United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY J. KELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case, originally filed in 2009, Plaintiff Vincent Roggio
asserts claims sounding in contract and tort against the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”),
in its capacity as Receiver for Washington Mutual Bank
(“WaMu”). At the request of the parties, the
Court stayed the proceeding for many years. In March 2014,
the Court ordered the case administratively closed, but gave
leave for either party to reopen it upon notice to the other.
In February 2018, Roggio, proceeding pro se,
reopened it. Currently before the Court is Roggio's
“emergency” motion to stay the upcoming
foreclosure sale of a property he owns. The Court construes
the motion as one seeking a preliminary injunction. Because
the relief Roggio seeks is barred by the Anti-Injunction Act,
his motion is DENIED.
2006, WaMu initiated a pair of actions in New Jersey Chancery
Court to foreclose on two of Roggio's properties. Compl.
¶ 18; see also Opp. at 2. As part of those
proceedings, Roggio and WaMu entered into a settlement on or
around January 25, 2007 (the “Settlement”),
whereby Roggio agreed to waive his affirmative defenses and
counterclaims if WaMu undertook actions to retract derogatory
credit reporting about him that it had provided to credit
rating bureaus. Compl. ¶ 19; see also Opp. at
2. On March 4, 2008, the New Jersey Chancery Court entered a
final judgment against Roggio in one of the foreclosure
actions. Opp. at 3. According to Roggio, WaMu took far too
long (until November 2008) to correct his credit information
and by then, his real estate business, which relied heavily
on leverage and good credit, had been destroyed. Compl.
¶¶ 8, 16, 20-22. Roggio filed a motion in New
Jersey Chancery Court to declare WaMu in breach of the
Settlement, but his motion was denied. Opp. at 2-3. He then
moved the court to reconsider, again to no avail.
Id. at 3.
September 25, 2008, the FDIC was appointed Receiver of WaMu.
Compl. ¶ 23. In September 2009, Roggio filed the instant
case against the FDIC. The complaint asserts a number of
causes of action for WaMu's alleged failure to abide by
the terms of the Settlement. Id. ¶¶ 27-54.
For many years, the case was repeatedly stayed at the request
of both parties. On March 4, 2014, the Court entered a minute
order directing the Clerk to administratively close the case,
but noted that it would be “reinstated upon notice by
August 2017, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as successor to WaMu,
filed an amended complaint in the second foreclosure action
against Roggio in New Jersey Chancery Court, which relates to
his property located at 140 Rumson Road in Rumson, New Jersey
(the “Property”). Opp. at 3. On February 16,
2018, it appears that the court granted final judgment
against Roggio, over his objection. Id. Roggio
subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration, which was
denied. Id. The Property was originally slated to be
sold at a sheriff's sale on May 21, 2018, ECF No. 38-3,
but according to Roggio, he received a two-week adjournment
of the sale, which is now set to occur on or around June 4,
March 22, 2018, Roggio filed a motion that requested, in
relevant part, that the Court declare the New Jersey Chancery
Court's February 16, 2018 judgment void, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(4). ECF No. 29. The
Court denied that motion on the ground that Rule 60(b)(4)
does not permit a federal court to declare a state court
judgment void. ECF No. 39.
April 24, 2018, Roggio filed the instant motion, which is
styled as an “Emergen[cy] Motion to Stay the Imminent
Sale of the Rumson Property on May 28, 2018 By a State Court
Without Personal or Subject Matter Jurisdiction and in
Violation of the Explicit and Implicit Language of Congress
Under the Supremacy Clause of the United States.”
See Mot. Roggio's primary argument is similar to
the one he made in his March 22 motion previously denied by
the Court: he asserts that the New Jersey Chancery Court lost
jurisdiction over both foreclosure actions against him in
September 2008 when the FDIC became the Receiver of WaMu.
See Id. at 4-9. Specifically, Roggio argues that the
Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act
of 1989 (“FIRREA”), 12 U.S.C. § 3331 et
seq., strips courts of jurisdiction over claims that
have not gone through the FDIC's claims process. Mot. at
6 (citing 12 U.S.C. § 1821(d)(13)(D)); see also
Opp. at 5. Roggio also raises a number of other arguments in
his motion, including that (1) WaMu breached the Settlement
Agreement, (2) he is entitled to a jury trial in this Court,
and (3) the state court judgments are void because WaMu is no
longer a legal entity. Mot. at 9-17. By way of relief, Roggio
requests that this Court “stay the imminent sale”
of the Property. Id. at 17.
response, the FDIC argues that FIRREA's jurisdiction only
covers claims brought by borrowers against a failed
financial institution (or its receiver), not in rem
proceedings that were previously initiated by a
financial institution against a borrower. Opp. at 5. The FDIC
also argues that this Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction
under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Id. at
Roggio styled his request for relief as a “stay”
of the upcoming sale of his property, Mot. at 17, as a
practical matter he requests that this Court issue a
preliminary injunction prohibiting the foreclosure sale from
proceeding. See Grynberg v. BP P.L.C., 643 F.Supp.2d
1, 2 (D.D.C. 2009) (“Plaintiffs style this action as a
‘stay pending appeal, ' but there is nothing to
stay-no order of this Court is challenged. Rather, this is, .
. . a request for injunction.”). Therefore, on May 11,
2018, the Court issued a minute order informing the parties
that it construed Roggio's motion as a request for a
preliminary injunction, setting a telephonic hearing date,
and requesting that the parties be prepared to discuss, among
other things, the applicability of the Anti-Injunction Act,
28 U.S.C. § 2283. On May 15, the Court held the hearing.
The Court subsequently granted the parties leave to file
short supplemental briefs on additional issues raised during
the hearing. Minute Orders of May 15 and 17, 2018.
preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy that
may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff
is entitled to such relief.” Winter v. Nat. Res.
Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). To warrant a
preliminary injunction, the plaintiff must establish that:
(1) he is “likely to succeed on the merits”; (2)
he is “likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence
of preliminary relief; (3) that the “balance of
equities” tips in his favor; and (4) that “an
injunction is in the public interest.” Id. at
20. The plaintiff “bear[s] the burdens of production
and persuasion” when moving for a preliminary
injunction. Qualls v. Rumsfeld, 357 F.Supp.2d 274,
281 (D.D.C. 2005) (citing Cobell v. Norton, 391 F.3d
251, 258 (D.C. Cir. 2004)).
threshold matter, the Court must evaluate whether it has the
authority to grant a preliminary injunction to prevent the
upcoming foreclosure sale. Although the FDIC did not raise
this argument in its opposition, Opp., the Court concludes
that the Anti-Injunction Act prohibits the Court from
Anti-Injunction Act provides that “[a] court of the
United States may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings
in a State court except as expressly authorized by Act of
Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or
to protect or effectuate its judgments.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2283. “[T]he exceptions are narrow and are
‘not [to] be enlarged by loose statutory
construction.'” Chick Kam Choo v. Exxon
Corp., 486 U.S. 140, 146 (1988) (second alteration in
original) (quoting Atl. Coast Line R.R. Co. v. Bhd. of
Locomotive Eng'rs, 398 U.S. 281, 287 (1970)).
“Any doubts as to the propriety of a federal injunction
against state ...