VIII. Balancing of Interests

At this point, we conclude that Plaintiffs' claims have not survived the threshold phase of the preliminary junction analysis. Having determined that Plaintiffs have failed to show either a likelihood of success on the merits or irreparable harm, we must deny the requested injunction.  Girl Scouts of Manitou Council, Inc., 549 F.3d at 1086; Daveri Dev. Group, LLC, 934 F. Supp. 2d at 995. We briefly consider the balancing phase, should an appeal follow. Girl Scouts of Manitou Council, Inc., 549 F.3d at 1087.

Utilizing a sliding scale approach, we balance the irreparable harm that Plaintiffs will suffer if relief is denied against the irreparable harm that Defendants will suffer if relief is granted. See Long, 167 F. Supp. 2d at 990 (internal quotations omitted); Planned Parenthood of Ind., 699 F.3d at 972. We also factor in the public interest in the outcome of the motion. Long, 167 F. Supp. 2d at 990; Planned Parenthood of Ind., 699 F.3d at 972. The purpose of this second phase is to "minimize the cost of potential error." Girl Scouts of Manitou Council, 549 F.3d at 1086.

As discussed above, Plaintiffs have not established that they will suffer irreparable injury without an injunction. Defendants, on the other hand, argue that an injunction would "impermissibly interfere with the State's right to administer its budget and make policy decisions." (Post-Hr'g Resp. at 23.) They further argue that an injunction would exacerbate the financial burden on taxpayers and impede the Initiative. (Id.) While Defendants contend that this balance of harms tips in their favor, they do not claim to face irreparable harm should an injunction issue. (Post-Hr'g Resp. at 23-25.) Thus, neither party faces irreparable harm from our ruling. A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy, Roland Mach. Co., 749 F.2d at 389, and is not warranted under such circumstances. See also Daveri Dev. Group, LLC, 934 F. Supp. 2d at 995 (noting that 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").

Before concluding, we recognize the public interest in this action, as well as the parties' interests. As we have previously stated, this case has important ramifications for both sides, as well as the citizens of Illinois. Plaintiffs are confronted with a most unwelcome development in Murray's expected closure. They have legitimate worries about the placements, transitions, and future care of their loved ones.29 Meanwhile, Defendants seek to improve efficiency by serving more citizens, to effectuate public policy favoring the integration of the disabled when feasible, and to potentially improve the state budget. The employees of Murray, residents of Centralia, and service providers for Murray residents naturally have their own concerns and interests. And the taxpayers across Illinois are invested in this litigation as well, both as contributors to the State budget and as citizens concerned about the care of the State's disabled population. Some of  these interests may conflict, some do not, but all are important.

We are not unsympathetic to the real human concerns raised by Plaintiffs in their diligent and highly professional advocacy as guardians, on behalf of their loved ones as well as other families facing this predicament. We recognize that Murray's closure may cause distress and disruption for Plaintiffs, their wards, and their families. In the end, however, we cannot grant them legal relief on the record before us, which does not permit us to conclude that Plaintiffs' interests outweigh Defendants' interests, particularly given Plaintiffs' lack of likelihood of success on the merits and lack of irreparable harm. See Planned Parenthood of Ind., 699 F.3d at 972 ("The strength of the moving party's likelihood of success on the merits affects the balance of harms."); Girl Scouts of Manitou Council, Inc., 549 F.3d at 1086.

CONCLUSION

For the reasons detailed above, we deny Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction (Dkt. No. 8). We also lift the temporary restraining order previously entered on June 12, 2013 (Dkt. No. 90).30 It is so ordered.


Honorable Marvin E. Aspen

U.S. District Court Judge

Dated: July 21, 2014

29 Plaintiffs assert that CILA residents-and their neighbors-are threatened by illadvised CILA placements. (Post-Hr'g Mem. at 26-27.) Plaintiffs did not identify evidence supporting their claim that the alleged danger to CILA residents extends to their neighbors, and we are not inclined to adopt their conclusion without more. (See id. at 27 (focusing on threats to the developmentally disabled, not their neighbors).)

30 As suggested earlier, Defendants should consider clarifying for Murray families exactly how and to whom guardians should express their wishes to decline or cease participation in the ACCT process, the full ramifications of that decision, and how guardians should proceed to obtain individualized assessment and future placement outside the ACCT process.