United States District Court, D. Colorado
A. BRIMMER, United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on that portion of the Motion for
Temporary Restraining Order and Request for Preliminary
Injunction with Notice to Defendants [Docket No. 133] filed
by plaintiff Nancy Haney that seeks a temporary restraining
case involves the foreclosure sale concerning real property
located in Salida, Colorado (the “property”).
Docket No. 1 at 16, ¶ 86. The District Court for the
County of Chaffee, Colorado authorized the sale of the
property on April 18, 2016, Docket No. 6 at 3, ¶ 11,
and, on May 4, 2016, Wilmington Savings Fund Society
(“Wilmington”) was the highest bidder at public
auction. Docket No. 1 at 37, ¶¶ 204-05. On May 24,
2016, the Public Trustee issued a confirmation deed to
Wilmington. Docket No. 69-8. On December 6, 2016, Wilmington
filed a complaint for forcible entry and detainer
(“FED”) with the Chaffee County Court. Docket No.
134-1. Plaintiff filed an answer and counterclaim against
Wilmington with respect to the FED. Docket No. 134-4. The
matter was transferred from the County Court to the District
Court, where it was docketed as Case No. 2016CV35.
See Docket No. 134-5. On January 31, 2017,
Magistrate Amanda Hunter conducted a hearing on possession.
Docket No. 134-10. At that hearing, the court orally ruled in
favor of Wilmington and determined that the eviction of Ms.
Haney was appropriate. Docket No. 134-11 at 11-12. On
February 15, 2017, the magistrate entered a writ of
restitution. Docket No. 134-16. On February 21, 2017 at 9:58
p.m. the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office posted a notice
to vacate on Ms. Haney's home, giving her 48 hours to
vacate the property. Docket No. 134-17.
present motion, plaintiff asks the Court to issue a temporary
restraining order staying the execution of the writ of
restitution, dated February 15, 2017, and restraining
defendant Wilmington from any further attempts to evict the
plaintiff from the property. Docket No. 133 at 1. The Court
declines to do so. In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37
(1971), the Supreme Court ruled that a district court's
injunction of a pending state court criminal prosecution
violated “the national policy forbidding federal courts
to stay or enjoin pending state court proceedings except
under special circumstances.” Id. at 41.
Younger abstention dictates “that federal
courts not interfere with state court proceedings by granting
equitable relief - such as injunctions of important state
proceedings or declaratory judgments regarding constitutional
issues in those proceedings - when such relief could
adequately be sought before the state court.”
Rienhardt v. Kelly, 164 F.3d 1296, 1302 (10th Cir.
1999). Thus, after Younger, even when a federal
court would otherwise have jurisdiction to grant equitable
relief, the court must abstain from exercising jurisdiction
when a judgment on the claim would interfere with ongoing
state criminal or civil proceedings. D.L. v. Unified Sch.
Dist., 392 F.3d 1223, 1227-28 (10th Cir. 2004).
Supreme Court has established a threefold analysis for
abstention under Younger. A federal court must
abstain if (1) there is an ongoing state judicial, civil, or
administrative proceeding, (2) which implicates important
state interests, and (3) in which there is an adequate
opportunity to raise constitutional challenges. Middlesex
Cty. Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457
U.S. 423, 431-32 (1982); Crown Point I, LLC v.
Intermountain Rural Elec. Ass'n, 319 F.3d 1211, 1215
(10th Cir. 2003). Younger abstention is not
discretionary and, if abstention applies, a court must
dismiss the claim without prejudice. D.L., 392 F.3d
the procedural posture of this matter, Younger
mandates the Court's abstention. As plaintiff
acknowledges, she “is required to, and will file a
petition to seek review of the magistrate's order with
the State District Court, which is due on or before March 8,
2017.” Docket No. 134 at 10. Plaintiff does not explain
why she could not seek emergency relief in the District
Court. With respect to the second prong of the
Younger analysis, the Supreme Court has held it to
be “beyond question” that ensuring the security
of titles to real estate is “an essential state
interest.” BFP v. Resolution Trust Corp., 511
U.S. 531, 544 (1994) (rejecting interpretation of bankruptcy
code provision that would place the “title of every
piece of realty purchased at foreclosure . . . under a
federally created cloud”); see also Beeler Props.,
LLC v. Lowe Enters. Residential Inv'rs, LLC, No.
07-cv-00149-MSK-MJW, 2007 WL 1346591, at *3 (D. Colo. May 7,
2007) (“Actions that challenge the Rule 120 order and
process are proceedings involving important state interests
concerning title to real property located and determined by
operation of state law”). As to the third prong,
plaintiff does not allege any facts or otherwise establish
that she would be unable to raise constitutional challenges
in defense of the foreclosure proceeding, and the Court finds
no basis for so concluding.
plaintiff's request for injunctive relief meets the three
prongs of the Younger analysis, abstention is
necessary unless (1) “the state proceeding is motivated
by a desire to harass or is conducted in bad faith”;
(2) the challenged statute is “flagrantly and patently
violative of express constitutional prohibitions in every
clause, sentence and paragraph, and in whatever manner and
against whomever an effort might be made to apply it”;
or (3) there are other extraordinary circumstances involving
irreparable injury. Moore v. Sims, 442 U.S. 415, 424
(1979) (internal citations and alterations omitted);
Younger, 401 U.S. at 53. Plaintiff has not
demonstrated that any of these circumstances is present in
this case. Because Younger mandates abstention as to
plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order,
the Court does not address the merits of plaintiff's
foregoing reasons, it is
that the portion of plaintiff Nancy Haney's Motion for
Temporary Restraining Order and Request for Preliminary
Injunction with Notice to Defendants [Docket No. ...