gavel down

I filed a Lawsuit.  Can I get the Court to stop the Defendant from Taking Certain actions while the Litigation is Pending?

Typically, a court will only issue an order restraining a defendant from engaging in certain conduct at the conclusion of the litigation, once the plaintiff has proven his or her case.  However, in certain situations, a plaintiff can obtain what is called a “preliminary injunction” early in the case.  A preliminary injunction is a court order that is issued prior to entry of judgment and that orders a defendant to do or not do certain things.  It is a powerful tool because it can impact a litigant’s behavior while litigation is pending, and civil litigation often takes several years to reach a conclusion.

In order to obtain a preliminary injunction from the court, the plaintiff must demonstrate a likelihood of succeeding on the merits of at least one of its claims.  The plaintiff also must show that irreparable harm will result if the court does not grant the injunction.  Irreparable harm means a kind of harm that cannot be fully remedied by an award of money damages at the end of the case.  Examples of irreparable harm include impairment of Constitutional rights, loss of real property, or disclosure or loss of confidential business information.  The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the risk of such irreparable harm to the plaintiff if the injunction is not granted outweighs the potential harm to the defendant if the injunction is granted.  In cases where the injunction seeks to enjoin governmental action, the court may also consider the impact that the requested injunction might have on the public interest.

- By Stephanie Parker