United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court upon the Motion (ECF DKT #2) of
Plaintiff Nadine Bechtel for Temporary Restraining Order. For
the following reasons, the Motion is denied.
20, 2019, Plaintiff Nadine Bechtel filed a Verified Complaint
alleging violation of her rights under the First, Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution by
Defendants, City of Eastlake, Ohio and Judson Hawkins, in his
on May 2, 2019, the City of Eastlake and the Lake Humane
Society executed a search and seizure warrant at 36370 Vine
Street, Eastlake, Ohio. The warrant authorized “any
humane agent or other Law Enforcement Officer of Lake County,
Ohio” to search and seize property including live
animals. (Plaintiff did not provide a copy of the warrant).
An organization named “Animal Rescue Center”
operates an animal rescue at the Vine Street address. Among
the animals seized was Plaintiff's cat “Prince
3, 2019 at 8:00 a.m., a probable cause hearing was held in
the Willoughby Municipal Court (In re: 36370 Vine
Street, No. 19MIS00001). Two private attorneys employed
by the Lake Humane Society, Jeffrey Holland and DanaMarie
Pannella, appeared as prosecutors pursuant to R.C. §
2931.18. The Lake Humane Society is a not-for-profit
corporation organized under R.C. §1717.05 and
headquartered in Lake County, Ohio. (Plaintiff's Verified
Complaint, ECF DKT #1 at ¶¶ 18-19).
alleges that Defendants seized her property without affording
her due process of law, barred access to the courts to obtain
relief and unreasonably seized her property. Plaintiff
further alleges that Defendants illegally delegated the
mandated duties and obligations of the City of Eastlake
Prosecutor Judson Hawkins to criminally prosecute crimes
occurring in the City of Eastlake to private attorneys
employed by private corporations that have no humane agent
employed by said corporation.
seeks an order immediately enjoining Defendants from
illegally delegating criminal prosecutions to private persons
LAW AND ANALYSIS
relief is an extraordinary remedy and is issued cautiously
and sparingly. See Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456
U.S. 305, 312-313 (1982).
factors must be considered when deciding whether to grant an
injunction: (1) whether the movant has a strong likelihood of
success on the merits; (2) whether there is a threat of
irreparable harm to the movant; (3) whether others will
suffer substantial harm as a result of the injunction, should
it issue; and (4) whether the public interest will be served
by the injunction. See Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and
Museum, Inc. v. Gentile Prods., 134 F.3d 749,
753 (6th Cir. 1998); Vittitow v. Upper Arlington, 43
F.3d 1100, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995) (the four factors are
“not prerequisites to be met, but factors to be
balanced.”); D.B. v. Lafon, 2007 U.S. App.
LEXIS 3886 (6th Cir. 2007). While no single factor will be
determinative as to the appropriateness of the equitable
relief sought, (In re DeLorean Motor Co., 755 F.2d
1223, 1229 (6th Cir. 1985)), “a finding that there is
simply no likelihood of success on the merits is usually
fatal.” Gonzales v. Nat'l Bd. of Med.
Exam'rs, 225 F.3d 620, 625 (6th Cir. 2000).
moving party must establish its case by clear and convincing
evidence. See Deck v. City of Toledo, 29 F.Supp.2d
431, 433 (N.D. Ohio 1998), citing Garlock, Inc., v.
United Seal, Inc., 404 F.2d 256, 257 (6th Cir. 1968).
Clear and convincing evidence must produce a firm belief
about the facts to be proved. It must be more than evidence
that simply outweighs or overbalances the evidence opposed to
to R.C. 2931.18: “A humane society or its agent may
employ an attorney, and may also employ one or more assistant
attorneys to prosecute violations of law relating to . . .
prevention of cruelty to animals or children” but
“shall not employ an attorney or one or more assistant
attorneys to prosecute a felony ...