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Coppedge v. Charlton

United States District Court, D. Delaware

October 2, 2019

JANET Z. CHARLTON, Respondent.


          Honorable Maryellen Noreika United States District Judge


         Presently before the Court are various motions for seeking a preliminary injunction against a foreclosure sale (D.I. 1, 5, 6) (together, “Emergency Motions”) filed by pro se movants James Coppedge and Krisha Coppedge (together, “Movants”). The Emergency Motions are filed in the above-captioned action, which, although styled as an appeal, appears to have been initiated solely to prevent a foreclosure sale scheduled for October 3, 2019, and not to review any decision of the Bankruptcy Court below. (See D.I. 1).

         The above-captioned proceeding is the fourth matter filed by one or more of the Movants and currently pending before this Court. See Coppedge v. Specialized Loan Servicing LLC, No. 19-12-MN; Coppedge v. Specialized Loan Servicing LLC, No. 19-13-MN; and Coppedge v. Michael B. Joseph, Chapter 13 Trustee, No. 19-713-MN. Those appeals concern various orders entered by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (“Delaware Bankruptcy Court”) in Mr. Coppedge's Chapter 13 case, captioned In re James Coppedge, Case No. 17-12341 (BLS) (Bankr. D. Del.). See No. 19-12-MN, D.I. 1 (appeal of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court's December 20, 2018 Order denying Coppedge's motion for reconsideration of a prior “Order Granting Motion to Strike Debtor's Motion for Default Judgment With Counterclaim and Awarding Fees”); No. 19-13-MN, D.I. 1 (appeal of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court's December 20, 2018 “Order Striking Notice of Default and Dishonor of SLS, LLC”); No. 19-713-MN, D.I. 1 (appeal of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court's April 4, 2019 Order denying Coppedge's Motion for Reconsideration of a prior “Order Striking Notice of Discharge”). Because Movants proceed pro se, the Court construes the pleadings liberally, and it will treat the Emergency Motions as motions for stay of the foreclosure sale pending Movants' appeals of the various orders entered by the Bankruptcy Court in the Chapter 13 case in connection with the property and foreclosure.

         Movants have named Janet Z. Charlton as respondent to the Emergency Motions (“Respondent”). Importantly, Ms. Charlton was not a party to any of these proceedings. The Court has considered the answering brief filed by Ms. Charlton (D.I. 17), along with Movants' replies in further support of the Emergency Motion (D.I. 19, 20, 21). The Court has also considered Movants' Motion for Extraordinary Emergency Relief (D.I. 22) and Motion for Extraordinary Stay (D.I. 23), which appear to seek substantially the same relief sought in the Emergency Motions.


         In 2011, U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee for Banc of America Funding Corporation (BAFC) 2007-3 (“U.S. Bank”) filed a foreclosure action against Movants in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware (“Superior Court”) with respect to the premises known as 52 Barkley Court, Dover, Delaware. At the time the complaint was filed, the mortgage had been in default since September 2008. (See D.I. 17-2 at Exh. 1 (“Complaint”)). Movants filed an Answer and Counterclaims, which did not deny that the mortgage was in default but rather asserted various incomprehensible arguments. Given that the defenses to mortgage foreclosure are limited, JPMorgan Chase Bank v. Hopkins, 2013 WL 5200250 at *2 (Del. Super. Sept. 12, 2013), U.S. Bank filed a Motion to Strike Answer and Dismiss Permissive Counterclaims and Grant Summary Judgment, which was granted. Movants were “barred from filing additional frivolous pleadings.” (D.I. 17-2 at Exh. 2).

         Movants appealed this ruling to the Delaware Supreme Court which affirmed the finding of the Superior Court that the Movants' “disjointed” and “unintelligible” pleadings were without merit. Coppedge v. U.S. Bank, N.A., No. 525, 2011 at 3, 4 (Del. 2011) (D.I. 17-2 at Exh. 3).

         Despite these final decrees, the Superior Court has had to deny the same types of pleadings filed by Movants, including motions to set aside the judgment (id. at Exh. 4) and stay the sale (id. at Exh. 5), motion to seal (id. at Exh. 6), motion to void judgment (id. at Exh. 7), and motion to reconsider (id. at Exh. 8). The Superior Court docket lists the numerous unmeritorious pleadings Movants have filed. (Id. at Exh. 9).

         Movants also filed bankruptcy petitions in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (“Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Court”), Case No. 16-15806 (see D.I. 17-2 at Exh. 10 (bankruptcy court docket) and two cases in the Delaware Bankruptcy Court, Case Nos. 13-11098 and 17-12341 (see Id. at Exh. 12), which were temporarily successful in staying the scheduling of a foreclosure sale but could not permanently stay enforcement actions. Motions for Relief from the Automatic Stay were granted in the Pennsylvania bankruptcy case (id. at Exh. 13) and in one of the Delaware bankruptcy cases (id. at Exh. 14). The other Delaware bankruptcy petition was dismissed. (See Id. at Exh. 15). Thereafter, Movants have filed five appeals to the District Court of the District of Delaware. (See id. at Exhs. 16-20 (dockets of the appeals)). Three of the most recent of these appeals have been briefed by the Appellee and are currently pending. The foreclosure sale is scheduled for October 3, 2019. Most recently, Movants have filed a Motion to Void Judgment and Fifth Pluries Lev Fae to stop the upcoming foreclosure sale in the Superior Court (see id. at Exh. 9, D.I. 123-128). Briefing on that matter is complete.

         The parties completed briefing on Movant's Emergency Motions on September 26, 2019. (See D.I. 5, 6, 17, 21). Movants have made numerous additional filings which are not in compliance with the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure or Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure or the briefing schedule in this case. (See D.I. 9, 12, 14, 18, 19, 20).[1] Because Movants proceed pro se, the Court construes these pleadings liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (“A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed.”) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court has therefore considered all of the papers filed by the parties in this appeal. The Court did not hear oral argument because the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record, and the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument.


         “A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.” Ferring Pharm., Inc. v. Watson Pharm., Inc., 765 F.3d 205, 210 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008)).[2] Preliminary injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy, which should be granted only in limited circumstances. Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. v. Johnson & Johnson-Merck Consumer Pharm. Co., 290 F.3d 578, 586 (3d Cir. 2002). “The relevant inquiry is whether the movant is in danger of suffering irreparable harm at the time the preliminary injunction is to be issued.” SJ Handling Sys., Inc. v. Heisley, 753 F.2d 1244, 1264 (3d Cir. 1985). “[F]ailure to establish any element in [a plaintiffs] favor renders a preliminary injunction inappropriate.” The Nutrasweet Co. v. Vit-Mar Enterprises, Inc., 176 F.3d 151, 153 (3d Cir. 1999).

         IV. ...

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