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Tyrell Decoteau v. District Court

March 23, 2012

TYRELL DECOTEAU, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT COURT, 85TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT, BRAZOS COUNTY, STATE OF TEXAS; AND FRANCYNE DECOTEAU DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Daniel L. Hovland, District Judge United States District Court

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER

Before the Court is the plaintiff, Tyrell DeCoteau's "Petition for Temporary Restraining Order and Permanent Injunction, and Declaratory Relief," filed on March 19, 2012. See Docket No.

2. For the reasons explained below, the motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Tyrell DeCoteau asserts that he and respondent Francyne DeCoteau were married in Bottineau, North Dakota. They have two minor children. They are members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Tyrell DeCoteau is a member of the United States Army and is currently stationed in El Paso, Texas. Francyne DeCoteau resides with the children in College Station, Texas.

On an unknown date, Tyrell DeCoteau filed for divorce in Turtle Mountain Tribal Court. On October 5, 2005, Francyne DeCoteau filed for divorce in the Texas State District Court in Bell County, Texas. The Texas State District Court issued a temporary restraining order on October 5, 2005. On March 6, 2006, the Texas State District Court issued an employer's order to withhold income. On March 22, 2006, the Texas State District Court issued a supplemental temporary order. The contents of these Texas orders have not been disclosed to the Court and remain a mystery.

On May 1, 2006, the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court ("Tribal Court") issued an order finding that it had exclusive jurisdiction over the divorce and child custody matter between Tyrell DeCoteau and Francyne DeCoteau, and further found that the Texas orders were null and void. See Docket No. 1-4. The Tribal Court ordered that the parties share joint custody of the children. Thereafter, on October 18, 2006, the Tribal Court issued an order granting a dissolution of the DeCoteaus' marriage. See Docket No. 1-3. On June 1, 2011, the Tribal Court issued an order granting Tyrell DeCoteau custody of the children for one year effective June 15, 2011. See Docket No. 1-2. On January 6, 2012, the Tribal Court issued an arrest warrant for Francyne DeCoteau for non-compliance with the court's orders. See Docket No. 1-1.

On March 19, 2012, Tyrell DeCoteau filed a motion in federal district court seeking the following relief:

(1) That Petitioner have judgment against Respondents whereby this Court issue a Temporary Restraining Order preventing Respondent District Court, 85th Judicial District, Brazos County, State of Texas from taking jurisdiction of the custody action in Texas until the parties have exhausted Tribal Court remedies;

(2) That the Court issue a declaratory judgment declaring the Tribal Court has exclusive jurisdiction under Texas laws and Tribal laws, and the Tribal Court Orders are enforceable under the rule of comity and that the warrant for Respondent Francyne DeCoteau's arrest is valid and enforceable and that the Bureau of Indian Affairs must make arrangements to extradite Respondent Francyne DeCoteau back to the Turtle Mountain Tribal jurisdiction; and

(3) That the Court issue a permanent injunction against Respondent Francyne DeCoteau ordering her to cease and desist in pursuing this matter in the Texas courts and ordering Respondent District Corut, 85th Judicial District, Brazos County, State of Texas from taking jurisdiction of the custody action in Texas.

See Docket No. 1.

II. LEGAL DISCUSSION

In determining whether a temporary restraining order should be granted, Rule 65(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure directs the court to look to the specific facts shown by an affidavit to determine whether immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the applicant. In determining whether preliminary injunctive relief should be granted, the court is required to consider the factors set forth in Dataphase Sys., Inc., v. C L Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 114 (8th Cir. 1981). Whether a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order should be granted involves consideration of "(1) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the state of balance between this harm ...


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