United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable Edmond E. Chang United States District Judge
John Doe and defendant Jane Doe are students at the
University of Chicago. R. 1, Compl. ¶¶ 12,
John Doe filed this suit against the University of Chicago
and Jane Doe, asserting numerous Title IX violations, 20
U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq., as well as
state-law claims. See Id. ¶¶
119-205. At the time of filing, John Doe also moved
for a temporary restraining order (TRO). R. 4, Pl.'s Br.
After a hearing on the motion, the Court denied John
Doe's request for a TRO and deemed it converted into a
motion for a preliminary injunction. See R. 11,
8/24/2016 Minute Entry. For the reasons stated below, John
Doe's converted motion for a preliminary injunction is
case arises out of Jane Doe's assertion-made, initially,
via a variety of social-media outlets-that she had been
sexually assaulted by John Doe, and the University's
subsequent handling of three related disciplinary complaints:
two lodged by John Doe against Jane Doe and one lodged by
Jane Doe against John Doe. To understand the factual setting,
the Court will set forth facts drawn from the Complaint, and
assume them to be true (because that assumption does not
impact the decision on the preliminary injunction).
purposes of the pending motion, the lead-up to the lawsuit
begins in November 2014, when Jane Doe began to claim on her
personal blog that she had been sexually assaulted. Compl.
¶ 75. By December 2014, Jane had “definitively
identified John Doe as the person who had allegedly assaulted
her.” Id. When she found out in the spring of
2016 that John was directing a theater program, she posted a
series of tweets on Twitter about the program, “stating
John Doe assaulted [her] and many others.” Id.
learning of Jane Doe's tweets, John sent the University
an email to complain against Jane for “online sexual
harassment.” Compl. ¶ 88; R. 1-12, May 2016 Compl.
In late May, Associate Dean Jeremy Inabinet informed John
that he had reviewed the information that John had provided
and had determined that there was “no evident violation
of the University Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and
Sexual Misconduct.” Compl. ¶ 89; R. 1-13,
5/25/2016 Inabinet Email. Following Inabinet's
determination, John's counsel sent Jane a cease-and-
desist letter “demanding Jane Doe remove the offending
Tweets and issue a public apology to John Doe for the
defamatory statements made repeatedly by Jane Doe.”
Compl. ¶ 92; R. 1-16, Cease & Desist Letter. Jane
did not delete her tweets. Compl. ¶ 93.
2016, Jane Doe made her own complaint to the University; she
claimed that John had sexually assaulted her on September 23,
2013. See Compl. ¶ 111. In response, the
University launched its disciplinary process. See
Id. ¶ 11; Pl.'s Br. at 6. John then lodged a
second complaint with the University, this time alleging that
Jane's June 2016 complaint is “false, in bad
faith[, ] and retaliatory.” 8/24/2016 Tr. at 10.
being told by the University that it was investigating Jane
Doe's June 2016 complaint, John expressed concerns to
Inabinet about the University's investigatory and
adjudicatory procedures. See Compl. ¶¶
100, 102; R. 1-20, 8/7/2016 Email. In an August 7, 2016
email, John articulated disagreement with Inabinet's
“stated intention” to adjudicate John's
alleged 2013 conduct according to the University's 2015
student manual. Compl. ¶ 100; 8/7/2016 Email at 3-6. He
also objected to the possibility that the University would
adjudicate Jane's June 2016 complaint before
investigating and deciding his May and June 2016 complaints.
Compl. ¶ 102; 8/7/2016 Email at 1-2. Hearing nothing in
response to these concerns, see Compl. ¶ 103,
John Doe filed this suit against Jane Doe and the University
of Chicago, asserting several Title IX violations and making
numerous state-law claims, see Id. ¶¶
time of the lawsuit's filing, John moved for a temporary
restraining order to restrain the University from subjecting
him to its disciplinary process. See Pl.'s Br.
at 3. The Court held a hearing on the motion on the day that
it was filed. See 8/24/2016 Minute Entry. At that
hearing, the University agreed to use the 2013 student
manual's definition of consent, give John an extension of
time to respond to Jane's June 2016 complaint, and
consider all three disciplinary complaints in one proceeding.
See Id. The Court ultimately denied John's
request for a TRO, because there was no irreparable harm that
justified even a temporary injunction without notice to the
University and an opportunity for the University to be heard.
But the Court did convert the TRO motion into a motion for
preliminary injunction and requested further briefing on the
issue of irreparable harm. Id.
preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy that
may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff
is entitled to such relief.” Winter v. Natural Res.
Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). To prevail on
a motion for a preliminary injunction, a moving party must
show that its case has some likelihood of success on the
merits and that it has no adequate remedy at law and will
suffer irreparable harm if a preliminary injunction is
denied. Stuller, Inc. v. Steak N Shake Enters.,
Inc., 695 F.3d 676, 678 (7th Cir. 2012). If the moving
party meets these threshold requirements, then the court
balances the nature and degree of the potential harm to each
party and the public interest. Girl Scouts of Manitou
Council, Inc. v. Girl Scouts, Inc., 549 F.3d 1079, 1086
(7th Cir. 2008).
Doe contends that the University is subjecting him to a
“fundamentally unfair, arbitrary, and capricious
disciplinary procedure that violates both Title IX and [the
University's] Policies.” Pl.'s Br. at 2. He has
asked for an injunction- relying specifically on the basis of
his negligence, promissory estoppel, and Title IX retaliation
claims, see Id. at 3-to (a) prevent the University
from using the 2015 student manual to evaluate the 2013
sexual encounter and to (b) halt the University's
disciplinary process until it remedies the alleged Title IX
violations and fully adjudicates his May 2016 Complaint,
id. John initially claimed that an injunction
was necessary because money damages could not adequately
compensate him for any lost educational opportunities and any
damage to his reputation that might result from the
University's disciplinary process. Id. at 30. He
now claims that an injunction is necessary because the way in
which the University is conducting its disciplinary
proceeding is causing him psychological harm, which has
recently resulted in episodes of self-harm. See R.
23, Pl.'s Reply Br.