irreparable harm

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Irreparable harm is harm that would not be adequately compensated by monetary damages or an award of damages that cannot be provided with adequate compensation months later. It is a requirement for the issuance of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. The movant usually needs to prove that he or she will suffer irreparable harm if the preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order is not granted.

Examples of Irreparable Harm:

  • Injury to reputation or goodwill
  • Deprivation of constitutional rights, such as the right to free speech
  • Enjoining dredging operations in living coral reefs that were about to be declared a national monument
  • Loss by an athletic team of the services of a star athlete
  • Suspension of the boxing license of the World Heavyweight Champion

Whether irreparable harm is presumed in patent cases is still an open issue.


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