Emergency Commercial Litigation, including Preliminary Injunctions and Temporary Restraining Orders

When another business or commercial venture is taking actions that are contrary to your contracted agreement or are otherwise unwarranted and extremely harmful to your business, the relief provided by engaging in commercial litigation to, hopefully, make a monetary recovery may be insufficient. In the time it takes for your legal matter to be decided or settled your brand may suffer significant, irreversible damage or your business may be forced to close.

Thus, there are clearly times when your business cannot wait for the slow wheels of justice to turn. However, courts have recognized that there are scenarios where injunctive relief going beyond monetary damages would be appropriate and prudent. The experienced commercial litigators of Meredith & Narine can help your business assess its legal position and determine if injunctive relief is appropriate for the situation your company faces.

When Can a Temporary restraining Order be Issued?

A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a type of restraining order that it issued with minimal or no notice to the targeted party. The goal of a TRO is to preserve the status of things as it exists until a court is able to hold a hearing in regards to a motion for a temporary restraining order. While in some circumstances the TRO can be filed and decided ex-parte, without having the other party present, such action is reserved for emergency situation. Typically a TRO is available only when all of the following are satisfied:

  • The specific facts alleged would lead to immediate and irreparable loss, injury, or damage to the moving party before the matter can be heard in court with opposition present.
  • The attorney for the party filing the TRO must set forth all attempts to give notice to the party in opposition and why notice should not be required.

A TRO granted under federal law is typically valid for up to 14 days. However, upon a showing of “good cause” the TRO’s duration may be extended to an additional 14 days.

emergency commercial litigation

When is a Preliminary Injunction Appropriate?

Preliminary injunctions share some similarities to TROs, but they are distinct legal tools. Like a TRO, the preliminary injunction is intended to provide an extraordinary remedy for imminent, irreparable harm. Unlike a TRO, a preliminary injunction requires timely and sufficient notice to be served on the opposing party. Furthermore under the federal rules and unlike the TRO, there are actually two forms a temporary restraining order can take.

The first form is known as a prohibitory injunction. An injunction of this type is similar to a TRO in that this type of temporary injunction prohibits the targeted party from taking certain actions or engaging in certain conduct. Thus, if a party is seeking to preserve the status quo a prohibitory injunction can be an important tool.

The other type of temporary injunction is known as a mandatory injunction. Unlike a prohibitory injunction that requires a party to not do something, this type of injunction compels a person or entity to take certain action. Thus, technically, a mandatory injunction upends the status quo to protect interests from imminent and irreparable harm by requiring some affirmative action. Since this type of injunction requires action to be taken, it is typically disfavored and requires the “movant to demonstrate a greater likelihood of success.”

When is Injunctive Relief Appropriate?

Injunctive relief is appropriate for many situations where there is an imminent and irreparable harm. However, one of the most common situations where injunctive relief can be appropriate is in franchisor-franchisee disputes. Common disputes where injunctive relief can be an essential legal tool includes:

  • Trademark infringement and False Advertising Under the Lanham Act – Franchisors aware of unfair competition and false advertising are empowered by the Lanham Act to seek an injunction to prevent the violation of any right of the registrant of the mark.
  • Enforcing system standards – Deviations from system standards can not only reflect poorly on your company, but they can also endanger the health and safety of the public. In these circumstances an injunction by the franchisor may be appropriate.
  • Enjoin franchise termination or non-renewal – Franchisees may believe that the franchisor is attempting to terminate the relationship without good cause or otherwise in contravention of the franchise agreement. An injunction may provide relief and prevent irreparable harm to the franchisee.
  • Enjoin franchise encroachment – Franchise agreements may contain exclusivity provisions. If franchisor is encroaching or violating this agreement the franchisee may be required to enjoin the franchisor in order to avoid irreparable damage to the business’ customer base.

Contact a Commercial Litigation Attorney

Injunctive relief is applicable to many commercial situations outside of the franchisee-franchisor relationship. To discuss if an TRO, temporary injunction, or other forms of relief is appropriate for your emergency business situation, contact the experienced commercial litigators of Meredith & Narine. To schedule a confidential legal consultation call us at 215-995-2769 or contact our firm online.

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