United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND A PRELIMINARY
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge.
are currently engaged in litigation to compel various federal
entities to recognize them as an American Indian tribe.
Plaintiffs now seek a temporary restraining order, followed
by a preliminary injunction, barring an election to amend the
constitution of a different tribe, because Plaintiffs assert
the amendments would impair their rights. Because Plaintiffs
fail to demonstrate an irreparable injury, neither a
temporary restraining order nor a preliminary injunction is
are several individuals and the Mdewakanton Sioux Indians of
Minnesota, which they allege is an American Indian tribe to
which they belong. Compl. at 2, ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs brought
suit in this Court to compel the United States defendants
“to acknowledge [the tribe's] existence and to
enjoin the United States from continuing arbitrary decisions
without informing the [tribe] that have the consequence of
adversely affecting the rights or potential rights of the
[tribe].” Compl. at 2. Defendants moved to dismiss the
complaint on several grounds, see generally Fed.
Defs.' Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 10, and that motion remains
now seek a temporary restraining order, followed by a
preliminary injunction, to stop the June 14, 2017 Secretarial
election of the Prairie Island Indian
Community. See generally Pl.'s Mem.
Supp. Mot. Temp. Restraining Order & Prelim. Inj.
(Pl.'s Mot.), ECF No. 17. Plaintiffs assert that the
amendments to the Prairie Island Indian Community's
constitution at issue in the election would impair
Plaintiffs' tribal rights. Pl.'s Mot. at 7-9; see
also Pl.'s Mot. at 3 (asserting that the proposed
amendments, if passed, would “effectively terminate
[Plaintiffs' tribe] without congressional Act”).
injunctive relief, whether in the form of a temporary
restraining order or a preliminary injunction, provides an
‘extraordinary remedy' that is ‘never awarded
as of right.'” Paleteria La Michoacana, Inc. v.
Productos Lacteos Tocumbo S.A. de C.V., 901 F.Supp.2d
54, 55-56 (D.D.C. 2012) (quoting Winter v. Nat. Res. Def.
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008)). Because a
temporary restraining order is “an extraordinary and
drastic remedy, ” it should not be granted
“unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the
burden of persuasion.” Nat'l Head
Start Ass'n v. Dep't of Health & Human
Servs., 297 F.Supp.2d 242, 246 (D.D.C. 2004) (quoting
Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997)).
order to receive preliminary injunctive relief, the movant
must demonstrate “(1) that it has a strong likelihood
of success on the merits, (2) that it will suffer irreparable
injury if injunctive relief is denied, (3) that other
interested parties will not suffer substantial harm if
injunctive relief is granted, and (4) that the public
interest favors the granting of injunctive relief, (or at
least, that the granting of injunctive relief is not adverse
to the public interest).” Paleteria La
Michoacana, 901 F.Supp.2d at 56 (citing Wash. Metro.
Area Transit Comm'n v. Holiday Tours, Inc., 559 F.2d
841, 843 (D.C. Cir. 1977) and Federation Internationale
de Football Ass'n v. Nike, Inc., 285 F.Supp.2d 64,
68 (D.D.C. 2003)).
of how the other three factors are analyzed,  it is required
that the movant demonstrate an irreparable injury. See,
e.g., Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches v.
England, 454 F.3d 290, 297 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (“A
movant's failure to show any irreparable harm is
therefore grounds for refusing to issue a preliminary
injunction, even if the other three factors entering the
calculus merit such relief.”).
Court considers if Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they
will suffer an irreparable harm absent the issuance of a
temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction, and
concludes that they have not. Because showing an irreparable
injury is mandatory, the Court does not consider the
motion devotes only a single paragraph to discussing the
irreparable injury requirement. Pl.'s Mot. at 43-44.
Plaintiffs argue that preliminary injunctive relief is
necessary to avoid increased litigation expenses,
Due to the actions of the federal guardian leaving the
[Plaintiffs] without resources, the cost of the litigation is
being borne by the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs' resources
are limited. If the Plaintiffs' resources are exhausted
by litigation expense, the litigation will end-an irreparable
injury. Preserving the legal status quo reduces the cost of