How Injunctions Work

Injunctions are court orders that require a defendant to take certain action or refrain from taking certain actions. In some circumstances a money judgment from a court may not be sufficient to make a party whole from another’s misconduct. In such cases, an injunction is often an appropriate remedy. There are different types of injunctions that are available in Maryland.

There are three types of injunctions, or stages to injunctive relief, under Maryland law: (1) a temporary restraining order; (2) a preliminary injunction; and (3) a permanent injunction.

Temporary Restraining Order. A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a type of injunction issued early on in a case and is intended to maintain the “status quo.” A TRO lasts no more than 10 days in the case of a Maryland resident defendant and no more than 35 days in the case of a nonresident. It can be extended by the court for good cause.

Preliminary Injunction. A preliminary inunction is also designed to maintain the “status quo” and lasts until the court either addresses or resolves the merits of the controversy by either issuing a permanent injunction or determining that the claimant is not entitled to a permanent injunction.

In both a TRO and a preliminary injunction, the “status quo” that the court seeks to maintain refers to “the last, actual, peaceable, non-contested status which preceded the pending controversy.”

Final or Permanent Injunction. A permanent injunction is a final resolution granted by the court after a determination of the merits.

In order to obtain an injunction, a party must prove four things in court:

  1. That the party has some right which will be irreparably damaged in the absence of an injunction.
  2. That the benefits to the plaintiff in obtaining the injunction are equal to or outweigh the potential harm which the defendant would incur, were the inunction granted.
  3. That the plaintiff will suffer irreparable injury unless the injunction is granted. The injury need not “be beyond all possibility of compensation in damages, nor need it be very great.”
  4. When appropriate, that public interest is best served by granting the injunction.

The party seeking an injunction has the burden of showing that there are facts to support these factors. The party must prove each of the four factors. The party seeking the injunction must establish that it has a real probability of prevailing on the merits, not just a possibility.

When granting a TRO or Preliminary Injunction, the court may require the party receiving the benefit of the ruling to post a bond. This bond is designed to protect the party against whom the order is entered against damages that may be sustained because of the injunction.

Injunctions are issued for a variety of reasons. For example, a court may issue an injunction when a party is interfering with someone proper use of their property by another, such as when one party has an easement, but the other is not allowing them to use it. An injunction may be granted when a party is engaging in conduct that is not permitted by a contract, such as conducting business in violation of a non-compete agreement. There are many reasons why a court may grant an injunction, and these are just a couple examples out of many possibilities.

Injunctions are designed to help a party obtain just relief from the court when a judgment for money damages is inadequate.

The information contained on this page is provided as general information and does not constitute legal advice. The experienced attorneys at Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. can assist you if you are involved in a claim involving an inunction. Contact our office to schedule a no-obligation consultation to review your rights. A consultation fee may apply.