What Is An Injunction?

An injunction is an order issued by a judge that forces a person or entity to perform an action or stop taking certain action. 

Generally, Indiana law requires the moving party to prove several elements before granting an injunction. Specifically, the moving party must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence: a reasonable likelihood of success at trial; the remedies at law are inadequate; the threatened injury to the movant outweighs the potential harm to the nonmoving party; and the public interest would not be disserved by granting the requested injunction. Cent. Ind. Podiatry, P.C. v. Krueger, 882 N.E.2d 723, 727 (Ind. 2008). 

A hearing must be held to obtain an injunction. In emergencies, a court can issue a temporary restraining order that prohibits or requires action without notice to the non-moving party. These emergency orders are much more limited in duration than injunctions, which require notice. To obtain an injunction, the Court will require the moving party to give security to safeguard against a wrongful injunction being entered. This security can be paid into the Court in cash, or the moving party can obtain a bond or some other form of financial security to protect the non-moving party. A permanent injunction is typically only entered after a trial on the merits.

Reasonable Likelihood of Success on the Merits

Indiana courts have interpreted this element as requiring the Plaintiff to establish a prima facie case. Norlund v. Faust, 675 N.E.2d 1142, 1149 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997), clarified on denial of reh'g, 675 N.E.2d 1142. A “prima facie” case is “such evidence as is sufficient to establish a given fact and which will remain sufficient if uncontradicted. ”Johnson v. State, 258 Ind. 648, 283 N.E.2d 648, 651 (1972). In other words, a Plaintiff does not need to convince the Court that the Plaintiff will actually win in order to obtain an injunction, but must convince the Court that it has enough evidence to win if the other side does not come forth with contradictory evidence.

Plaintiff Does Not Have Adequate Remedies at Law

Courts will generally not issue injunctions in cases where only money is at issue. Courts take the view that money damages can be awarded after a full trial on the merits. Injunctions are used only to prevent irreparable harm or “harm which cannot be compensated for through damages upon resolution of the underlying action. ”Coates v. Heat Wagons, Inc., 942 N.E.2d 905, 912 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011). 

Even when a legal remedy is possible, the trial court should award injunctive relief “where a legal remedy will be inadequate because it provides incomplete relief or relief that is inefficient to the ends of justice and its prompt administration.” Id. In other words, injunctive relief is proper when it is “more practical, efficient, or adequate than that afforded by law. ”Barlow v. Spies, 744 N.E.2d 1, 6 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001).

Harm to Plaintiffs of Denying Injunctive Relief Outweighs Harm to Defendant of Granting Injunctive Relief

An injunction will only be granted if the harm to the Plaintiffs of denying the injunctive relief outweighs the harm to the Defendant of granting injunctive relief. Robert’s Hair Designers, Inc. v. Pearson, 780 N.E.2d 858, 863 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002).

Public Interest is Not Disserved by Granting Injunctive Relief

The Judge will always consider whether it is in the public interest to grant or deny a request for an injunction. In other words, the Judge will “consider whether a greater injury would be done by granting the injunction that would result from a refusal to do so.” State ex rel. Atty. Gen. v. Lake Superior Court, 820 N.E.2d 1240, 1255 (Ind. 2005).

While injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy, certain cases require this type of equitable relief. Injunctions are particularly appropriate when parties are suffering non-economic damages, as the general benefit of an injunction is that it allows for special non-monetary remedies to a problem. While injunctions are considered extraordinary remedies, an injunction often is the only way to force a party to comply with a prior agreement or stop unwanted or harmful behavior. Injunctions thus serve an important and useful purpose in our legal system. 

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