Charles v. Bean et al
ORDER denying 2 Motion for Temporary Restraining Order. Signed by Senior Judge James C. Fox on 4/1/2014. Copy sent to the plaintiff via US Mail. (Edwards, S.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
THE HONORABLE CHRISTOPHER
BEAN, JODI L. TWIFORD, and
DONNA D. BRICKHOUSE.,
This matter is before the court on the plaintiffs emergency petition for temporary
restraining order [DE-2]. The plaintiff ("Charles") requests a "pre-filing order" against the
defendants for "ghostwritten vexatious litigation." Although it is by no means clear, it appears
that Ms. Brickhouse is pursuing some form of civil litigation against Charles in North Carolina
state court. The remaining defendants are Judge Bean, a state District Judge for Currituck
County and Ms. Twiford, an assistant clerk of court for Currituck County. Judge Bean and Ms.
Twiford are apparently involved in the civil case between Charles and Brickhouse. The motion
meanders from allegations regarding frivolous lawsuits to allegations related to "ghostwriting"
and the unauthorized practice of law, but it appears Charles generally requests that the court issue
a temporary restraining order preventing the Defendants from prosecuting the civil action
because he was not properly served with process and the state court action is vexatious to him.
The motion is frivolous and it is DENIED. Charles has failed to satisfy, or even address,
the common four-part test governing motions for preliminary injunctive relief. The United States
Supreme Court has stated that the movant must establish the following to obtain a temporary
restraining order or a preliminary injunction: (1) that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) that
he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) that the balance of
equities tips in his favor; and (4) that an injunction is in the public interest. Winter v. Natural
Res. Def Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v. Fed.
Election Comm 'n, 575 F.3d 342, 345 (4th Cir. 2009), vacated on other grounds, _U.S._, 130
S.Ct. 2371 (201 0). Charles is not likely to succeed on the merits, as his entire case is predicated
on the theory that this court can enjoin a state court from maintaining a civil action against him.
In general, this court is without the authority to enjoin state court proceedings or to enjoin private
citizens from maintaining state court civil actions. See Atlantic Coastline R.R. Co. v. Bhd. of
Locomotive Eng 'rs, 398 U.S. 281, 287 (1970) ("Proceedings in state courts should normally be
allowed to continue unimpaired by intervention ofthe lower federal courts, with relief from error,
if any, through the state appellate courts and ultimately this Court."). If the state court case is
frivolous or vexatious, or if Charles wishes to contest personal jurisdiction, Charles's remedy is
in the state court system. Moreover, Charles has failed to demonstrate irreparable harm. While
certainly inconvenient, defending against a frivolous civil action does not rise to the level of
irreparable harm. Finally, neither the balance of equities nor the public interest favor an
injunction on the facts alleged in this motion. Accordingly, Charles's emergency petition for
temporary restraining order [DE-2] is DENIED.
This the Lctay of April, 2014.
J:t.ES C. FOX
Se ior Umted States D1stnct Judge
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