What is an Injunction

An injunction is a court order requiring a person or entity to either cease doing or do a specific action. There are three types: temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions and permanent injunctions. Restraining orders and preliminary injunctions are typically issued early in a legal action when the court agrees that doing so may prevent harmful actions by a defendant. Restraining orders are often used to prevent a defendant from having contact with a plaintiff. Preliminary and permanent injunctions are issued based on evidence presented by a plaintiff in a civil case.


An example of a preliminary injunction might be when a married couple owns a business, is going through a divorce, and there is a dispute as to who owns or controls the business. If the husband tried to make unilateral business decisions, the wife might file for a temporary injunction to prevent certain business activities until the court decided the ownership issue.

Injunctions are also used by a court when monetary restitution isn't sufficient to remedy the harm. For example, in addition to making a financial judgment against a defendant, a court might issue a permanent injunction ordering that the defendant not participate in a certain activity or business.

Obtaining an Injunction

In order to be granted a temporary injunction, a plaintiff typically needs to show the court that they have a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of their case, can show potential injury if the injunction is not granted, can demonstrate that the potential injury outweighs whatever damage the injunction may cause the opposing party, and that the benefit or harm to the parties is equitable.

In order to be granted a permanent injunction, the plaintiff will need to demonstrate having suffered an irreparable injury, that monetary damages alone are not adequate, that the order is warranted considering that balance of hardships between the parties, and the order would not harm the public interest.