United States District Court, D. Nebraska
DAVID L. SCHNUELLE, Borrower, Plaintiff,
MIDSTATES BANK, N.A., et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. Gerrard Chief United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the plaintiff's motion for
"Emergency Injunctive Relief" (filing 25). That
motion will be denied, for two reasons.
the plaintiff is specifically asking the Court to enjoin
pending state court proceedings. Filing 25. But the
Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2283, "broadly
commands that [state] tribunals shall remain free from
interference by federal courts." Smith v. Bayer
Corp., 564 U.S. 299, 306. That edict is subject to only
three "specifically defined exceptions" which are
"narrow and not to be enlarged by loose statutory
construction." Id. (cleaned up). "Indeed,
any doubts as to the propriety of a federal injunction
against state court proceedings should be resolved in favor
of permitting the state courts to proceed." Id.
the Anti-Injunction Act's three exceptions allow a
federal court to enjoin a state proceeding only "as
expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary
in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its
judgments." § 2283; see Nat'l
Basketball Ass'n v. Minnesota Prof'l Basketball, Ltd.
P'ship, 56 F.3d 866, 871 (8th Cir. 1995). The only
even vaguely colorable argument here is that an injunction is
necessary in aid of the Court's jurisdiction, because the
plaintiff's complaint (at least purportedly) relies upon
"a federal court does not have inherent power to ignore
the limitations of § 2283 and to enjoin state court
proceedings merely because those proceedings interfere with a
protected federal right or invade an area preempted by
federal law, even when the interference is unmistakably
clear." Atl. Coast Line R. Co. v. Bhd. of Locomotive
Engineers, 398 U.S. 281, 295 (1970). And here, although
the Court might have jurisdiction over the
plaintiff's federal claims, there is no reason to believe
that those federal claims could not be asserted in state
court-and if the state and federal courts have concurrent
jurisdiction, neither court may prevent a party from pursuing
claims in both courts. See id. The plaintiff is free
to litigate in the state trial courts, seek relief from the
state appellate courts, and if necessary from the Supreme
Court as well. But this Court cannot enjoin those
and more fundamentally-even if injunctive relief wasn't
barred here, it wouldn't be warranted. The propriety of
preliminary injunctive relief is determined by weighing the
threat of irreparable harm to the movant, the balance of
harms, the movant's likelihood of success on the merits,
and the public interest. McKinney ex rel. NLRB v. S.
Bakeries, LLC, 786 F.3d 1119, 1122-23 (8th Cir. 2015)
(citing Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. C L Sys., Inc., 640
F.2d 109, 113 (8th Cir. 1981) (en banc)). A preliminary
injunction is an extraordinary remedy, and the movant bears
the burden of establishing its propriety. Roudachevski v.
All-Am. Care Centers, Inc., 648 F.3d 701, 705 (8th Cir.
2011); see also Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council,
Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). But in this case,
there's neither a showing of irreparable harm nor any
likelihood of success on the merits.
begin with, a preliminary injunction cannot issue without a
showing of irreparable harm. Dataphase, 640 F.2d at
114 n.9. To show a threat of irreparable harm, the movant
must show that the harm is certain and great and of such
imminence that there is a clear and present need for
equitable relief. Roudachevski, 648 F.3d at 706.
Stated differently, the harm "must be actual and not
theoretical." Brady v. Nat'l Football
League, 640 F.3d 785, 794 (8th Cir. 2011). And harm is
not irreparable when a party can be fully compensated for its
injuries through an award of damages. Gen. Motors Corp.
v. Harry Brown's, LLC, 563 F.3d 312, 319 (8th Cir.
2009). While the plaintiff's motion refers to losing
property, such an injury could presumably be made whole with
money damages. It's the movant's burden to
"demonstrate that irreparable injury is likely
in the absence of an injunction[, ]" Winter,
555 U.S. at 22 (emphasis in original), and he hasn't made
that showing here.
the Court finds no likelihood of success on the merits of the
plaintiff's claims-which is the most significant factor
in deciding whether to grant a preliminary injunction.
Laclede Gas Co. v. St. Charles Cty., 713 F.3d 413,
419-20 (8th Cir. 2013). The plaintiff's motion (filing
25) does not address the merits of his claims, but the Court
has examined the plaintiff's complaint (filing 1), and
finds it lacking. To the extent that anything he has filed
presents a cognizable legal theory, it is based on
allegations of "bookkeeping entry credit" that
attacks the legality of the Federal Reserve System.
Seefiling 1-2. But Congress has the constitutional
power to declare what is legal tender, and federal reserve
notes are. The Legal Tender Cases, 110 U.S. 421, 450
(1884); see Guar. Tr. Co. of New York v.
Henwood, 307 U.S. 247, 259 (1939); 31 U.S.C. §
5103; United States v. Rifen, 577 F.2d 1111, 1112
(8th Cir. 1978); see also Horne v. Fed. Reserve Bank of
Minneapolis, 344 F.2d 725, 729 (8th Cir. 1965); In
re Yuska, 571 B.R. 424, 428 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa 2017).
More generally, the plaintiffs allegations appear to be
premised on the defendants' failure to provide him with
"proof of claim" upon his demand that the
defendants justify the legality of the Federal Reserve
System-but the plaintiff has identified no legal basis for
his demand in the first place.
short, the plaintiffs claims seem to be premised entirely on
conspiracy theories that have no sound legal basis. Even if
the injunction the plaintiff asks for was lawful, his
allegations provide no basis for injunctive relief.
ORDERED that the plaintiffs motion for "Emergency
Injunctive Relief (filing 25) is denied.
 The "expressly-authorized"
exception applies only "where the statute in question
creates a federal right or remedy that can only be given its
intended scope by such an injunction," see In re
BankAmerica Corp. Sec. Litig.,263 F.3d 795, 801 (8th
Cir. 2001), and there is no preexisting federal judgment here
to "protect or effectuate," see Jones v. St.