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Legal Memorandum: Interlocutory Injunction in MH

Issue: Under the laws of the Marshall Islands, what standards should a court follow when considering whether or not to grant an interlocutory injunction?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Interlocutory injunction; Traditional and alternative test
Jurisdiction: Federal, Marshall Islands
Cited Cases: 714 F.2d 962; 916 F. Supp. 1525; 240 F.3d 832; 526 F.2d 86; 833 F.2d 172; 79 F. Supp. 2d 1186; 298 F.3d 1037
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2004

In the old Trust Territory case of Madrainlai v. Emesiochel, 6 T.T.R. 440, 447 (Tr. Div. 1974), the trial division applied the following standard in considering granting an interlocutory injunction:

[T]he court must consider “the relative importance of the rights asserted, the acts sought to be enjoined, the irreparable nature of the injury allegedly flowing from the denial of preliminary relief, probability of ultimate success or failure of the suit, and balancing of damages and convenience generally.

Id. at 447 (citations omitted).  The trial division’s application of this standard in Madrainlai is not binding and has not been recognized on an appellate level.  The court recognized as much in its recent Order in Lendrik v. Kabua, Civil Action No. 2003-162, in which it stated that it is mindful that there are other standards that the United States Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal apply in considering interlocutory injunctions, and only applied the Madrainlai standard in that case because the parties had stipulated to that standard.

More recently than Madrainlai, the Ninth Circuit has recognized two standards for evaluating a claim for a preliminary injunction.  One is referred to as the “traditional” test and the other as the “alternative” test.  Am. Motorcyclist Ass’n v. Watt, 714 F.2d 962, 965 (9th Cir. 1983).  In American Motorcyclist, the court described the traditional test as follows:

The traditional equitable criteria for determining whether an injunction should issue are (1) have the movants established […]

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