What is Injunctive Relief? Grounds, 4 Types (& Examples)

What is injunctive relief?

Civil litigation and arbitration are legal proceedings for obtaining justice and other remedies against a party that’s wronged you. While monetary damages and compensation are common, other equitable remedies exist. What is injunctive relief and how can it help your case? We have those answers and more as we discuss the different types and common grounds for seeking such a claim.

What Is Injunctive Relief? Our Definition

Our injunctive relief definition: A type of equitable remedy you can obtain via court order that requires another party to take or stop a particular action because of the irreparable harm it would cause. The injunctive relief meaning refers to different types of injunctions that have a distinct purpose across different stages of litigation and underlying grounds.

Common Grounds for Injunction

A petition for injunctive relief, whether temporary or permanent, has its place in a variety of legal claims and contexts. Below are some particularly common grounds for somebody to seek an injunction.

You May See an Injunction in Real Estate-Related Claims

Injunctive relief real estate is especially common in claims arising out of the use or development of property. The reason injunctive relief is so useful in this context is that real estate often involves permanent and expensive actions. Just ask our Florida real estate attorney.

Sometimes, real estate will draw considerable public interest when it comes to the use of community land or buildings, environmental claims, and other issues that are ripe for injunction. In private settings, real estate transactions may involve special types of property injunctions, known as specific performance, in lieu of monetary damages.

With specific performance, the court requires actual performance from a party in transferring title to property because of the unique nature of real estate. In other words, you can’t really put a price tag on the real estate, so courts enforce these types of property injunctions.

Injunctive Relief for Breach of Contract

Money damages are the more common in breach of contract disputes because you are usually trying to rectify a past harm that can’t be undone. However, you may also seek legal remedy involving injunctive relief in cases where the contract is ongoing or the non-moving party could continue an activity that would be damaging to you.

For example, you may have a noncompete agreement with a former employee where you want money damages for past harms but also want a court-ordered injunction to prevent the former employee from engaging in further competitive behavior.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims May Also Necessitate Injunctive Relief

Another area of law where you could have a likelihood of success for injunctive relief is lawsuits involving breach of fiduciary duty claims. You often see these claims in cases involving trustees or personal representatives who are administering another’s estate (e.g., buying or selling assets, making distributions to beneficiaries, or other common tasks).

You could also have grounds for an injunction against a fiduciary of an LLC, corporation, or other business. Fiduciaries of businesses are your executives, managers, board of directors, and other agents who have responsibility to the organization. You typically see claims for injunctive relief from shareholders to stop a corporation’s agent from taking action that would harm the company (e.g., merging with another company, selling valuable assets, or mishandling funds).

Injunctions to Protect Trade Secrets and Other Infringements of Intellectual Property

As trademark lawyers ourselves, we often see that claims over intellectual property like trade secrets, copyrights, patents, and trademarks are also common grounds for injunctive relief. The moving party is usually the one that has ownership or licensed IP rights and wants a court to issue a final judgment prohibiting future use of the protected property.

You may think of a knockoff brand that uses a similar trademark that confuses customers and takes business away from the actual owner. Injunctive relief could prevent the infringing party from using the trademark and selling the knockoffs.

You Can Use Injunctive Relief to Abate Nuisances and Other Torts

Finally, injunctions have their value in variety of tort claims such as nuisance abatements, negligence, or other tortious acts. Common irreparable harm examples are neighbor disputes where one party plays loud music, uses bright lights, or takes other action that detracts from your quiet use and enjoyment of your property. The injunction would serve to stop any future annoying behavior from the neighbor.

What Are the 4 Types of Injunctive Relief?

When filing a motion for injunctive relief, you will likely seek a particular type of injunctive remedy to address the defendant’s harmful actions or inactions. We explain each of these types with examples in the next section, but they include:

  • Preliminary injunction
  • Permanent injunction
  • Mandatory injunction
  • Prohibitory injunction

Descriptions and Examples of Injunction Types

Here, we detail some different injunctive relief examples and showcase how each example of injunction may apply to your needs.

1. Preliminary Injunctive Relief

Preliminary injunctions and immediate emergency injunctive relief are a type of legal remedy that courts usually employ while a claim is in process. Courts prefer these to permanent injunctions while a case is ongoing to prevent future harm from occurring while leaving the possibility open to remove the injunction should the facts of the case warrant it.

Preliminary Injunction Example

A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a common preliminary injunctive relief example. For instance, a court order placing the sale of a company on hold while a breach of fiduciary duty or a shareholder derivative lawsuit is ongoing.

2. Permanent Injunctive Relief

Permanent injunctions are final judgments that courts impose on a party to either take an action or discontinue an action in perpetuity or while the judgment is in effect.

Permanent Injunction Example

What is an example of injunctive relief that is permanent? You might think about a real estate development that a court stops after environmental groups force its closure because protected wildlife species have been found on the premises.

3. Mandatory Injunctive Relief

Mandatory injunctions are those where the nonmoving party has to perform actions rather than discontinue what they were doing. They are also known as a positive injunction or an affirmative injunction.

Mandatory Injunction Example

An example of a mandatory injunction would be the specific performance in a real estate sale mentioned before. In that case, the performing act would be the court forcing the seller to follow through with the transfer of the property.

4. Prohibitory Injunctive Relief

Prohibitory injunctions refer to court orders that require a party to cease or discontinue a particular course of action.

Prohibitory Injunctive Example

You may think back to our discussion of neighbors and nuisance abatements when thinking of an example of a prohibitory injunction relief. There, the court would be ordering the neighbor to stop actions that create the nuisance (e.g., loud music, obnoxious lighting, etc.). Alternatively, you might think of trademark infringement cases. Part of the result of a successful infringement claim is a court order demanding the infringing party to stop any further use of the trademark of other IP they don’t own.

What Is an Injunctive Relief Clause?

An injunctive relief clause is when parties to a contract expressly prohibit one party from taking certain actions because doing so would cause harm to the other party of the contract. Injunction contract law refers to the enforceability of these provisions, which are not uncommon amongst sophisticated parties seeking to protect themselves or manage future risk from a deal. Having an injunctive relief clause can also make it easier to seek a judgment in court.

Need Help with Injunctive Relief Law?

If you need help pursuing or defending a claim that potentially involves injunctive relief, then the litigation attorneys at Cueto Law Group are here to help. We offer our clients legal advice on the possible strategies for achieving desired outcomes in these types of cases and the likelihood of their success. Alternatively, if you are wondering about incorporating injunctive relief clauses into your contracts, then our business attorneys are available to negotiate and structure these provisions to protect your business interests.

Schedule your consultation with Cueto Law Group for help with an injunction-related claim.

Our Conclusion on Injunctive Relief

Court orders that involve injunctive relief are serious matters that can come with severe consequences if you disobey them such as being held in contempt of court. Likewise, seeking injunctive relief can be an important step towards preserving your rights and preventing irreparable harm while pursuing monetary damages and other relief in a final judgment.