Legal Memorandum: Breach of a School Transportation Contract

Issue: Under New Jersey law, when will a temporary injunction issue to prevent breach of a student transportation contract?

Area of Law: Administrative Law, Administrative Law & Regulation (Federal and State), Education Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Temporary injunction; Breach of a student transportation contract
Jurisdiction: New Jersey
Cited Cases: 787 A.2d 951; 346 N.J. Super. 326; 704 A.2d 1321; 365 N.J. Super. 509; 617 A.2d 291
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 09/01/2004

The standards for granting a preliminary injunction are well-known.  In order for a preliminary injunction to be issued, the plaintiff must: (1) demonstrate a lack of an adequate remedy at law; (2) be threatened with substantial, immediate, and irreparable harm if the injunction is not ordered; (3) prove a reasonable probability of success on the merits of its claim; and (4) prevail on a balancing of the relative hardships of the parties.  Thomas P. Carney Inc. v. Franklin Township Board of Education, 365 N.J. Super. 509, 513, 839 A.2d 936, 939 (2003).  .

A national search for cases involving injunctive relief to prevent breach of a school transportation contract revealed Allen v. School Committee of Boston, 487 N.E.2d 529 (Mass. 1986).  In Allen, the lower court granted an injunction forcing a bus company to provide student transportation services pursuant to contract.  The appellate court overturned that ruling on labor grounds.  Importantly and persuasively, however, the court stated that the injunction sought in that case should not have been granted “barring, of course, some immediate and substantial threat to the public health, safety, or welfare.”  Id. at 532.    

Eventual monetary damages for breach of contract are not always an adequate remedy due to factors such as the difficulty of finding a substitute bus company to take over the relevant routes for the remainder of the contract term.  In such a case, specific performance is a valid judicial response to a request for an injunction.  See V.W. Credit […]

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