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Karnoski v. Trump

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

June 15, 2018

RYAN KARNOSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
DONALD J. TRUMP, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO STAY PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

          Hon. Marsha J. Pechman, United States Senior District Court Judge

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Stay the Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal. (Dkt. No. 238.) Having reviewed the Motion, the Responses (Dkt. Nos. 250, 257), the Reply (Dkt. No. 261), the Jurisdictional Briefing (Dkt. Nos. 275, 276, 277) and all related papers, the Court DENIES the Motion.

         Background

         On December 11, 2017, the Court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction barring Defendants from “taking any action relative to transgender individuals that is inconsistent with the status quo” that existed prior to President Trump's July 26, 2017 announcement” of a policy excluding transgender people from serving openly in the military (the “Ban”). (Dkt. No. 103 at 23.)

         On March 23, 2018, Defendants released an Implementation Plan and a 2018 Memorandum which purported to “revoke” the 2017 Memorandum and replace it with a “new policy” that does not mandate a “categorical prohibition on transgender service members, ” but rather targets those who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. (Dkt. No. 226 at 3-7; see also Dkt. No. 224, Exs. 1, 3.)

         On April 13, 2018, the Court granted partial summary judgment for Plaintiffs and the State of Washington, and ordered the preliminary injunction to remain in effect. (See Dkt. No. 233.) In so doing, the Court rejected Defendants' claim that the subsequent Implementation Plan and 2018 Memorandum represented a “new policy.” (Id. at 12.) Instead, the Court found that the Implementation Plan and 2018 Memorandum “threaten the very same violations that caused it and others to enjoin the Ban in the first place.” (Id.)

         On April 30, 2018, Defendants filed a notice of appeal with the Ninth Circuit. (See Dkt. No. 236.) On the same day, Defendants filed this motion requesting an expedited ruling no later than May 4, 2018. (Dkt. No. 238.) After the Court declined to issue an expedited ruling (Dkt. No. 240), Defendants filed a separate Motion for a Stay Pending Appeal in the Ninth Circuit. See Karnoski v. Trump, No. 18-35347, Dkt. No. 3 (9th Cir. May 4, 2018). The Ninth Circuit has yet to issue a ruling.

         Discussion

         I. Jurisdiction

         While the filing of a notice of appeal generally divests a district court of jurisdiction, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62(c) allows the Court “to issue further orders with respect to an injunction, even pending appeal, in order to preserve the status quo or ensure compliance with its earlier orders.” Doe v. Trump, 284 F.Supp.3d 1172 (W.D. Wash. 2018) (citing Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc. v. Southwest Marine, Inc., 242 F.3d 1163, 1166 (9th Cir. 2001)). The Court's exercise of jurisdiction may not “adjudicate anew the merits of the case” nor “materially alter the status of the case on appeal.” Southwest Marine, 242 F.3d at 1166.

         II. Motion to Stay

         A stay pending appeal “is an intrusion into the ordinary processes of administration and judicial review.” Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 427 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). In determining whether to grant a stay, the Court considers: (1) whether Defendants have made a strong showing that they are likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether Defendants will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether a stay will substantially injure Plaintiffs and Washington; and (4) whether the public interest supports a stay. Id. at 434.

         A. Likelihood of Success on the Merits

         The Court finds that Defendants have not made a “strong showing” that they are likely to ...


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