Hicks v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. et al
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR EMERGENCY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 4 . Signed by JUDGE DAVID ALAN EZRA on 2/2/2012. [Order follows hearing held2/1/2012. Minutes: doc no. 12 ]. (afc) CERTIFICA TE OF SERVICEParticipants registered to receive electronic notifications received this document electronically at the e-mail address listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF). Participants not registered to receive electronic notifications were served by first class mail on the date of this docket entry
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF HAWAII
RENEE K. HICKS,
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., ET )
Civ. No. 12-00063 DAE-KSC
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR
EMERGENCY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
On February 1, 2012, the Court heard Plaintiff’s Motion for
Emergency Temporary and Permanent Injunctive Relief. Sandra D. Lynch, Esq.,
appeared at the hearing on behalf of Plaintiff Renee Hicks; Elise Thorn, Esq.,
appeared at the hearing on behalf of Defendant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. After
reviewing the motion and carefully considering the arguments advanced in support
of and in opposition to the motion, the Court hereby DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion
for Emergency Injunctive Relief. (Doc. # 4.)
On March 30, 2007, Plaintiff Renee Hicks executed a promissory note
and mortgage in favor of Equity Now, Inc. to refinance her home located at 4633
Waiakaula Street, Kilauea, Hawaii 96754 (“Subject Property”). In February 2008,
Plaintiff Hicks was notified by Option One Mortgage that she was in default on her
note and/or mortgage.
In early 2009, Wells Fargo, acting as Trustee for Option One
Mortgage Loan Trust 2007-6, initiated non-judicial foreclosure proceedings against
Plaintiff Hicks and the Subject Property. On February 25, 2009, Wells Fargo
purchased the Subject Property at a sale by public auction.
On July 15, 2010, Wells Fargo filed an Ejectment action against Hicks
in State Court. On September 14, 2011, the State Court granted Wells Fargo’s
Motion for Summary Judgment and for Writ of Ejectment Against Hicks. That
same day, the Court entered a Judgment against Hicks and issued Writ of
Ejectment. On September 19, 2011, Hicks filed a Notice of Appeal to the Hawaii
Intermediate Court of Appeals. That appeal is still pending. Hicks moved to stay
the ejectment pending her appeal and on October 25, 2011, the State Court entered
an Order Granting In Part and Denying In Part Hicks’ Motion for Stay. The State
Court conditioned the grant of a stay on Hicks posting a supersedeas bond in the
amount of $350,000.
On January 24, 2012, Hicks was told by the local Sheriff that Wells
Fargo had ordered that the Sheriff and his deputies remove Hicks from the Subject
Property by no later than February 2, 2012. On January 30, 2012, Hicks initiated
this action and filed the instant Motion for Emergency Injunctive Relief. (Docs. ##
1, 4.) In her Complaint, Hicks alleges that Defendant Wells Fargo lacked the
authority to institute non-judicial foreclosure proceedings and has no right to eject
Plaintiff from the Subject Property. She asserts claims for: (1) Quiet Title, (2)
Fraud, (3) Unjust Enrichment, and (4) Slander of Title. These claims are based on
her allegation that the various transfers and assignments of the mortgage were
fraudulent, manufactured, invalid, and ineffective to transfer ownership of the
mortgage and note.
In the instant Motion, Plaintiff seeks to enjoin Defendants from taking
possession of the Subject Property and evicting Plaintiff from her home until
resolution of “the pending [federal] Complaint to finality.” Plaintiff further argued
at the hearing that the State Court’s decision conditioning a stay on the posting of a
supersedeas bond in the amount of $350,000 is punitive and therefore improper.
The Court concludes that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the AntiInjunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2283, and general principles of comity and federalism
preclude this Court from granting the requested relief. The Rooker-Feldman
doctrine applies to “cases brought by state-court losers complaining of injuries
caused by state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings
commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those judgments.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005). Here,
the injury Plaintiff alleges arises from the state court’s purportedly erroneous
Judgment and Writ of Ejectment. Without the State Court Judgment, Wells Fargo
would not be ejecting Plaintiff from the Subject Property. Granting the requested
injunction would require this Court to review and reject the State Court’s decision,
which is clearly prohibited by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
The requested relief is also barred by the Anti-Injunction Act, which
precludes a federal court from granting “an injunction to stay proceedings in a
State court except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress . . . .” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2283. “The Act’s mandate extends not only to injunctions affecting pending
proceedings, but also to injunctions against the execution or enforcement of state
judgments.” Henrichs v. Valley View Development, 474 F.3d 609, 616 (9th Cir.
2007) (citing Atl. Coast Line R.R. Co. v. Bd. of Locomotive Eng’rs, 398 U.S. 281,
287–88 (1970)). In other words, “[a]n injunction may not be used to evade the
dictates of the Act if the injunction effectively blocks a state court judgment.” Id.
Plaintiff is requesting an injunction to prevent Wells Fargo from evicting Plaintiff
and taking possession of the Subject Property, which was the whole purpose of the
ejectment action. To grant that relief would be to enjoin the enforcement of the
State Court Judgment and disregard “the principle of abstention the statute seeks to
Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, the Court DENIES
Plaintiff’s Motion for Emergency Injunctive Relief. (Doc. # 4.) Plaintiff’s request
for emergency injunctive relief is more appropriately directed to the Hawaii
Intermediate Court of Appeals.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: Honolulu, Hawaii, February 2, 2012.
David Alan Ezra
United States District Judge
Hicks v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. et al., CV No. 12-00063 DAE-KSC; ORDER
DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR EMERGENCY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
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