United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable Rosemary Marquez United States District Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiff Christina Chadwick's
Application for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order.
(Doc. 8.) On August 10, 2018, the Court heard oral argument
on the Application and took the matter under advisement so
that Defendant Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico
Incorporated (“Interamericana”) could file a
response. (Docs. 10, 11.) Interamericana filed its Response
on August 20, 2018. (Doc. 12.) Plaintiff filed a Reply. (Doc.
13.) Given the briefing schedule and nature of
Plaintiff's requests, the Court construes the Application
as a motion for preliminary injunction. See Brookfield
Commc'ns, Inc. v. W. Coast Entm't Corp, 174 F.3d
1036, 1043 (9th Cir. 1999). For the following reasons,
Plaintiff's request for preliminary injunctive relief
will be denied.
August 2015, Plaintiff enrolled in the School of Optometry at
Interamericana. (Doc. 8-1, ¶ 7.) On July 7, 2017,
Interamericana dismissed Plaintiff from the program.
(Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff appealed her dismissal on
July 18, 2017, and, after the appeals committee failed to
timely respond, filed a lawsuit in this Court on August 2,
2017. (Id. ¶ 11.) In her appeal, Plaintiff
advised Interamericana that she has an emotional/mental
disability for which she receives psychiatric care.
(Id. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the
lawsuit after Interamericana partially granted her appeal and
allowed her to take a reduced course load. (Id.
¶¶ 11, 14-15.)
the Fall 2017 semester, Plaintiff sued Interamericana again,
alleging that Interamericana acted contrary to its academic
policy and discriminated against her based on her mental
disability. (Id. ¶ 16.) On February 10, 2018,
Plaintiff and Interamericana resolved the action by entering
into a Confidential Settlement Agreement and General Release.
(Id. ¶ 17.)
Requests for Accommodations
February 2018, Plaintiff submitted a request for reasonable
accommodations, signed by her treating physician, Dr. Richard
Barnes, requesting that, prior to class, she be provided with
“complete power point slide presentations prepared by
professors.” (Doc. 8-1, ¶ 35.) Despite her
request, Interamericana refuses to provide her with full
PowerPoint presentations, instead providing
“fill-in-the-blank notes, ” or
“skeleton” presentations. (Id. ¶
36; Doc. 12-1, ¶ 16.) As was made clear during the
hearing, Plaintiff is requesting completed
“skeleton” presentations, in addition to the
professor's notes. (See Doc. 8-2.)
Spring 2018, Plaintiff requested that tutors be made
available to assist her with her studies. (Doc. 8-1, ¶
37.) According to Plaintiff, the Dean of Student Affairs
promised to find tutors, but never followed through on that
promise. (Id.) Plaintiff submits a letter executed
by Dr. Barnes on August 1, 2018 (two days before this lawsuit
was filed), apparently directed to Interamericana, which
states that Plaintiff would benefit from the foregoing
accommodations. (Doc. 8-2.)
Standard of Review
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never
awarded as of right.” Winter v. Nat. Res. Def.
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008) (citation omitted).
There are four requirements for a preliminary injunction: (1)
the plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) the
plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence
of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of equities tips in
the plaintiff's favor; and (4) an injunction is in the
public interest. Id. at 20. The relief sought by
Plaintiff requires affirmative conduct by Interamericana.
“Such ‘mandatory preliminary relief' is
subject to heightened scrutiny and should not be issued
unless the facts and law clearly favor the moving
party.” Dahl v. HEM Pharm. Corp., 7 F.3d 1399,
1403 (9th Cir. 1993) (citing Anderson v. United
States, 612 F.2d 1112, 1114 (9th Cir. 1980)).
Ninth Circuit follows a “sliding scale” approach
to preliminary injunctions. All. for the Wild Rockies v.
Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1131 (9th Cir. 2011). Under
this approach, a weaker showing as to the likelihood of
success on the merits may be offset by a stronger showing
with respect to the balance of the equities. Id. at
1131-32. If the moving party is unable to establish a
likelihood of success on the merits, a preliminary injunction
may still be granted if (1) there are serious questions going
to the merits, i.e., substantial, difficult, and doubtful
questions on which the plaintiff has a fair chance of
success; (2) the balance of hardships tips
“sharply” in the plaintiff's favor; and (3)
the other Winter requirements, i.e., irreparable
harm and in the public interest, are met. Id. at