United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
REIDINGER JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court upon the Plaintiff's Motion
for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction
January 5, 2018, the Plaintiff Sheila Fender initiated this
action against Biltmore Forest Country Club, Inc.
(“BFCC”) and several Doe Defendants, alleging
violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 201 et seq. (“FLSA”), and the North
Carolina Wage and Hour Act, N.C. Gen. Stat. §§
95-25.1, et seq. (“NCWHA”). [Doc. 1-2]. On
February 20, 2018, BFCC removed the action to this Court
based on the existence of federal question jurisdiction.
[Doc. 1]. On May 11, 2018, the Plaintiff filed an Amended
Complaint, asserting additional claims of retaliation based
upon events that occurred after the filing of the original
Complaint. [Doc. 15].
p.m. on Friday, May 18, 2018, the Plaintiff filed the present
motion seeking the immediate issuance of a temporary
restraining order and a preliminary injunction enjoining BFCC
from engaging in any further acts of retaliation against the
Plaintiff, including among other things, terminating and/or
threatening to terminate her employment. The Plaintiff states
that BFCC has indicated through its counsel that BFCC may
deliver notice of termination as soon as Monday, May 21,
2018. [Doc. 16].
STANDARD OF REVIEW
plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must demonstrate
that (1) she is likely to succeed on the merits, (2) she is
likely to suffer irreparable harm absent injunctive relief,
(3) the balance of equities tips in her favor, and (4) the
injunction would be in the public interest. Winter v.
Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008).
“A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy
never awarded as of right.” Id. at 24. Thus,
in each case the Court “must balance the competing
claims of injury and must consider the effect on each party
of the granting or withholding of the requested
relief.” Amoco Prod. Co. v. Village of
Gambell, 480 U.S. 531, 542 (1987). The same standards
apply to a temporary restraining order, except taking into
account the ex parte and emergency nature of the request.
Ultimately, a plaintiff's entitlement to preliminary
injunctive relief is a matter of discretion with the Court.
See Metropolitan Reg'l Info. Sys., Inc. v. American
Home Realty Network, Inc., 722 F.3d 591, 595 (4th Cir.
motion, the Plaintiff requests that the Court enjoin BFCC
from engaging in any further acts of retaliation against her
in violation of the FLSA, including terminating and/or
threatening to terminate her employment. [Doc. 16 at 1]. The
Plaintiff contends that the failure to enjoin further
retaliatory activity will affect the future of her employment
with BFCC, and may also affect the willingness of other
employees to testify in the Plaintiff's favor out of fear
of termination or other disciplinary repercussions.
potential termination of the Plaintiff's employment does
not constitute irreparable injury because any such injury, if
it occurs, can be remedied fully by the award of money
damages, and if appropriate, reinstatement and back pay.
Hughes Network Sys., Inc. v. Inter Digital Commc'ns
Corp., 17 F.3d 691, 694 (4th Cir. 1994) (“Where
the harm suffered by the moving party may be compensated by
an award of money damages at judgment, courts generally have
refused to find that harm irreparable.”); Ahmad v.
Long Island Univ., 18 F.Supp.2d 245, 249 (E.D.N.Y. 1998)
(denying preliminary injunctive relief on the grounds that
termination of plaintiff's employment may be remedied by
money damages and therefore does not in and of itself
constitute irreparable injury).
the Plaintiff's contention that a failure to enjoin BFCC
would have an overall chilling effect on the willingness of
witnesses to come forward, the Plaintiff offers no evidence
in support of this contention. The Plaintiff's
speculation that other employees might be deterred from
testifying in her favor is simply insufficient to demonstrate
the likelihood of irreparable harm necessary to establish
entitlement to the extraordinary remedy of preliminary
injunctive relief. See M.A.B. v. Board of Educ. of Talbot
County, 286 F.Supp.3d 704, 726 (D. Md. 2018) (noting
that irreparable harm cannot be “remote or
speculative”) (citation and internal quotation marks
omitted). Moreover, the Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate
how the requested injunctive remedy would eliminate the risk
of any such chilling effect. See Shady v. Tyson, 5
F.Supp.2d 102, 108 (E.D.N.Y. 1998) (“Given that the
source of any ‘chill' on the First Amendment rights
of either plaintiff or other employees is the permanent loss
of plaintiff's job, the interim injunctive relief
plaintiff seeks in his instant motion will do nothing to thaw
that chill.”) (citation and internal quotation marks
these reasons, the Plaintiffs motion for a preliminary
injunction is denied.
IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that the Plaintiffs Motion
for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary ...