Legal Memorandum: Purpose of a Preliminary Injunction

Issue: Whether the applicable legal standard supports issuance of the injunctive relief sought.

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Preliminary injunction; Preservation of status quo; Equitable powers of trial court
Jurisdiction: Arizona, Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 65
Date: 03/01/2009

A preliminary injunction is a provisional remedy; its purpose is to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable loss of rights prior to final disposition of the litigation.  Sierra On Line, Inc. v. Phoenix Software, Inc., 739 F.2d 1415, 1422 (9th Cir. 1984); see Best Western Int’l v. Patel, 523 F. Supp. 2d 979, 982 (D. Ariz. 2007).  “[T]he status quo is not simply any situation before the filing of the lawsuit, but rather the last uncontested status that preceded the parties’ controversy.”  Dep’t of Parks & Rec. v. Bazaar Del Mundo, Inc., 448 F.3d 1118, 1124 (9th Cir. 2006).

The trial court may grant a temporary restraining order and/or a preliminary injunction in the exercise of its equitable powers.  Fed. R. Civ. P. 65.  The grant or denial of temporary injunctive relief lies within the discretion of the district court and will not be reversed unless “the district court relied on an erroneous legal premise or abused its discretion.”  Big Country Foods v. Bd. of Educ. of Anchorage Sch. Dist., 868 F.2d 1085, 1087 (9th Cir. 1989).  A district court abuses its discretion in denying a request for a preliminary injunction if it bases its decision on clearly erroneous findings of fact.  Lands Council v. McNair, 537 F.3d 981, 986 (9th Cir. 2008).

The standard to be applied for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction is essentially the same.  See Optinrealbig.com, LLC v. Ironport Sys., Inc., 323 F. Supp. 2d 1037, 1047-48 (N.D. Cal. […]

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