United States District Court, W.D. Washington
L.F., in his individual capacity and as parent of K.S.F. Student 1 and K.S.F. Student 2, Plaintiff,
LAKE WASHINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT #414, Defendant.
S. ZILLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on plaintiff's motion for a
temporary restraining order (“TRO”) and a
preliminary injunction, docket no. 3. Having reviewed all
papers filed in support of, and in opposition to,
plaintiff's motion,  the Court enters the following order.
TRO and a preliminary injunction are extraordinary remedies
that are “never awarded as of right.” See
Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7,
24 (2008). A party seeking a TRO or a preliminary injunction
must establish (1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2)
a likelihood of irreparable harm in the absence of
preliminary relief; (3) a balancing of equities tips in favor
of preliminary relief; and (4) an injunction is in the public
interest. Id. at 20; see Stuhlbarg Int'l
Sales Co. v. John D. Brush & Co., 240 F.3d 832, 839 n.7
(9th Cir. 2001) (the standards for a TRO and a preliminary
injunction are equivalent). The Ninth Circuit has also
articulated an alternative “sliding scale”
approach pursuant to which the first and third
Winter factors are analyzed on a continuum; under
such standard, a weaker showing on the merits, combined with
a stronger demonstration on the balancing test, might warrant
preliminary injunctive relief, assuming the second and fourth
Winter elements are met. Alliance for the Wild
Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1131-35 (9th Cir.
2011). Under this “sliding scale” method, the
movant need only raise “serious questions going to the
merits, ” but the balance of hardships must tip
“sharply” in the movant's favor. Id.
at 1131-32; see also Farris v. Seabrook, 677 F.3d
858, 864 (9th Cir. 2012).
in this matter is the father of two students attending
schools in the Lake Washington School District
(“LWSD”). He is challenging a Communication Plan
imposed by LWSD in late November 2015, and modified in
January 2016 and again in November 2016. See
Sullivan Decl. at ¶¶ 18 & 34 & Exs. 4 & 6 (docket
nos. 15, 15-4, & 15-6); Ex. 8 to Livingston Decl. (docket no.
14-8). He contends that the Communication Plan constitutes
retaliation for his advocacy on behalf of his allegedly
disabled children and therefore violates Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973. See Compl. (docket no.
1). When the Communication Plan was implemented, however,
plaintiff was advised that he could appeal the decision by
filing an action within thirty days in King County Superior
Court, see RCW 28A.645.010, and he undisputedly
failed to timely challenge either the imposition of the
Communication Plan or its subsequent modifications.
Communication Plan has now been in effect for almost sixteen
months. During a substantial portion of this time, plaintiff
did not take advantage of the biweekly or monthly meetings
with LWSD's Directors of School Support (DSSs), namely
Sue Anne Sullivan and Matt Livingston, that were contemplated
in the original Communication Plan and its initial
modification. See Sullivan Decl. at ¶¶ 38
& 43; Livingston Decl. at ¶¶ 38 & 40 (docket no.
14). As subsequently modified, the Communication Plan
eliminated periodic meetings between plaintiff and the DSSs,
and it currently envisions that plaintiff will voice his
concerns solely via e-mail to the DSSs on a monthly basis,
during the last school week of the month. Rather than
appealing the Communication Plan as modified in early
November 2016, plaintiff commenced this action in March 2017
and seeks as preliminary relief an order enjoining LWSD from
enforcing the Communication Plan.
Court is persuaded that plaintiff has not met his burdens of
establishing either a likelihood of success on the merits or
serious questions going to the merits, of showing a
likelihood of irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary
relief, or of demonstrating that a balancing of equities tips
in favor of preliminary relief or that an injunction is in
the public interest. Plaintiff has simply not provided the
quantum of evidence of animus or retaliatory intent or
identified the type of emergent situation that might justify
the grant of an extraordinary remedy like a TRO or a
foregoing reasons, plaintiff's motion for a temporary
restraining order and/or a preliminary injunction, docket no.
3, is DENIED.
 By Minute Order entered March 16,
2017, docket no. 5, the Court separated plaintiff's
motion into one for a TRO, noted for March 27, 2017, and one
for a preliminary injunction, noted for April 7, 2017.
Defendant, however, filed a consolidated response as to both
the TRO and preliminary injunction requests, and plaintiff
similarly filed a consolidated reply. The Court therefore