TRO Denied in Sangamon County Illinois on Governor Pritzker’s Mask Order

Aug 25, 2021

by Christine Self

In Sangamon County Court, Judge Raylene Grischow denied Plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to enjoin Governor Pritzker’s August 4, 2021 mask requirement for schools. Plaintiffs are parents of students in McHenry County schools and they filed suit to stop Governor Pritzker’s mask mandate in Executive Order 2021-18 (extended in Executive Order 2021-19). Plaintiffs requested an emergency TRO and preliminary injunction in McHenry County and the case was transferred to Sangamon County on motion of the Attorney General’s office which is representing the Governor.

In her ruling, Judge Grischow found that Plaintiffs met the first two required elements for a TRO, violation of an ascertainable right and a fair question as to the likelihood of success on the merits. However, she found that Plaintiffs did not meet the other two elements because they did not adequately raise that there would be irreparable harm to Plaintiffs or that there was not an adequate remedy at law. Because Plaintiffs did not meet all four required elements, Judge Grischow stated that she did not have to weigh the balance of the harms, but stated that if she were to do so, the balance would weigh in favor of masking as a measure of public safety. She said that the safety of children was a clear necessity and enjoining the mask requirement of the Executive Order would put the public at risk. She also stated that there was not a reasonable claim that there is no health emergency at this time.

In this case, the Attorney General’s office filed a Motion to Dismiss on August 24, 2021. A briefing schedule was agreed to on that matter, which will be taken up by the court after briefing. If necessary, a hearing on the preliminary injunction will then be set.

Illinois Education – Tueth Keeney is proud to be one of the state’s largest Illinois education law practices. The firm has one of the most experienced groups of attorneys in Central and Southern Illinois dedicated to serving public schools. We regularly represent nearly 150 public school districts, including many districts in Central and Southern Illinois. Our Firm is also regularly appointed by insurers of educational institutions to represent districts in complex or difficult cases involving school or civil rights laws.

Christine Self practices in the areas of education law and employment law. She has developed employment policies and advised public employers on labor matters and laws such as the Freedom of Information Act and the Illinois Open Meetings Act. She has experience with collective bargaining and disciplinary investigations into employee misconduct. As a former public school teacher, she is committed to assisting schools navigate the legal requirements of the education environment so school leaders and educators can provide the best educational opportunities for students.