Barrett v. Claycomb, 12–1001.

Citation705 F.3d 315
Decision Date29 January 2013
Docket NumberNo. 12–1001.,12–1001.
PartiesMichael BARRETT, IV; Brandon Kittle–Aikeley; Jacob Curliss; John Doe, Plaintiffs–Appellees v. Donald M. CLAYCOMB, in his official capacity as President of the Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; Toni R. Schwartz, in her official capacity as member of the Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; John Klebba, in his official capacity as member of Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; Christopher T. Davidson; Diane Benetz, in her official capacity as member of Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; Mark J. Collom; Kenneth L. Miller, in his official capacity as member of Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; Erick V. Kern, in his official capacity as member of Linn State Technical College Board of Regents, Defendants–Appellants. Students for Sensible Drug Policy; Missouri Association for Social Welfare; Missouri Chapter—National Association of Social Workers; Missouri National Education Association; National Association of Social Workers; National Education Association; The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, Amici on Behalf of Appellee.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)

705 F.3d 315

Michael BARRETT, IV; Brandon Kittle–Aikeley; Jacob Curliss; John Doe, Plaintiffs–Appellees
v.
Donald M. CLAYCOMB, in his official capacity as President of the Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; Toni R. Schwartz, in her official capacity as member of the Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; John Klebba, in his official capacity as member of Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; Christopher T. Davidson;
Diane Benetz, in her official capacity as member of Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; Mark J. Collom; Kenneth L. Miller, in his official capacity as member of Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; Erick V. Kern, in his official capacity as member of Linn State Technical College Board of Regents, Defendants–Appellants.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy; Missouri Association for Social Welfare; Missouri Chapter—National Association of Social Workers; Missouri National Education Association; National Association of Social Workers; National Education Association; The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, Amici on Behalf of Appellee.

No. 12–1001.

United States Court of Appeals,
Eighth Circuit.

Submitted: Sept. 19, 2012.
Filed: Jan. 29, 2013.


[705 F.3d 318]


Kent L. Brown, argued, Jefferson City, MO, for appellants.

Jason D. Williamson, argued, New York, NY, Anthony E. Rothert, Grant R. Doty, on the brief, Saint Louis, MO, for appellees.


Daniel Lynn Viets, Columbia, MO, on the amicus curiae brief for Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Daniel Nathan Abrahamson, Theshia Naidoo, Tamar Todd, Berkeley, CA, Christopher Donohoo, East Alton, IL, on the amicus brief for Missouri Association for Social Welfare, Missouri Chapter—National Association of Social Workers, Missouri National Education Association, National Association of Social Workers, National Education Association, and The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

Before WOLLMAN, BEAM, and LOKEN, Circuit Judges.

BEAM, Circuit Judge.

In this interlocutory appeal, Donald Claycomb, in his official capacity as President of the Linn State Technical College Board of Regents; along with members of the Board of Regents, also in their official capacities; appeal from the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction, which halted a mandatory drug-testing policy implemented by Linn State. Having jurisdiction over this interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1), we vacate the preliminary injunction.

I. BACKGROUND

Linn State Technical College (“Linn State” or “the College”) is a two-year college

[705 F.3d 319]

located in Linn, Missouri. Linn State offers several programs for the roughly 1150 to 1200 students that attend the institution. On average, 500 new students begin programs at the College each year.

The programs Linn State offers can be divided into four primary categories: mechanical, electrical, civil, and computer. Each of these primary categories has further specialty areas. Many of the programs offered at Linn State involve manual exercises. For example, students in the aviation maintenance program spend roughly 62% of their time doing hands-on training, where students work in close proximity to active propeller blades. These students are also required to taxi airplanes. Students seeking accreditation in the heavy equipment operations program spend between 51% and 72% of their time engaged in hands-on training. This work involves operating Caterpillar D6R bulldozers and other heavy equipment weighing up to twenty-five tons. Danny Joe Griffin, an instructor in the industrial electricity department, testified that students in his department spend about half their time engaged in hands-on functions. This training involves dealing with live electricity and, at times, performing electrical services for members of the community.

On June 17, 2011, Linn State's Board of Regents adopted a mandatory drug-screening policy. The policy states:

Linn State Technical College will begin a drug screening program in the fall semester of 2011 for students who are newly classified as degree or certificate seeking and degree or certificate seeking students returning after one or more semesters of non-enrollment at the Linn State Technical College campus or any Linn State Technical College location.

The testing policy indicates that “[t]he purpose of the program is to provide a safe, healthy and productive environment for everyone who learns and works at Linn State Technical College by detecting, preventing and deterring drug use and abuse among students.” The testing procedures provide that the test results do not serve law enforcement purposes and will not be revealed to law enforcement personnel.


As a condition of admission to Linn State in the fall of 2011, students were required to sign a form acknowledging the new drug-testing policy and also acknowledging that refusing to screen would result in administrative or student-initiated withdrawal. The condition of admission also explained to students that if a test returned positive, the student would have 45 days “to rescreen and test negative to remain enrolled.”

In conjunction with the new policy, on September 6, 2011, Linn State issued a series of procedures by which it would conduct the drug screening. The written procedures provided that students could “petition the Office of the President for a waiver of the general requirement to participate in the Drug Screening Program.” According to the procedures, “[t]he student may advance any justification for the request.” If a student filed a petition, President Claycomb testified that he would consider the student's reason and consult other personnel at the College, and possibly legal counsel, before he rendered a decision. On September 7, 2011, Linn State began drug testing students.

On September 14, after providing urine samples in accordance with the drug-testing policy, Michael Barrett, IV, and other named individuals (collectively, Appellees) commenced action on behalf of an enumerated class 1 against members of the Board

[705 F.3d 320]

of Regents, including President Claycomb. The complaint alleged that Linn State's drug-testing policy constituted a search that violated the Fourth Amendment. Appellees sought a declaration that the drug-testing policy was facially unconstitutional and further sought injunctive relief. Accompanying the complaint, Appellees filed motions for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. On September 14, after holding a teleconference on the temporary restraining order, the district court “granted the Motion enjoining any further testing of samples and any reporting of results to the school.” The parties agreed to have the temporary restraining order extend to October 25, 2011, and the court entered an order reflecting this joint stipulation.

On October 25, 2011, the district court held a hearing on Appellees' motion for a preliminary injunction. In determining whether to grant the preliminary injunction, the district court applied this circuit's Dataphase2 factors and thus evaluated the merits of Appellees' case. The court determined that Appellees had to establish a “fair chance” of success on the merits, but, in the district court's view, even under the more rigorous “likely to prevail” standard, the Appellees had met their burden because “Defendants' drug testing program will fail Fourth Amendment scrutiny because it is over broad.” Accordingly, the court issued a preliminary injunction. This appeal followed.

II. DISCUSSION

Linn State raises two assignments of error on appeal: (1) the district court erred in granting the preliminary injunction, and (2) the order issuing the preliminary injunction failed to provide sufficient specificity in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(d)(1). Given our disposition of this case, we need only address the first issue. We review a district court's decision to grant a preliminary injunction for an abuse of discretion. Planned Parenthood Minn., N.D., S.D., v. Rounds, 530 F.3d 724, 733 (8th Cir.2008) (en banc). “An abuse of discretion occurs where the district court rests its conclusion on clearly erroneous factual findings or erroneous legal conclusions.” Id. (quotation omitted). We afford the district court no deference in reviewing its legal conclusions. S.J.W. ex rel. Wilson v. Lee's Summit R–7 Sch. Dist., 696 F.3d 771, 776 (8th Cir.2012).

In Dataphase, our court outlined four factors district courts should consider in determining whether to grant preliminary injunctive relief: “(1) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the state of balance between this harm and the injury that granting the injunction will inflict on other parties litigant; (3) the probability that movant will succeed on the merits; and (4) the public interest.” 640 F.2d at 114. Since Dataphase, we have observed that the “likelihood of success on the merits is most significant.” Wilson, 696 F.3d at 776 (quotation omitted). To that end, “the absence of a likelihood of success on the merits strongly suggests that preliminary injunctive relief should be denied.” CDI Energy Srvs., Inc. v. West River Pumps, Inc., 567 F.3d 398, 402 (8th Cir.2009). We thus turn to this factor.

Our resolution of the present matter depends heavily on the nature of

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the relief Appellees sought by way of a preliminary injunction. In their complaint, Appellees sought a declaration that Linn State's mandatory drug-testing policy was facially unconstitutional and sought injunctive relief on behalf of all members of the class. Because Appellees raise a facial challenge under the Fourth Amendment,3 they must establish some degree of success on the merits 4 that the drug-testing policy is facially unconstitutional. “A facial challenge to a legislative Act is, of...

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