R.M. v. Vernon Bd. of Educ.

United States District Court, D. Conn.

___ F Supp. 3d ___ (D. Conn 2002)

May 22, 2002

 

J.M., a twenty-two year old male diagnosed with mild to moderate mental retardation and a variety of other mental disabilities, received special education services through the Vernon Board of Education (“Board”) and the Department of Mental Retardation (“DMR”) and was eventually placed in a group home in New Britain, Connecticut. After exhibiting dangerous behaviors, J.M. was removed from this home, hospitalized for a period of time, and then temporarily placed in a converted lounge in an administrative building on the campus of DMR. At a meeting of J.M.’s planning and placement team (PPT), R.M., J.M.’s mother, requested that J.M. be moved to a more appropriate placement, but both the Board and DMR denied the request. R.M. then requested a hearing under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and after the hearing officer dismissed her complaint, she filed this action for a preliminary injunction in District Court under the IDEA, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The District Court concluded that in an action seeking a preliminary injunction, the plaintiff must establish that 1) “the injunction is necessary to prevent irreparable harm,” and 2) “. . . the likelihood of success on the merits. . .” or “. . .serious questions going to the merits of the claim as to make it fair grounds for litigation. . . .” The court added, though, that when a plaintiff requests a positive act to alter the status quo, the plaintiff is held to a higher standard of review. In such a situation, a preliminary injunction is only issued where the evidence clearly demonstrates that the plaintiff is entitled to relief or where serious damage will result if the relief is not granted. The court determined that J.M.’s case did not even meet the requirement of irreparable harm necessary for granting an injunction, let alone the higher standard required in this case where the plaintiff requested a positive change in the status quo, and therefore the court denied the plaintiff’s claim.

This case may be accessed at the United States District Court, District of Connecticut’s web site at http://www.ctd.uscourts.gov/.

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