injunctive relief

Primary tabs

Injunctive relief, also known as an injunction, is a remedy which restrains a party from doing certain acts or requires a party to act in a certain way. It is generally only available when there is no other remedy at law and irreparable harm will result if the relief is not granted. The purpose of this form of relief is to prevent future wrong. Such orders, when issued before a judgement, are known as preliminary injunctions that can be punished as contempt if not obeyed. Due to its coercive force, a grant of injunctive relief is subject to immediate review by an appellate court. The standard for review is an abuse of discretion. As such, an injunctive relief will be overturned if the appellate court finds that the trial court issued the relief based on an misapplication of the law or an erroneous factual finding. 

Injunctive relief is generally only granted in extreme circumstances. The party seeking a preliminary injunctive relief must demonstrate: (1) irreparable injury in the absence of such an order; (2) that the threatened injury to the moving party outweighs the harm to the opposing party resulting from the order; (3) that the injunction is not adverse to public interest; and (4) that the moving party has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. In considering these factors, courts have been described to apply a "sliding scale" approach where the more likely a movant will succeed on the merits, the less irreparable harm (to the movant) needs to be shown in granting the injunction. There is no mathematical means of balancing these factors, therefore, the "sliding scale" approach is based on a court's intuitive judgement. It is worth noting that courts will not find irreparable harm where the damages sustained are calculable. New York has held that in such situations, monetary damages serve as an adequate remedy.

Under the Federal scheme, Rule 65 codifies the requirements for injunctive relief.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]