Legal Memorandum: Requirements for a Preliminary Injunction

Issue: When will the federal courts grant a preliminary injunction?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Preliminary injunction; Requirements
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 920 F.2d 187; 429 F.2d 1197; 344 F.2d 775; 689 F.2d 1137
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2001

           Four factors must be established by a party seeking a preliminary injunction:  (a) irreparable harm to the plaintiff absent such relief;  (b) absence of substantial harm to other interested parties;  (c) absence of harm to the public interest;  and (d) a likelihood that the plaintiff will prevail on the merits.  See Merchant & Evans, Inc. v. Roosevelt Building Prods. Co., 963 F.2d 628, 632 (3d Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds.  The party seeking injunctive relief has the burden of proof.  Opticians Ass’n v. Independent Opticians, 920 F.2d 187, 192 (3d Cir.1990).

The moving party has to produce evidence sufficient to convince the court that in the absence of relief it would suffer irreparable injury.  See Crouch v. Prior, 905 F. Supp. 248, 255 (D.V.I. 1995).

The issuance of injunctive relief can only operate prospectively.  See Virgin Islands Tree Boa v. Witt, 918 F. Supp. 879, 905 (D.V.I. 1996).  If there is no showing of present harm, the issuance of a preliminary injunction would be improper.  Witt, supra at 903-05.

Lack of proof of actual damages were suffered does not establish inadequacy of its remedy at law.  Instead, such a failure of proof simply shows that the entity was not wronged and so was not entitled to a remedy at all.  Witt, supra at 892.  See In re Arthur Treacher’s Franchisee Litigation, 689 F.2d 1137 (3d Cir. 1982) (preliminary injunction vacated where loss can be fully compensated by monetary […]

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