (denying plaintiff’s request for a temporary restraining order
to stop her eviction under the Anti-Injunction Act); Dyer v. The Bank of N.Y. Mellon, No.
5:17-cv-130-Oc-30PRL, 2017 WL 1165552, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 29, 2017) (same).
Whether the county court has jurisdiction to handle the foreclosure action is a matter for
the state courts to decide.
Accordingly, it is now
Plaintiff Christine E. Marfut’s Request for Emergency Injunctive Relief. (Doc. 27)
DONE and ORDERED in Fort Myers, Florida this 28th day of November, 2017.
Copies: All Parties of Record
Although the Court denies Marfut’s Request for Emergency Injunction Relief, the case
remains open as to her other claims. (Doc. 1).
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