Legal Memorandum: Obtaining a Temporary Injunction in MN

Issue: Under Minnesota law, how does a plaintiff demonstrate irreparable harm and/or a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits in order to obtain a temporary injunction?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Temporary injunction; Irreparable harm; No adequate remedy at law exists
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 272 Minn. 264; 358 N.W.2d 108; 458 N.W.2d 728; 137 N.W.2d 314; 630 N.W.2d 438; 260 Minn. 499
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2012

             “The party seeking the injunction must establish that no adequate remedy at law exists and that the injunction is needed to avoid irreparable harm.”  Medtronic, Inc. v. Advanced Bionics Corp., 630 N.W.2d 438, 451 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001).  In addition, “[t]here are five factors that must be weighed when determining whether to issue a temporary injunction: 1) the nature of the relationship between the parties preexisting the dispute giving rise to the request for relief, 2) the harm to be suffered by one party if the temporary injunction is denied compared with the harm inflicted on the other party if relief is granted, 3) the likelihood that one party or the other will prevail on the merits, 4) public policy, and 5) the administrative burdens in supervising and enforcing the injunction.”  Softchoice Inc. v. Schmidt, 763 N.W.2d 660, 666 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009) (citing Dahlberg Bros., Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 272 Minn. 264, 274-75, 137 N.W.2d 314, 321-22 (1965)).  It is recognized that the most important of the Dahlberg factors is the third one, a party’s likelihood of prevailing on the merits at trial.  Id.        

Another factor of special importance is the second, the relative balance of harms.  Indeed, this factor is so significant that without regard to the other four factors, the failure of the moving party to demonstrate he will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of the injunction dooms the motion.  […]