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Short-Circuiting Your Suit With a Preliminary Injunction

An oft-repeated mantra of civil litigators is that lawsuits are time consuming ordeals that can sometimes require entire years to resolve. Of course, sometimes a client comes to us with a problem on hand that simply cannot wait that long to be addressed. When there is a very imminent risk of “permanent irreparable harm,” sometimes a matter can be quickly--if temporarily--solved through a preliminary injunction.

A preliminary injunction is an order of the court, commanding the parties to observe a prescribed course of conduct, pending the outcome of litigation. One arena in which it frequently comes up is where covenants not to compete are being enforced–often because the wrongful poaching of another business’s customers can be very detrimental.

Obtaining preliminary relief from the Court is considered an unusual and extraordinary remedy. As such, you need to be amply prepared with powerful and compelling evidence in order to obtain this kind of relief. You’ll need evidence of at least the following:

First, you must prove that without the relief you’re requesting, you’re highly likely to immediately suffer permanent irreparable harm. In the commercial context, this is something akin to such a significant loss of revenue that a business is likely to fail and cease to exist altogether.

Second, you’ll have to prove a likelihood of success on the merits. You must convince the judge that, when it's all said and done, you’re likely at the end of the whole litigation to be entitled to the requested relief, anyways. In other words, you've got to prove your case when it's barely started!

Third, you may also have to prove that the harm that the injunction will cause to the opposing party is outweighed by the harm you’re likely to suffer if the injunction is not granted. This requires a careful balancing by the court that considers any of a number of factors.

Ultimately, the evidence on all these issues must be powerful and compelling in order for it to have the intended effect. Sometimes, however, you may still be required to post a bond to cover potential damage to the other party if it turns out the injunction was wrongful.

At Asheville Legal, we’ve walked this path a number of times, and know all the tricks of the trade to maximize your opportunity for preliminary relief. If you’re concerned about getting immediate relief through civil litigation because you’re facing imminent irreparable harm, then you should reach out and contact the trial attorneys at Asheville Legal right away--after all, delay will suggest tot he judge that the harm may not have been so "imminent" in the first place.

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