The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mills, District Judge:
In short: preliminary injunction denied.
This case is before the Court upon Plaintiffs' motion for a
preliminary injunction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a) seeking to
enjoin the April 7, 1987, elections of the Springfield Park
District. Plaintiffs challenge the system of electing the Park
Board trustees under § 2 of the Voting Rights Act. 42 U.S.C. § 1973
(Supp. II, 1984).
I. Preliminary Injunction Standard
Whether the issuance of an injunction is appropriate "depends
upon a balancing of several factors, including the likelihood of
success on the merits, the lack of an adequate remedy at law, the
prospect of irreparable harm if the injunction is not issued, and
a comparison of the relative hardships imposed on the parties."
Washington v. Walker, 529 F.2d 1062, 1065 (7th Cir. 1976). The
merger of law and equity under the Federal Rules has not altered
the precept that injunctive relief is to be governed by
traditional principles of equity jurisprudence. J. Moore, J.
Lucas, K. Sinclair, Jr., Moore's Federal Practice, ¶ 65.18(1) (2d
ed. 1986) (citing Stainback v. Mo Hock Ke Lok Po, 336 U.S. 368,
382 n. 26 (1949).
Among the principles of equity to be considered in this
instance is the availability of equitable defenses; most notably,
Defendant has raised the equitable defense of laches.
Because the Court decides the request for preliminary relief
based upon the time-lines of its filing, it will not go into a
detailed recitation of the facts giving rise to the alleged
voting rights violation. It will instead focus on the facts as
they relate to the timeframe surrounding the filing of the suit
and subsequent motion to enjoin the elections.
On April 2, 1985, these same Plaintiffs filed suit against the
City of Springfield alleging violations of § 2 of the Voting
Rights Act. That suit proceeded through an 11-day trial and on
January 12, 1987, Chief Judge Baker found the Springfield
commission form of government violative of § 2 of the Voting
Rights Act. McNeil v. City of Springfield, 658 F. Supp. 1015
Thereafter, on January 20, 1987, the Plaintiffs filed three
separate suits against the Springfield Park District, Springfield
Board of Education, and the Convention Center Board. Only the
suit against the Park District is subject to the present request
for a preliminary injunction.
Although this action was filed on January 20, 1987, Plaintiffs
did not seek to enjoin the April 7, 1987, elections until March
9, 1987. As a result, candidates have already filed nominating
petitions and statements of economic interest. The assignment of
ballot position have been made and absentee balloting has begun.
Based on this timetable and the facts surrounding it, the Court
concludes that the equitable doctrine of laches counsels ...