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Injunctive Relief — A Definition

Sarah Edwards | November 29, 2022

Sarah Edwards
Legal Expert
Sarah Edwards, BS

Sarah Edwards is a professional researcher and writer specializing in legal content. An Emerson College alumna, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the prestigious Boston institution.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Getting injunctive relief feels like ^^

Summary: Injunctive relief is a court order that stops a party from performing a certain action or requires them to act in a certain way. Below, we explain the four types of injunctive relief: preliminary, permanent, mandatory, and prohibitory.

At its core, injunctive relief is a performance remedy that a plaintiff or defendant can request from the court. If the court grants injunctive relief, the impacted parties must either take specific actions or stop them. For instance, a plaintiff can request injunctive relief to stop someone from building an outdoor concert hall next to their home.

Usually, courts use injunctive relief to force the performance or non-performance of specific actions when monetary damages aren’t an appropriate award.

What are some of the most common reasons to seek injunctive relief?

Real estate transactions often give rise to the use of injunctive relief. Due to its nature of being expensive and permanent, real estate often draws interest from people or entities who may not want a new building or to see the destruction of certain land.

For instance, a developer seeking to build a large mall in an area home to a wildlife preserve may find themselves in court. The representatives of the wildlife preserve may argue that building a mall would harm the ecosystem and natural wildlife.

Another frequent type of injunctive relief comes from a breach of contract. Two or more parties can form a contract. If one of the parties doesn’t follow through with their end of the agreement, other parties can sue for injunctive relief. If the case is successful, the judge will order the non-abiding party to do what they’re supposed to under the contract.

Trademark law concerning intellectual property is another area of the law where courts may order injunctive relief. For instance, if someone copies an author’s book and decides to sell it themselves, the court may order them to stop. Passing off another musician’s song as their own can also result in an order for injunctive relief.

Finally, injunctive relief is common in nuisance cases. For instance, if you have a neighbor who likes to throw wild parties that last until the wee hours of the morning, you could ask a court to grant you injunctive relief. The court would order the neighbor to keep the noise down after a particular hour, like 10 or 11 p.m.

What are the types of injunctive relief?

There are four main types of injunctive relief: preliminary, permanent, mandatory, and prohibitory injunctions.

A court awards a preliminary injunction when a claim is ongoing and the case's outcome is unknown. During the trial, parties can’t perform specific actions barred by the preliminary injunction. At the end of the case, the court may order a permanent injunction or lift the injunction altogether.

An example of a preliminary injunction is a temporary restraining order. Temporary restraining orders can prevent specific actions from happening, like selling a business.

A court can grant a permanent injunctive as a remedy after hearing the entirety of a case. It’s a final judgment like monetary damages are. A permanent injunctive is typically valid for long periods and sometimes in perpetuity.

An example of a permanent injunctive is refusing to allow someone to build on top of a wildlife preserve. The injunctive would apply to anyone interested in building or modifying the land.

A mandatory injunction requires someone to perform a particular action. For instance, a court could order an individual to continue their purchase of a home if they’d stopped the buying process.

A prohibitory injunction requires someone to stop performing a specific action. For example, a court could order the purchaser of a business to halt the acquisition.

What is an injunctive relief clause?

Parties can include an injunctive relief clause in a contract. The injunctive relief clause will prevent either party from taking actions that may harm the other party or entity.

Injunctive relief clauses are helpful when there’s no way to stop harm to another through tangible means, like money or property. An injunctive relief clause can make it easier for either party to obtain a judgment or further injunctive relief in court.

How does injunctive relief work in bankruptcy?

People who are filing for bankruptcy list all their debts and assets in their petition for relief. Depending on their circumstances, they may need to turn over their assets to a trustee, who will liquidate them and distribute the earnings to creditors.

Injunctive relief prevents creditors from obtaining money or assets from the individual or entity during the bankruptcy process. Creditors won’t be able to call or contact the individual in bankruptcy, and they can’t seek legal relief against the borrower through the courts.

How long does it take to get injunctive relief?

It depends on the circumstances. You may get a preliminary injunction within a few days of filing a claim in court.

Individuals or entities seeking a permanent injunction must wait for the case’s outcome. Some claims can resolve within a few weeks, while others may take years.

A lawyer can advise you if injunctive relief is an appropriate remedy for your claim.

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