Legal Memorandum: Preliminary Injunction against a School District

Issue: Under federal law, can a federal district court issue a preliminary injunction against a local school district in a case involving the Individuals with Disability Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) requiring the school district to comply with a state agency’s ‘stay put’ order?

Area of Law: Education Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Preliminary injunction; Stay put order; Individuals with Disability Education Improvement Act (IDEIA)
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 282 F. Supp. 2d 221; 336 F.3d 260; 287 F.3d 267; 297 F.3d 195; 420 F.3d 181
Cited Statutes: 20 U.S.C. § 1415, § 1415(j)
Date: 07/01/2014

“[A] request to enjoin a preexisting ‘stay put’ order is handled appropriately by the district court’s application of traditional preliminary injunction analysis.”  Johnson ex rel. Johnson v. Special Educ. Hearing Office, State of Cal., 287 F.3d 1176, 1180 (9th Cir. 2002).  See Pardini v. Allegheny Intermediate Unit, 420 F.3d 181, 188 (3d Cir. 2005) (agreeing with Johnson).  See also Mostow v. Hinsdale Twp. High Sch. Dist. 86, No. 06 C 4505, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63462 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 25, 2006) (Gottschall, J.) (stating that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has indicated that such relief can be obtained using the normal test for a preliminary injunction).

Thus, the federal district court may issue a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order (TRO) restraining a district from moving a pupil for out-of-class education time as part of an ALJ’s “stay put” decision. Whether parent-plaintiffs are entitled to TRO relief is dependent upon the traditional factors analyzed for providing injunctive relief.

[A] district court may permissibly grant the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction only if (1) the plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) denial will result in irreparable harm to the plaintiff; (3) granting the injunction will not result in irreparable harm to the defendant; and (4) granting the injunction is in the public interest.


P.C. Yonkers, Inc. v. Celebrations the Party and Seasonal Superstore, LLC, 428 F.3d 504, 508 (3d Cir. 2005) (citations and quotation […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)