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What Is ‘Injunctive Relief’ under Tort Law and Its Different Types?


Video Transcript

“Injunctive relief is a situation where a person has been harmed by a wrong doer; such as someone continually trespassing on their land, it may have crops on it and these people trespassing on their land maybe stealing the corn, maybe trampling crops, maybe stealing cows etcetera, etcetera, it could be anything. And in those types of fact situations the law is going to allow you to go into court and ask the judge to force those people to stay off your land. Sometimes just getting money from them isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to get an affirmative order from a judge demanding that people stay off your land. And then once that injunction is on your land, your property or it could even be an injunction against someone attacking you that you could get, called a temporary restraining order. It could be any of those fact situations. If that is now breached and the person violates the judge’s order it allows the person to then go back to court who was being wronged and have the court issue an order to show cause or a contempt. Hold the person in contempt and then have that person criminally prosecuted in addition to having the injunction in place.”

When a person wants to take legal action against an individual but seeks other remedies instead of monetary compensation, they may decide for injunctive relief. Let’s go over what injunctive relief is with Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys.

What Is Injunctive Relief under Tort Law?

Also referred to as an injunction, injunctive relief is a remedy the court awards to refrain a party from acting in a certain way or preventing a party from carrying out a certain act.

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The court awards such equitable remedies when providing monetary damages is inadequate justice, or there is no need for monetary damages.

When a court issues such orders, it is known as preliminary injunctions, and a party breaching the court order can be held in contempt and prosecuted.

The party seeking injunctive relief must show the following:

  • Irreparable harm if the court does not award injunctive relief
  • The threatened harm is far greater to the plaintiff than the harm of the court order to the defendant
  • The injunctive relief does not negatively affect the public interest.

A victim may pursue injunctive relief in civil litigation to prevent another party from carrying out a certain activity. 

Suppose a person trespasses a farmer’s land daily and steals crops or tramples on them, damaging the harvest. In such situations, the farmer can go to court for injunctive relief as he will continue to suffer irreparable injury if the court does not stop the trespasser from trampling and stealing the crops. 

If the trespasser continues to carry out his acts even after the court order, the farmer can then go to court and hold the person in contempt and criminally prosecuted.

Types of Injunctive Relief

An injunction can prevent one party from carrying out an ongoing legal wrong or prevent injuries to the other party. For example, locals can pursue injunctive relief against a factory dumping toxic substances in their drinking water.

There are four types of injunctive relief a person may seek, and these include:

  • Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
  • Preliminary Injunction
  • Permanent Injunction
  • Mandatory Injunction.

A TRO is a short-term relief, allowing the court to go over the factors of the issues and the injury caused to determine if there is a need for a stricter injunction. These typically last 10 to 14 days in most jurisdictions.

Unlike temporary restraining order that does not require a notice, a preliminary injunction is a type of temporary restraining order but with a notice and court proceedings.

The court will assess the following factors before they can issue a preliminary injunction:

  • Is there a threat of irreparable harm to the plaintiff
  • Is the harm far greater than the injury the court order may have on the defendant
  • The likelihood of the plaintiff’s success on the merits
  • Will the preliminary injunctive relief affect the public interest.

A permanent injunction is a much stronger form of injunctive relief that requires the plaintiff to show actual success before the court can consider any of the abovementioned factors. The court rarely issues a permanent injunction and only does so in extraordinary circumstances.

A mandatory injunction is when a plaintiff approaches a court to direct the defendant to perform certain acts. In a mandatory injunction, the court orders the defendant to undo the wrong or the harm caused. 

Suppose a tenant builds a small shed in a house he rents despite multiple warnings from the landlord. The landlord can take the tenant to court and seek a mandatory injunction to remove the shed from the property.

Common Grounds for Injunction

The following are some injunctive relief examples and common grounds to seek an injunction.

Infringement of Intellectual Property

Intellectual property infringement can financially hurt the property’s owner, and to get relief, they may pursue a TRO. 

For example, a counterfeit shop in front of a designer shop can hurt the owner’s business. In such cases, the business owner may seek injunctive relief against the counterfeit shop owner.

Stealing Clients

When working at companies where you have to interact with the company’s clients, you often have to sign a non-compete agreement (NCA). 

These agreements protect companies from employees who steal their clients after working with them. The NCA mentions what a former employee cannot do after leaving the company.

Minority Shareholders Freezeout

In small businesses, there are situations where majority stockholders take action against minority shareholders. 

A TRO is a great way for minority shareholders to protect their rights by preventing them from taking action that could harm them.

Breaches of Fiduciary Duty

In companies where fiduciary breaches their legal duty by pursuing action that could harm the business, these companies can seek injunctions. Suppose a business partner starts selling business assets without discussing or agreeing on it with another business partner. The business partner knowing of such actions, can prevent the other partner from selling assets by getting an injunction.

To prove that the business partner is not working in the company’s best interests, the plaintiff can provide a paper trail of the sale transactions carried out in their absence.

Breach of Contract

A contract is a written agreement that mentions clauses on disputes and other topics between two parties.

For example, a contract between a vendor and a company could mention details on payment processing times. A breach of contract could occur when the company fails to process vendor payments according to the terms and conditions mentioned in the contract. 

The vendor may approach the court to seek monetary damages but may also consider seeking injunctive relief in the form of equitable remedy.

Bankruptcy

When a business declares bankruptcy, the court takes control of the assets and decides how to pay off the debts. Depending on whether a business files Chapter Seven or Chapter Eleven, the company can choose how much control the court has over the business assets.

The creditors are looking for money, but by filing a stay of action, the plaintiff can get some breathing space to make certain decisions.

What Is an Injunctive Relief Clause?

An injunctive relief clause is part of a contract between parties that prohibit one or more parties from taking specific actions that could harm the other party who is part of the contract.

A clause in an agreement makes it easier for a party to seek relief from the courts if the other party breaches the contract.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law Injunctive Relief Experts

If you’re suffering injuries or damages from another person’s ongoing actions and want to seek injunctive relief, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation to discuss your case with our legal experts.

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