In Louisiana, like everywhere else, the wheels of justice can seem to turn slowly.  However, in certain cases, the plaintiff may require immediate action in order to prohibit someone from causing further damage.  In such cases, injunctive relief may be appropriate.  Injunctions seek to preserve the status quo of a relationship between parties and prevent further harm until there is an opportunity for a trial.

What Is A Temporary Restraining Order?

While movies and television have created the idea that a temporary restraining order (TRO) is mainly used to keep a crazy ex-boyfriend away, a business owner can employ the use of TRO’s to protect their business from all types of activities which could cause their business harm.

Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure art. 3603 provides that a TRO shall be granted without notice when:

  1. It clearly appears from specific facts shown by a verified petition or affidavit that immediate and irreparable loss, or damage will result to the applicant before the adverse party or his attorney can be heard in opposition, and
  2. The applicant’s attorney certifies in writing the efforts which have been made to give notice or the reasons supporting the applicant’s claim that notice should not be required.

A TRO can be a useful tool as, per the code of civil procedure, it can be granted ex parte and without the need for a formal hearing.  In matters when irreparable harm will likely ensue and there is no time for the formalities of an ordinary or summary proceeding, the law provides the plaintiff with an opportunity for quick and efficient protection.

Further, while the code article holds that there must be a showing of irreparable harm, courts have stated that where there is proof that a statutory violation or illegal act will result, it is not necessary to establish irreparable harm to qualify for a TRO.

What Is A Preliminary Injunction?

A preliminary injunction is designed to preserve the exiting status quo pending a trial on the merits of a case.  Similar to the standards of a temporary restraining order, the plaintiff must show by a preponderance of the evidence, i.e. greater than 50%, that he will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted, and that he is entitled to relief sought.  Moreover, he must make a showing that he would prevail on the issue at a trial on the merits.

In addition, a preliminary injunction further differs from a TRO in that while it is effective for a longer period of time, it requires a hearing to obtain.  In essence, one would obtain a TRO until an opportunity for a preliminary injunction hearing, and then a preliminary injunction until an opportunity for a trial.  Similar to a TRO, a showing of irreparable harm is not necessary if the conduct sought to be restrained is unlawful or prohibited.  Further, a showing of irreparable harm is not imperative if the defendant is in violation of an obligation not to do something.

What Is A Permanent Injunction?

            A permanent injunction permanently restrains conduct.  A permanent injunction proceeding includes summary proceedings—the TRO and preliminary injunction—to compel or prohibit a disputed act until the trial.  A permanent injunction issues upon the same showing of evidence as a preliminary injunction, but since the preliminary injunction is designed to quickly protect a party from irreparable harm, a permanent injunction requires a full evidentiary hearing or trial on the merits with both sides given the opportunity to present their case in full.