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Kapacs v. City of Minneapolis

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 1, 2017

Margot Kapacs, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Minneapolis, et al., Defendants.

          No appearance for Plaintiff.

          Burt Osborne for Defendants.

          ORDER AND REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

          FRANKLIN L. NOEL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on October 16, 2017, on Plaintiff Margot Kapacs' motions for a temporary restraining order (ECF No. 6), preliminary injunction (ECF No. 30), and for legal representation (ECF No. 41). This matter was referred to the undersigned for Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. See Order, ECF No. 16. For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction be DENIED, and the undersigned orders that Plaintiff's motion for legal representation is DENIED.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is the owner and operator of Minnehaha Lofts, LLC. See ECF No. 32 at 2. Minnehaha Lofts provides short-term, extended stay accommodations as a hotel alternative. See ECF No. 7, Ex. 4 at 1. In June 2015, Defendant City of Minneapolis (the “City”) revoked Plaintiff's rental license for a duplex property he owns, located at 3324 23rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, after Plaintiff allegedly failed to respond to the City's numerous attempts to inspect the property. See ECF No. 1 ¶ 10. In late 2015 and early 2016, the City denied Plaintiff's applications for rental licenses at other Minneapolis properties because a City rental ordinance, § 244.1910(13)(b), prohibits new rental license applications from being granted if an applicant had a license revoked within the preceding year. See generally ECF No. 1. On October 20, 2015, the Minnesota Court of Appeals concluded that Plaintiff failed to timely appeal the City's rental license revocation, and the revocation stood as final. See ECF No. 54 at 50.

         Plaintiff then filed suit in the Hennepin County, Minnesota, District Court, challenging, inter alia, the constitutionality of a City rental ordinance, § 244.1840(3). On November 30, 2015, the Hennepin County District Court dismissed all, but one of Plaintiff's claims. See Id. at 28. On August 31, 2016, the Hennepin County District Court dismissed Plaintiff's remaining claim. See Id. at 32.

         Plaintiff then filed several appeals before the Minnesota Court of Appeals, contesting the City's rental license revocation, the City's denial of his rental application for a property, located at 5420 44th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Hennepin County District Court's dismissal of his claims. See Id. at 34; see generally ECF No. 40, Exs. 2, 3. However, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the City's rental license revocation, application denial, and the Hennepin County District Court's dismissal of his claims. See generally ECF No. 40, Exs. 2, 3. In addition to state court litigation, Plaintiff has filed multiple suits, either active or dismissed, in the District of Minnesota, seeking federal review of Plaintiff's myriad state court claims stemming from the City's rental license revocation and application denial, see e.g., Kapacs v. City of Minneapolis Regulatory Service, et al., 16-cv-2540 (PJS/BRT), and his divorce. See e.g., Kapacs v. State of Minnesota, et al., 17-cv-3615 (WMW/HB).

         On June 27, 2017, Plaintiff commenced this action, raising claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1961, l8 U.S.C. § 1621, and l8 U.S.C. § 1623, alleging violations of his Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments rights. See generally ECF No. 1. In the instant motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, Plaintiff “requests to stay the enforcement of the [C]ity's decision revoking the rental license [for the 3324 23rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, property] . . . until the merits of this lawsuit may be decided.” ECF No. 31 at 1.

         Defendants oppose the request, arguing that the particular injunctive relief Plaintiff seeks is barred “under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and . . . by res judicata” and “Plaintiff cannot establish irreparable harm or show a likelihood of success on the merits.” ECF No. 36 at 3.[1]

         Plaintiff also requests appointment of counsel because, primarily, he is financially exhausted and English is his second language. See generally ECF No. 42. Plaintiff also argues that courts are increasingly appointing counsel in cases, such as here, in which there is a potential property interest deprivation. See Id. at 8. Defendants oppose Plaintiff's request for appointment of counsel, arguing that Plaintiff is a serial litigant that the Court should avoid allocating resources for in this “frivolous” suit. ECF No. 52 at 2.

         II. MOTIONS FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION (ECF Nos. 6, 30)

         The Court may grant a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction only upon the movant's proper showing: (1) that it will suffer irreparable harm absent the injunction; (2) of a probability of success on the merits; (3) that the balance of harm favors the injunctive relief sought; and (4) that the public interest favors granting injunctive relief. See Dataphase Systems, Inc. v. C L Systems, Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 113-14 (8th Cir.1981) (en banc); see e.g., Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Filipas, Civil No. 07-4803 (JNE/JJG), 2008 WL 251872 at *1, n.1 (D. Minn. Jan. 30, 2008) (reasoning that the Dataphase factors ordinarily apply to both requests for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction); see also Aune v. Ludeman, Civil No. 09-15 (JNE/SRN), 2009 WL 1586739, at *2 (D. Minn. June 3, 2009). The movant carries the burden of proof for each Dataphase factor. See Gelco v. Coniston Partners, 811 F.2d 414, 418 (8th Cir.1987).“It frequently is observed that a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997). The Court concludes that the balance of factors here do not favor Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief.

         A. ...


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