Preliminary Injunctions

In most cases, the parties to a lawsuit are fighting about money: one party or the other is going to pay money to the other if successful to compensate it for the claimed wrongs that were done. But sometimes money is not enough. What if, by the time the lawsuit is decided, the treasurer has run off to Siberia with all the money; you would have only a worthless money judgment after spending the time and money to litigate. If an employee has stolen your trade secrets and is giving them to a competitor, you need to stop him or her now before your entire business is ruined. If a competitor is using your trademark, you want to stop the competitor immediately before customers get used to the idea of going to someone else—and the damages you will sustain from lost customers can be very difficult to measure.

A preliminary injunction may be the answer to these dilemmas. It is a court order requiring someone to do something or refrain from doing something—and it can be obtained relatively quickly. Its cousin, the temporary restraining order, can be obtained immediately without formal notice to your opponent, but it lasts for only ten days—enough time to hold a hearing to decide whether you are entitled to a preliminary injunction.

Other cases in which injunctions are commonly requested include partners who want to prevent the sale of a partnership asset; a medical residency program or hospital or school that wants to prevent its loss of accreditation; shareholders who want to prevent waste of corporate assets; businesses that want to prevent the loss of trade secrets or stop a raid on its key employees by a person or business not privileged to do so; and many others.

We wrote the book on this subject: Handling the Business Emergency: Temporary Restraining Orders and Preliminary Injunctions, published by the American Bar Association.  To get in touch with an attorney to help set up a Preliminary Injunction,call (312) 223-1699

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