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Peltier v. Mathis

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

July 9, 2015

BRIAN E. PELTIER, Plaintiff,


MAX O. COGBURN, Jr., District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the court on plaintiff's pro se request Complaint [hereinafter "motion"] for a Temporary Restraining Order (#3) (hereinafter "TRO"), which is supported by a separate Memorandum of Law. The court has promptly reviewed plaintiff's request for a TRO and considered not only his memorandum, but the exhibits he has annexed to his motion. For the reasons that follow, the court will deny the request for a TRO without prejudice as to considering his request for Preliminary Injunction at an appropriate time after defendants have been served and issues have joined.


Applications for issuance of a TRO are procedurally governed by Rule 65(b), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides as follows:

The court may issue a temporary restraining order without written or oral notice to the adverse party or its attorney only if:
(A) specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in opposition; and
(B) the movant's attorney certifies in writing any efforts made to give notice and the reasons why it should not be required.

Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b). In considering the issuance of TRO, the court has also considered current case law governing the issuance of such relief:

Prior to the Winter [ Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7 (2008)] decision, in the Fourth Circuit, preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders were governed by the standard articulated in Blackwelder Furniture Co. of Statesville v. Seilig Manufacturing Co., 550 F.2d 189 (4th Cir.1977). In Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v. Federal Election Com'n, 575 F.3d 342 (4th Cir. August 5, 2009), the Fourth Circuit concluded that the Blackwelder test stood in "fatal tension with the Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Winter. " Id. at 346. In keeping with Winter, the Fourth Circuit found that first, a plaintiff must now show that he will "likely succeed on the merits" regardless of whether the balance of hardships weighs in his favor. Id. at 346. Also, the likelihood of success on the merits requires more than simply showing that "grave or serious questions are presented." Id. at 347. Second, the plaintiff must make a clear showing that he will likely be irreparably harmed absent preliminary relief. Id. That the plaintiff's harm might simply outweigh the defendant's harm is no longer sufficient. Id. The showing of irreparable injury is mandatory even if the plaintiff has already demonstrated a strong showing on the probability of success on the merits. Id. Third, the Court is admonished to give "particular regard" to the "public consequences" of any relief granted. Id. Finally, there no longer exists any flexible interplay between the factors, because all four elements of the test must be satisfied. Id.

White v. Miller, 2011 WL 1168045, 2 (D.S.C. Mar. 7, 2011).[1]


The court has closely read the Complaint and plaintiff's brief. In essence, plaintiff asks this court to restrain defendants from airing (and perhaps, re-airing) an episode or segment of the Judge Mathis Show in which he participated as a "litigant." Plaintiff contends that after filing a small claim seeking money damages in the North Carolina General Court of Justice against a former girlfriend, he was solicited by the show's producers to come to Chicago and have that dispute resolved by defendant Gregory Mathis (hereinafter "Judge Mathis").

Plaintiff contends that he was tricked into going to Chicago and participating in the program inasmuch as: (1) the producers failed to disclose the terms of the binding arbitration agreement and other contracts until he arrived in Chicago; (2) after his arrival in Chicago, he was told for the first time that if he did not participate he would be responsible for his own travel costs; and (3) when he did participate in the program, Defendant Mathis failed to consider evidence and made on-the-air statements about plaintiff which were untrue and derogatory. In addition, plaintiff contends that he suffers from a number of mental, emotional, and physical illnesses which made it impossible for him to render lawful consent to either participate in the program or have his claim resolved in that ...

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