An injunction is a “court order requiring a person to do or cease doing a specific action” (Cornell Law School). The order for an injunction is carried out typically “for someone who has been or is in danger of being harmed, or needs some help (relief)” (Law.com) and can be given before or after a lawsuit. If given before, the goal is to ensure that nothing changes before the case can come before the judge. For example, a temporary restraining order is given before the lawsuit to make sure that a person cannot continue to do what he or she has been accused of doing. If given after a lawsuit, the goal is to fix the problem caused by the person’s actions. An injunction given after a lawsuit requires one of the legal parties to do something for the other party. This may include paying compensation for permanent damages.
Examples of injunctions include:
Prohibitions against cutting trees, creating nuisances, polluting a stream, picketing which goes beyond the bounds of free speech and assembly, or removing funds from a bank account pending determination of ownership. Return of property, keeping a gate to a road unlocked, clearing off tree limbs from a right-of-way, turning on electricity or heat in an apartment building, or depositing disputed funds with the court. (Law.com)
The lady requested an injunction or restraining order against her stalker until she could prove her accusations.
The Sereboffs were injured in a car accident in California. Their employer paid the medical bills through the company insurance, but did not get reimbursed when the couple won their lawsuit against the other drivers. The insurance company requested an injunction against the couple requiring them to set aside the reimbursement amount from the proceeds they won in the lawsuit. This ensured that they did not spend it before the insurance company could potentially legally claim it back. The court granted the injunction so the couple could not use that money until the case had been resolved.
Other Important Information
Injunctions are given to prevent harm, especially a harm that cannot be repaired. This is different from most court decisions that just try to fix a harm that already happened.
There are two types of injunctions:
- Temporary injunction: An immediate order given to prevent imminent irreparable harm which stays in effect until either the hearing or the end of the lawsuit.
- Permanent injunction: A final and continuing injunction, which stays in force after the outcome of the lawsuit has been decided
Injunctions are rarely given, especially after the outcome of a case has been determined. They are typically given only when money cannot fully fix the problem, but some other action can. For example, sometimes a company is the only one that can make a certain product. If a person buys something from them and they later refuse to make that product, money cannot make up what this person lost since she cannot pay anyone else to make it. If a person fails to follow the injunction, he can be punished with a crime (i.e. contempt of court). The request for an injunction must be made at the trial court. It cannot be made on a later appeal.
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