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Law School Case Brief

Boucher v. Sch. Bd. - 134 F.3d 821 (7th Cir. 1998)

Rule:

A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.

Facts:

Plaintiff Justin J. Boucher, a student at Greenfield High School, published a pseudonymous article in an underground school paper containing information enabling classmates to disrupt the school's computer system. When he was identified, school administrators sought his expulsion. Defendant School Board of the School District of Greenfield (Board) heard the matter and expelled him for one year. Boucher filed a state court suit claiming constitutional torts and sought injunctive relief. After the Board removed the case to federal district court, the court granted the injunction and denied the Board's request for a stay pending appeal. The Board thereafter appealed.

Issue:

Did the district court err in granting an injunction in favor of Boucher?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The federal appellate court held that the district court erred in dismissing the Board's claim of significant harm from the issuance of the injunction. According to the court, the district court's failure to address that claim of harm meant that it could not have properly applied the test calling for a weighing of relative interests. The court noted that the issuance of an injunction would undermine school discipline, and because the court considered it more likely than not that the board would prevail on the merits, it vacated the district court's order as an abuse of discretion.

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