Jones et al v. Watson et al
Memorandum of Opinion and Order For the reasons set forth herein, Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (ECF No. 2 ) is denied. Counsel shall meet and confer and, not later than 7 days from the date of the Order, file a jointly proposed briefing schedule with at least 2 proposed dates for a hearing on Preliminary Injunction. Judge Benita Y. Pearson on 10/4/2017. (JLG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
LAURA JONES, et al.,
WATSON, et al.,
CASE NO. 1:17CV2077
JUDGE BENITA Y. PEARSON
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
AND ORDER DENYING TRO
[Resolving ECF No. 2]
The within matter came on for hearing upon Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order (ECF No. 2).
After notice to the parties, the Court held a hearing on the motion. The Court has been
advised, having reviewed the record, the parties’ briefs and the applicable law. The Court has
also considered the oral arguments of counsel.
Four factors are important in determining whether a temporary restraining order is
appropriate: (1) the likelihood of the plaintiff’s success on the merits; (2) whether the injunction
will save the plaintiff from irreparable injury; (3) whether the injunction would harm others; and
(4) whether the public interest would be served by the injunction.1 PACCAR Inc. v. TeleScan
Stein v. Thomas, 672 F. App'x 565, 569 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting Ne. Ohio
Coalition for Homeless & Serv. Emps. Int'l Union, Local 1199 v. Blackwell, 467 F.3d
999, 1005-06 (6th Cir. 2006)) ("To determine whether a TRO should be stayed," we
consider the same factors used to determine whether the TRO should be issued in the first
place, including: "(1) whether the movant has a strong likelihood of success on the
merits, (2) whether the movant would suffer irreparable injury absent a stay, (3) whether
granting the stay would cause substantial harm to others, and (4) whether the public
Techs., L.L.C., 319 F.3d 243, 249 (6th Cir. 2003) (overruled on other grounds in KP Permanent
Make–Up, Inc. v. Lasting Impression I, Inc., 543 U.S. 111 (2004)); In re DeLorean Motor Co.,
755 F.2d 1223, 1228 (6th Cir. 1985). The test is a flexible one and the factors are not
prerequisites to be met, but must be balanced. In re DeLorean Motor Co., 755 F.2d at 1229. In
balancing the four considerations applicable to temporary restraining order decisions, the Court
holds that equitable relief is not appropriate at this time.
1. At this early stage, it appears that Plaintiffs are not likely to prevail on the merits. A
threshold issue is whether Plaintiffs have exhausted the administrative remedies triggered by
their cause of action brought pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in tandem with the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §§1400, et seq. See Fry v. Napoleon
Cmty. Sch. Dist., 137 S. Ct. 743, 755 (2017) (finding an administrative remedies requirement is
triggered when the gravamen of a complaint seeks redress for a school’s failure to provide a Free
Appropriate Public Education (“FAPE”)). Beyond that, in the causes of action not requiring
exhaustion, the ultimate request of Plaintiffs–to guarantee a preferred driver for their child–is
untenable. As the defense details in their opposition, even the most concerned parents do not
have a right to unilaterally define how a school program is implemented. ECF No. 7 at PageID#:
97–100 (concluding with “parents do not have the right to dictate who is staffed on their child’s
interest would be served by granting the stay.").
2. It is clear that all concerned want what is best for the minor child. Based on the
limited record, the Court finds that Plaintiffs are positioned to minimize any harm to the minor
child by participating in the transition program the school district has in place.2 The record also
reveals that the preferred driver only became acquainted with the minor child this past summer.
This suggests that the minor child can become comfortable with another driver without suffering
3. If the temporary restraining order sought were issued, the harm to the defense is most
patent. The defense would be faced with a Hobson’s Choice–defy the Court’s order requiring
the preferred driver remain the child’s sole attendant or violate the collective bargaining
agreement. Even if the Court’s ruling were followed, Defendants would risk violating civil and
other legal rights of the preferred driver.
4. The public has great interest in having sufficient supportive services made available to
children with special needs and also providing workplaces at which contractual expectations and
obligations are respected. For reasons stated on the record, what Plaintiffs ask of the school
district is contrary to the public’s interest. See also ECF No. 7 at PageID#: 101–102.
To this end, Defendants submit, “Plaintiffs’ Motion ignores the fact that
Defendants have taken into account the Child’s increased need for consistency and have
worked with both drivers to create a transition plan to help the Child adjust to the change.
Both Ms. Scott and Mr. Bunner were assigned to the Child’s route beginning October 2,
2017, and the two drivers will drive the route together for two weeks while the Child gets
to know Mr. Bunner. (Witt Aff., ¶ 7). Plaintiffs thus far have refused to allow the Child
on the van with Ms. Scott and Mr. Bunner. [Footnote omitted] (Witt Aff., ¶ 8). However,
Plaintiffs suggestion that the District has ignored the Child’s needs is demonstrably
false.” ECF No. 7 at PageID#: 102.
Having considered the factors above, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order
(ECF No. 2) is denied.
Counsel shall meet and confer and, not later than 7 days from the date of the Order, file a
jointly proposed briefing schedule with at least two proposed dates for a hearing on Preliminary
IT IS SO ORDERED.
October 4, 2017
/s/ Benita Y. Pearson
Benita Y. Pearson
United States District Judge
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