United States District Court, D. Maryland
FAITH E. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE, Defendant.
Lipton Hollander United States District Judge.
plaintiff Faith Williams filed suit against Wells Fargo Home
Mortgage (“Wells Fargo”), alleging that
“Wells Fargo is not acting in GOOD FAITH according to
the United States Constitution.” ECF 1
(“Complaint”) at 4 (capitals in original).
Williams avers that Wells Fargo “deceptively
discharged” her “modification”
(id. at 5), which I assume to mean a modification of
a mortgage. Further, Williams asserts that Wells Fargo is
“trying to take [her] home unjustly”, and that
Wells Fargo “changed [her] mortgage without [her]
permission back in 2014.” Id. at 9.
with the Complaint, plaintiff filed a Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order (ECF 3) (the “TRO Motion”),
asking the Court to “stop the sale date of”
plaintiff's home, which is allegedly scheduled for April
5, 2018, “until such time as [plaintiff's] lawsuit
has been resolved.” Id. at 2. Plaintiff has
also filed a motion asking for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis (“IFP”). ECF 2.
Memorandum resolves only the TRO Motion, and no hearing is
necessary to do so. See Local Rule 105.6. The
sufficiency of the Complaint and the IFP Motion is the
subject of a separate Order. In resolving the TRO Motion, the
Court is mindful of its obligation to construe liberally the
filings of a pro se litigant, which are held to less
stringent standards than submissions drafted by attorneys.
See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007);
see also White v. White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-23 (4th
Cir. 1989). Nevertheless, for the reasons that follow, I
shall deny the TRO Motion, without prejudice.
same analysis governs both a motion for preliminary
injunction and a request for temporary restraining order.
See Hoechst Diafoil Co. v. Nan Ya Plastics Corp.,
174 F.3d 411, 422 (4th Cir. 1999). Therefore, in my
discussion of the TRO Motion, I shall refer to cases
addressing preliminary injunctions.
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never
awarded as of right.” Winter v. Natural Res. Def.
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008) (citing Munaf
v. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 689-90 (2008)); Real Truth
About Obama, Inc. v. Fed. Election Comm'n, 575 F.3d
342, 345 (4th Cir. 2009), vacated on other grounds and
remanded, 559 U.S. 1089 (2010), reaff'd in part
and remanded, 607 F.3d 355 (4th Cir. 2010). Rather, a
preliminary injunction is “‘granted only
sparingly and in limited circumstances.'” Micro
Strategy, Inc. v. Motorola, Inc., 245 F.3d 335, 339 (4th
Cir. 2001) (quoting Direx Israel, Ltd. v. Breakthrough
Med. Corp., 952 F.2d 802, 816 (4th Cir. 1991)).
“[a] plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must
establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he
is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of
preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his
favor, and that an injunction is in the public
interest.” Winter, 555 U.S. at 20 (citing
Munaf v. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 689-90 (2008);
Amoco Prod Co. v. Gambell, 480 U.S. 531, 542 (1987);
and Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456 U.S. 305,
311-12 (1982)); see also Real Truth About Obama, 575
F.3d at 345 (applying the standard for preliminary
injunctions set forth in Winter). A preliminary
injunction cannot be issued unless all four of these elements
are met, and “‘[p]laintiff bears the burden of
establishing that each of these factors supports granting the
injunction.'” Direx Israel, 952 F.2d at
812 (quoting Tech. Publ'g Co. v. Lebhar-Friedman,
Inc., 729 F.2d 1136, 1139 (7th Cir. 1984); Shaffer
v. Globe Prod, Inc., 721 F.2d 1121, 1123 (7th Cir.
has not demonstrated that she is likely to succeed on the
merits of her claim. In her Complaint, she baldly asserts
that Wells Fargo is “trying to take” her home
“unjustly” and in bad faith. ECF 1 at 9.
Additionally, she avers that Wells Fargo altered her mortgage
in 2014, without her permission. Id. As indicated,
plaintiff's TRO Motion asks the Court to enjoin the sale
of her home until her lawsuit has been resolved. ECF 3 at 2.
Neither the Complaint nor the TRO Motion suggests that
plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of her claim.
Cf. Williams v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, RDB-16-312,
2016 WL 509426, at *3 (D. Md. Feb. 4, 2016) (Hollander, J.,
as Chambers Judge) (concluding that the plaintiffs had failed
to show a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim
with respect to a TRO motion asking the Court to enjoin a
foreclosure and eviction action).
plaintiff cannot pursue a suit in federal court unless the
Court has subject matter jurisdiction. Federal question
jurisdiction is established by 28 U.S.C. § 1331, which
states, id. (emphasis added): “The district
courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions
arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
noted, the Complaint alleges that Wells Fargo “is not
acting in GOOD FAITH according to the United States
Constitution.” ECF 1 at 4 (capitals in original).
Although plaintiff avers that her claim arises under federal
question jurisdiction (ECF 1 at 4), the Complaint does not
clearly establish jurisdiction.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and “may not
exercise jurisdiction absent a statutory basis.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545
U.S. 546, 552 (2005). Without jurisdiction of course,
plaintiff is not likely succeed on the merits.
the “well-pleaded complaint” rule, facts showing
the existence of subject matter jurisdiction “must be
affirmatively alleged in the complaint.” Pinkley,
Inc. v. City of Frederick, 191 F.3d 394, 399 (4th Cir.
1999) (citing McNutt v. Gen'l Motors Acceptance
Corp., 298 U.S. 178 (1936)). Put another way,
“before a federal court can decide the merits of a
claim, the claim must invoke the jurisdiction of the
court.” Miller v. Brown, 462 F.3d 312, 316
(4th Cir. 2006). This means that “a claim of federal
question jurisdiction is to be resolved on the basis of the
allegations of the complaint itself.” Burgess v.
Charlottesville Sav. & Loan Assoc., 477 F.2d 40, 43
(4th Cir. 1973). Therefore, a complaint must contain