Injunctions And Temporary Restraining Orders: A Legal Introduction

injunctions and temporary restraining ordersInjunctions and temporary restraining orders – or TROs – provide an equitably remedy, for both civil and criminal wrongdoings.
Broadly speaking, injunctions are court orders that compel individuals and business to either do something or stop doing something. Temporary restraining orders are granted if one party feels they could be irreparably harmed while waiting for a court date to arrive.

What Is The Difference Between Injunctions and Temporary Restraining Orders?

Let’s say one of your employees leaked trade secrets, but the injunction hearing is still two weeks away. If you waited till the injunction hearing, the employee would have plenty of time to leak. Obtaining a temporary restraining order would provide a stop gap.

Two other examples are divorce or a hostile business takeover; in both instances, the possibility looms large that one party in the dispute may try to hide or waste money before the court date. A temporary restraining order could prevent both from happening.

A Brief History of Legal Injunctions

Not only did Henry VII sire one of history’s more infamous Kings, but it was under his rule when injunctions became a part of the legal process. Due to changing conditions an cultural norms, people began to realize that chopping off hands for stealing loaves of bread was extreme. As such, aristocrats developed equitable legal remedies based on status quo ante.

Status quo ante is a legal principal that addresses the need for a balance between a crime and a punishment. For example, if someone is harassing you online, the goal is to get said person to stop harassing you online; as such, technically, money wouldn’t be much help in that situation. While it’s true that in today’s world we’ve attached a dollar amount to most wrongs, the spirit of the premise is still very much a part of our legal system.

The Role of Injunctions In Today’s Legal Framework

A court injunction either compels an entity to do something or refrain from doing something. You can secure an injunction to stop a “now-on-the-outs” business partner from revealing trade secrets, or you can get an injunction to get your soon-to-be ex-spouse to turn over bank records.

The court takes injunction infractions very seriously; violators can face both civil and criminal penalties.
Injunctions are typical in cases of:

  • Stalking
  • Domestic violence
  • Harassment
  • Bullying
  • Sexual
  • Physical abuse
  • Trade dress
  • IP infringement
  • Trade secret disclosure
  • Tortious interference
  • Civil and criminal contempt
  • Unauthorized practice of law
  • Discrimination

What Are Temporary Restraining Orders?

Temporary restraining orders – also known as TROs – are essentially legal stop-gaps between the time you file for an injunction and the first hearing for said injunction. Basically, they’re pre-trial temporary injunctions. Unlike a lawsuit ruling, a judge’s decision on a TRO cannot be appealed. Temporary restraining orders can be granted ex parte, meaning that the individual or business to which the TRO is directed does not have to be notified ahead of time that it could be on its way.

How Long Do Temporary Restraining Orders Last

Each state has rules regarding the length of temporary restraining orders. To give you a ballpark idea, in federal courts, TROs can be granted for up to 14 days. A judge, however, can extend the order for good cause, or, for whatever reason, the opposing party agrees to extend the TRO.

What Your Lawyer Must Prove To Win A TRO

In order to successfully win a temporary restraining order, your lawyer must convince a judge that:

  1. You will likely win your injunction;
  2. The actions from which you are seeking relief are irreparably harming you in some way;
  3. If the TRO is not granted, you or others will suffer because of it;
  4. The TRO doesn’t harm the public’s interest.

Temporary Restraining Order Rules For Federal Courts

Each U.S. state has their own set of statutes dealing with injunctions and temporary restraining orders. It’s best to check with a TRO attorney to find out what options are available to you. The lawyer you find doesn’t have to be in your state, as most TRO lawyers deal with situations from across the country, due to today’s more fluid, digital business environment.

Temporary Restraining Order Procedures

Let’s take a look at the rules for TROs in federal courts, which are laid out in Rule 65(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

The federal TRO rules say that in order to be granted a temporary restraining order without “warning” the recipient ahead of time, one must:

a) provide an affidavit, with specific facts, that prove immediate harm; and
b) have their attorney certify in writing any efforts made to give notice to the intended recipient, or the reasons notice should not be given.

Logistically speaking, the federal temporary restraining order rule says that every TRO issued must:

a) include the date and hour it was issued;
b) stated why it was granted ex parte (if it was granted ex parte);
c) describe any injury that would have probably occurred if the TRO wasn’t granted;
d) be promptly delivered to clerk’s office for filing.

If you need an attorney to help you secure injunctions or temporary restraining orders, give the lawyers at Kelly/Warner a call. We’ve worked with people and companies from all 50 states and have considerable experience with injunctions and temporary restraining orders.

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