Legal Memorandum: Stay-put Order and Irreparable Harm

Issue: Under federal law, when does a child/pupil suffer irreparable harm for purposes of a preliminary injunction if a ‘stay-put’ order is followed in the context of the Individuals with Disability Education Improvement Act (IDEIA)?

Area of Law: Administrative Law, Administrative Law & Regulation (Federal and State), Education Law
Keywords: Irreparable harm; Stay-put order; Individuals with Disability Education Improvement Act (IDEA)
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 175 F. Supp. 2d 375; 297 F.3d 195
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 07/01/2014

It is well settled that when a stay-put order deprives a child of his or her rights under the Individuals with Disability Education Improvement Act (IDEA), that child will be irreparably harmed. Murphy v. Arlington Cent. Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 297 F.3d 195, 199 (2d Cir. 2002).  Importantly, when an educational program’s continuity is broken by interruption or unnecessary change, the set-back constitutes irreparable harm.  Cosgrove v. Bd. of Educ. of Niskayuna Cent. Sch. Dist., 175 F. Supp. 2d 375, 393 (N.D.N.Y. 2001).

When the facts show that the child will likely regress if his or her placement is discontinued, there is a showing of irreparable harm.  See id. at 393-94. (finding probability of irreparable injury so as to satisfy the irreparable harm element of the injunction analysis).


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