Douglas v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Memorandum Opinion and Order: The Court Denies 19 Motion for Reconsideration filed by Cheryl Douglas, Jason Douglas (Ordered by Judge Jane J. Boyle on 1/11/2018) (svc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
WELLS FARGO BANK. N.A.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:17-CV-2588-B
MEMORANDUM OPINION ORDER
Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion for Reconsideration. Doc. 19. For the reasons that
follow, the Court DENIES the motion.
Plaintiffs James and Cheryl Douglas are in the process2 of being evicted from their home after
defaulting on their mortgage. Doc. 19, Mot. for Recons., 1. In May 2017, Defendant Wells Fargo
Bank N.A. (Wells Fargo) purchased the Douglases’ home at a foreclosure sale. Doc. 14, Pls.’ Br. in
Supp., 6. Wells Fargo later conveyed the home to former3 Defendant Secretary of Veterans Affairs
The facts are drawn from the parties’ briefing for the previously denied temporary restraining
order and the Douglases’ briefing for this motion for reconsideration. The facts are undisputed unless
By now, the Douglases may have already been evicted. See Doc 19, Mot. for Recons., 2.
The Douglases have agreed to dismiss with prejudice all claims against former Defendants VRM
and VA in conformity with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2) because the VA has reconveyed the
property to Wells Fargo; the VA and VRM are no longer necessary parties. Doc. 22.
Former Defendant Vendor Resource Management (VRM), the VA’s agent, obtained from
the Justice of the Peace Court of Dallas County a forcible-detainer judgment entitling VRM to
possession of the home. Id. The Douglases appealed the judgment to the Dallas County Court at
Law. Id. The eviction trial in that court was scheduled for November 2017. Id. The Douglases filed
this suit in August 2017 in state court, which granted the Douglases’ temporary restraining order
preventing their eviction. Id. The Defendants removed the case to this Court on September 22,
2017. Doc. 1. On October 27, 2017, the Douglases moved the Court for a temporary restraining
order and preliminary injunction to stop the parallel state-court eviction proceedings. Doc. 13. But
the Court denied the Douglases’ motion because the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) prevents federal
courts from enjoining state-court proceedings, and because the Douglases did not argue any of the
AIA’s exceptions applied. Doc. 17, Order, 3. The Douglases filed a motion for reconsideration,
arguing that the necessary-in-aid-of-jurisdiction exception to the AIA applies. Doc. 19, Mot. for
Recons., 2–3. Their motion is ripe before the Court.4
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not explicitly provide for motions for
reconsideration, but courts rule on motions for reconsideration under Rules 54(b), 59, and 60. Menlo
Inv. Grp., LLC v. Fought, No. 3:12-CV-4182-K BF, 2015 WL 547343, at *3 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 5,
2015). A request to reconsider an interlocutory order, such as an order denying a motion for a
The Defendants did not respond to the Douglases’ motion.
temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, falls under Rule 54(b). See Cabral v. Brennan,
853 F.3d 763, 766 (5th Cir. 2017). So Rule 54(b) applies here.
Under Rule 54(b), the Court may “reconsider and reverse its decision for any reason it deems
sufficient, even in the absence of new evidence or an intervening change in or clarification of the
substantive law.” Lavespere v. Niagara Mach. & Tool Works, Inc., 910 F.2d 167, 185 (5th Cir. 1990),
abrogated on other grounds by Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069 (5th Cir. 1994).
The Douglases assert that the Court should enjoin the state court’s proceedings in spite of
the AIA because they qualify for AIA’s necessary-in-aid-of-jurisdiction exception . Doc. 19, Mot. for
Recons., 2–3; see also 28 U.S.C. § 2283. They argue the necessary-in-aid-of-jurisdiction exception
applies to “quasi-in-rem” cases. Doc. 19, Mot. for Recons., 2–3. A qausi-in-rem case, they say, is one
that involves the rights of a property located in the Court’s jurisdiction. Id. at 3 n.1. And they argue
this is a qausi-in-rem case because it will determine the parties’ rights to the home. Id. at 3.
The necessary-in-aid-of-jurisdiction exception applies where a state court proceeding
“threatens to dispose of property that forms the basis for federal in rem jurisdiction.” Texas v. United
States, 837 F.2d 184, 186 n.4 (5th Cir. 1988). But the exception only works if the federal court
acquired jurisdiction over the res before the state court did. Mitchum v. Foster, 407 U.S. 225 (1972)
(explaining that the exception allows “a federal court to enjoin a state court proceeding in order to
protect its jurisdiction of a res over which it had first acquired jurisdiction.”)
The Douglases have not demonstrated that the necessary-in-aid-of-jurisdiction exception
applies. They have not presented any authority that supports their position and Court is not aware
of any. And several courts, including the Fifth Circuit, have rejected the Douglases’ position under
nearly identical circumstances. See, e.g., Mesa v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 4:17-CV-532, 2017 WL
3940534, at *1–2 (E.D. Tex. Sept. 8, 2017); Green v. Bank of Am. N.A., No. CIV.A. H-13-1092,
2013 WL 2417916, at *1 (S.D. Tex. June 4, 2013); Knoles v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 513 F. App’x
414, 416 (5th Cir. 2013). In sum, the Court finds no reason to disturb its prior order. Lavespere, 910
F.2d at 185.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES the Douglases’ motion for reconsideration.
SIGNED: January 11, 2018.
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