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Legal Memorandum: Purpose of Preliminary Injunctions in MH

Issue: Under the laws of the Marshall Islands, what should a court consider as the primary purpose of a preliminary injunction?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Preliminary injunction; Purpose; Preservation of rights
Jurisdiction: Federal, Marshall Islands
Cited Cases: 868 F.2d 1085
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2004

The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve rights pending resolution of the merits of the case by trial.  Big Country Foods, Inc. v. Bd. of Educ., 868 F.2d 1085, 1087 (9th Cir. 1989).  Preliminary injunctions may be utilized to “freeze assets,” that is to enjoin a party from transferring assets in violation of the rights of another owner of the assets.  See Elliott v. Kiesewetter, 98 F.3d 47, 50 (3d Cir. 1996).  In Elliott, the intended beneficiaries of family assets were granted a preliminary injunction preventing the managers of those assets from dissipating the assets.  Accordingly, the purpose for which the preliminary injunction was granted, without an evidentiary hearing, was “to preserve the assets and property in the possession, custody or control of [defendant] that will be necessary to satisfy the judgment and other equitable remedies ultimately to be entered [in the action] in order to make [the beneficiaries] whole.”  Id. at 52.  In Elliott, the court held that an asset-freeze order preserving assets from dissipation serves the “proper purpose of preserving the status quo.”  Id. at 61.  In the Ninth Circuit case of Connecticut Gen. Life Ins. Co. v. New Images, 321 F.3d 878, 882 (9th Cir. 2003), a preliminary injunction was similarly utilized to freeze assets and prevent asset transfers pending trial.  Accord Kabua v. Kabua, 1 MILR 60, passim, (Apr. 18, 1988). 

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