Injunction

Last updated

An injunction is a legal and equitable remedy in the form of a special court order that compels a party to do or refrain from specific acts. [1] "When a court employs the extraordinary remedy of injunction, it directs the conduct of a party, and does so with the backing of its full coercive powers." [2] A party that fails to comply with an injunction faces criminal or civil penalties, including possible monetary sanctions and even imprisonment. They can also be charged with contempt of court. Counterinjunctions are injunctions that stop or reverse the enforcement of another injunction.

A legal remedy, also judicial relief or a judicial remedy, is the means with which a court of law, usually in the exercise of civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes another court order to impose its will.

Equitable remedies are judicial remedies developed by courts of equity from about the time of Henry VIII to provide more flexible responses to changing social conditions than was possible in precedent-based common law.

A court order is an official proclamation by a judge that defines the legal relationships between the parties to a hearing, a trial, an appeal or other court proceedings. Such ruling requires or authorizes the carrying out of certain steps by one or more parties to a case. A court order must be signed by a judge; some jurisdictions may also require it to be notarized.

Contents

Rationale

The injunction is an equitable remedy, [3] that is, a remedy that originated in the English courts of equity. Like other equitable remedies, it has traditionally been given when a wrong cannot be effectively remedied by an award of money damages. (The doctrine that reflects this is the requirement that an injunction can be given only when there is "no adequate remedy at law.") Injunctions are intended to make whole again someone whose rights have been violated. Nevertheless, when deciding whether to grant an injunction, courts also take into account the interests of non-parties (that is, the public interest). When deciding whether to give an injunction, and deciding what its scope should be, courts give special attention to questions of fairness and good faith. One manifestation of this is that injunctions are subject to equitable defenses, such as laches and unclean hands. [4]

A court of equity, equity court or chancery court is a court that is authorized to apply principles of equity, as opposed to those of law, to cases brought before it.

Laches (equity)

Laches refers to a lack of diligence and activity in making a legal claim, or moving forward with legal enforcement of a right, particularly in regard to equity; hence, it is an unreasonable delay that can be viewed as prejudicing the opposing [defending] party. When asserted in litigation, it is an equity defense, that is, a defense to a claim for an equitable remedy. The person invoking laches is asserting that an opposing party has "slept on its rights", and that, as a result of this delay, circumstances have changed, witnesses or evidence may have been lost or no longer available, etc., such that it is no longer a just resolution to grant the plaintiff's claim. Laches is associated with the maxim of equity, "Equity aids the vigilant, not the sleeping ones [that is, those who sleep on their rights]." Put another way, failure to assert one’s rights in a timely manner can result in a claim being barred by laches.

Injunctions are given in many different kinds of cases. They can prohibit future violations of the law, such as trespass to real property, infringement of a patent, or the violation of a constitutional right (e.g., the free exercise of religion). Or they can require the defendant to repair past violations of the law.

An injunction can require someone to do something, like clean up an oil spill or remove a spite fence. Or it can prohibit someone from doing something, like using an illegally obtained trade secret. An injunction that requires conduct is called a "mandatory injunction." An injunction that prohibits conduct is called a "prohibitory injunction." [5] Many injunctions are both—that is, they have both mandatory and prohibitory components, because they require some conduct and forbid other conduct.

Spite fence boundary developed to make a neighbors property worse

Spite fence is a term used in American property law to refer to an overly tall fence, structure in the nature of a fence, or a row of trees, bushes, or hedges, constructed or planted between adjacent lots by a property owner, who is annoyed with or wishes to annoy a neighbor, or who wishes to completely obstruct the view between lots. Several U.S. states and local governments have regulations to prohibit spite fences, or related regulations such as those establishing a maximum allowed height for fences. In the United Kingdom, the terms spite wall or blinder wall are more commonly used.

When an injunction is given, it can be enforced with equitable enforcement mechanisms such as contempt. [6] It can also be modified or dissolved (upon a proper motion to the court) if circumstances change in the future. [7] These features of the injunction allow a court granting one to manage the behavior of the parties. That is the most important distinction between the injunction and another non-monetary remedy in American law, the declaratory judgment. [8] Another way these two remedies are distinguished is that the declaratory judgment is sometimes available at an earlier point in a dispute than the injunction. [8]

In United States law

Form

Injunctions in the United States tend to come in three main forms, temporary injunctions, preliminary injunctions and permanent injunctions. [9] [10] For both temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, the goal is usually to preserve the status quo until the court is able to decide the case.

Temporary restraining orders

A special kind of injunction that may be issued before trial is called a "temporary restraining order" or TRO. A TRO may be issued without notice to the other party or a hearing. A TRO will be given only for a short period of time before a court can schedule a hearing at which the restrained person may appear and contest the order. If the TRO is contested, the court must decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction. Temporary restraining orders are often, but not exclusively, given to prevent domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, or harassment. [10]

Preliminary injunctions

Preliminary injunctions are given before trial. Because they are issued at an early stage, before the court has heard the evidence and made a decision in the case, they are more rarely given. The requirements for a preliminary injunction tend to be the same as for a permanent injunction, with the additional requirement that the party asking for the injunction is likely to succeed on the merits. [11]

Permanent injunctions

Permanent injunctions are issued after trial. Different federal and state courts sometimes have slightly different requirements for obtaining a permanent injunction. Typical requirements include: [12] [13]

  1. that without an injunction the plaintiff would suffer irreparable injury or harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law;
  2. that the balance of hardships does not strongly cut against giving an injunction; and
  3. that the injunction would not disserve the public interest.

The balance of hardships inquiry is also sometimes called the "undue hardship defense". [14]

Use

Injunctions have been especially important at two moments in American history.

First, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, federal courts used injunctions to break strikes by unions. For example, after the United States government successfully used an injunction to outlaw the Pullman boycott in 1894 in In re Debs , employers found that they could obtain federal court injunctions to ban strikes and organizing activities of all kinds by unions. These injunctions were often extremely broad; one injunction issued by a federal court in the 1920s effectively barred the United Mine Workers of America from talking to workers who had signed yellow dog contracts with their employers. Unable to limit what they called "government by injunction" in the courts, labor and its allies persuaded the United States Congress in 1932 to pass the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which imposed so many procedural and substantive limits on the federal courts' power to issue injunctions that it effectively prohibited federal court from issuing injunctions in cases arising out of labor disputes. A number of states followed suit and enacted "Little Norris-LaGuardia Acts" that imposed similar limitations on state courts' powers. The courts have since recognized a limited exception to the Norris-LaGuardia Act's strict limitations in those cases in which a party seeks injunctive relief to enforce the grievance arbitration provisions of a collective bargaining agreement.

Second, injunctions were crucial to the second half of the twentieth century in the desegregation of American schools. Federal courts gave injunctions that carried out the command of Brown v Board of Education to integrate public schools in the United States, and at times courts took over the management of public schools in order to ensure compliance. (An injunction that puts a court in the position of taking over and administering an institution—such as a school, a prison, or a hospital—is often called a "structural injunction".)

Injunctions remain widely used to require government officials to comply with the Constitution, and they are also frequently used in private law disputes about intellectual property, real property, and contracts. Many state and federal statutes, including environmental statutes, civil rights statutes and employment-discrimination statutes, are enforced with injunctions.

Antitrust intervention and injunctions for patent infringement

The DOJ and the FTC have investigated patent holders in the United States for seeking preliminary injunctions against accused infringers of standard-essential patents, or patents that the patent holder must license on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. [15] There is an ongoing debate among legal and economic scholars with major implications for antitrust policy in the United States as well as in other countries over the statutory limits to the patent holder's right to seek and obtain injunctive relief against infringers of standard-essential patents. [16] Citing concerns of the absence of competition facing the patent holder once its technology is locked-in to the standard, some scholars argue that the holder of a standard-essential patent should face antitrust liability when seeking an injunction against an implementer of a standard. [17] Other scholars assert that patent holders are not contractually restrained from pursuing injunctions for standard-essential patent claims and that patent law is already capable of determining whether an injunction against an infringer of standard-essential patents will impose a net cost on consumers, thus obviating the role of antitrust enforcement. [18]

Australian apprehended violence orders

In the state of New South Wales, a court may grant an apprehended violence order (AVO) to a person who fears violence, harassment, abuse, or stalking. [19] The order prohibits the defendant from assaulting, harassing, threatening, stalking, or intimidating the person seeking the order. Other conditions may be included, such as a prohibition against contacting the person or attempting to find the person online. [20] A court may issue the order if it believes a person has reasonable grounds for their fears or has no reasonable grounds for their fears. Non-compliance may result in the imposition of a fine, imprisonment, or both, and deportation.

UK super-injunctions

In England and Wales, injunctions whose existence and details may not be legally reported, in addition to facts or allegations which may not be disclosed, have been issued; they have been informally dubbed "super-injunctions". [21] [22]

An example was the super-injunction raised in September 2009 by Carter-Ruck solicitors on behalf of oil trader Trafigura, prohibiting the reporting of an internal Trafigura report into the 2006 Ivory Coast toxic waste dump scandal. The existence of the super-injunction was revealed only when it was referred to in a parliamentary question that was subsequently circulated on the Internet (parliamentary privilege protects statements by MPs in Parliament which would otherwise be held to be in contempt of court). Before it could be challenged in court, the injunction was varied to permit reporting of the question. [23] By long legal tradition, parliamentary proceedings may be reported without restriction. [24] Parliamentary proceedings are covered by absolute privilege, but the reporting of those proceedings in newspapers is only covered by qualified privilege. Another example of the use of a super-injunction was in a libel case in which a plaintiff who claimed he was defamed by family members in a dispute over a multimillion-pound family trust obtained anonymity for himself and for his relatives. [25]

Roy Greenslade credits the former editor of The Guardian , Alan Rusbridger, with coining the word "super-injunction" in an article about the Trafigura affair in September 2009. [26]

The term "hyper-injunction" has also been used to describe an injunction similar to a super-injunction but also including an order that the injunction must not be discussed with members of Parliament, journalists, or lawyers. One known hyper-injunction was obtained at the High Court in 2006, preventing its subject from saying that paint used in water tanks on passenger ships can break down and release potentially toxic chemicals. [27] [28] This example became public knowledge in Parliament under parliamentary privilege. [29]

By May 2011, Private Eye claimed to be aware of 53 super-injunctions and anonymised privacy injunctions, [30] though Lord Neuberger's report into the use of super-injunctions revealed that only two super-injunctions had been granted since January 2010. Many media sources were wrongly describing all gagging orders as super-injunctions. [31] The widespread media coverage of super-injunctions led to a drop in numbers after 2011; however four were granted in the first five months of 2015. [32]

See also

Related Research Articles

Equity (law) Set of legal principles supplementing but distinct from the Common Law

In jurisdictions following the English common law system, equity is the body of law which was developed in the English Court of Chancery and which is now administered concurrently with the common law.

United States antitrust law collection of federal and state government laws, which regulates the conduct and organization of business corporations, generally to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumers

In the United States, antitrust law is a collection of federal and state government laws that regulates the conduct and organization of business corporations, generally to promote competition for the benefit of consumers. The main statutes are the Sherman Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914 and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914. These Acts serve three major functions. First, Section 1 of the Sherman Act prohibits price-fixing and the operation of cartels, and prohibits other collusive practices that unreasonably restrain trade. Second, Section 7 of the Clayton Act restricts the mergers and acquisitions of organizations that would likely substantially lessen competition. Third, Section 2 of the Sherman Act prohibits the abuse of monopoly power.

Copyright misuse is an equitable defence to copyright infringement in the United States based upon the doctrine of unclean hands. The misuse doctrine provides that the copyright holder engaged in abusive or improper conduct in exploiting or enforcing the copyright will be precluded from enforcing his rights against the infringer. Copyright misuse is often comparable to and draws from the older and more established doctrine of patent misuse, which bars a patentee from obtaining relief for infringement when he extends his patent rights beyond the limited monopoly conferred by the law.

Reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms, also known as fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, denote a voluntary licensing commitment that standards organizations often request from the owner of an intellectual property right that is, or may become, essential to practice a technical standard. Put differently, a F/RAND commitment is a voluntary agreement between the standard-setting organization and the holder of standard-essential patents. U.S. courts, as well as courts in other jurisdictions, have found that, in appropriate circumstances, the implementer of a standard—that is, a firm or entity that uses a standard to render a service or manufacture a product—is an intended third-party beneficiary of the FRAND agreement, and, as such, is entitled to certain rights conferred by that agreement.

A declaratory judgment, also called a declaration, is the legal determination of a court that resolves legal uncertainty for the litigants. It is a form of legally binding preventive adjudication by which a party involved in an actual or possible legal matter can ask a court to conclusively rule on and affirm the rights, duties, or obligations of one or more parties in a civil dispute. The declaratory judgment is generally considered a statutory remedy and not an equitable remedy in the United States, and is thus not subject to equitable requirements, though there are analogies that can be found in the remedies granted by courts of equity. A declaratory judgment does not by itself order any action by a party, or imply damages or an injunction, although it may be accompanied by one or more other remedies.

Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, 546 U.S. 320 (2006), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States involving a facial challenge to New Hampshire's parental notification abortion law. The First Circuit had ruled that the law was unconstitutional and an injunction against its enforcement was proper. The Supreme Court vacated this judgment and remanded the case, but avoided a substantive ruling on the challenged law or a reconsideration of prior Supreme Court abortion precedent. Instead, the Court only addressed the issue of remedy, holding that invalidating a statute in its entirety "is not always necessary or justified, for lower courts may be able to render narrower declaratory and injunctive relief."

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is an organization within IEEE that develops global standards in a broad range of industries, including: power and energy, biomedical and health care, information technology and robotics, telecommunication and home automation, transportation, nanotechnology, information assurance, and many more.

eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388 (2006), is a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously determined that an injunction should not be automatically issued based on a finding of patent infringement, but also that an injunction should not be denied simply on the basis that the plaintiff does not practice the patented invention. Instead, a federal court must still weigh what the Court described as the four-factor test traditionally used to determine if an injunction should issue.

Beacon Theatres v. Westover, 359 U.S. 500 (1959), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States dealing with jury trials in civil matters. The court held that where legal and equitable claims are joined in the same action, the legal claims must be tried by a jury before the equitable claims can be resolved.

Disgorgement is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as "the act of giving up something on demand or by legal compulsion".

In the United States, a valid patent provides its proprietor with the right to exclude others from practicing the invention claimed in that patent. A person who practices that invention without the permission of the patent holder infringes that patent.

The British privacy injunctions controversy began in early 2011, when London-based tabloid newspapers published stories about anonymous celebrities that were intended to flout what are commonly known in English law as super-injunctions, where the claimant could not be named, and carefully omitting details that could not legally be published. In April and May 2011, users of non-UK hosted websites, including the social media website Twitter, began posting material connecting various British celebrities with injunctions relating to a variety of potentially scandalous activities. Details of the alleged activities by those who had taken out the gagging orders were also published in the foreign press, as well as in Scotland, where the injunctions had no legal force.

In English tort law, a super-injunction is a type of injunction that prevents publication of information that is in issue and also prevents the reporting of the fact that the injunction exists at all. The term was coined by a Guardian journalist covering the Trafigura controversy. Due to their very nature media organisations are not able to report who has obtained a superinjunction without being in contempt of court. The term super-injunction has sometimes been used imprecisely in the media to refer to any anonymised privacy injunction preventing publication of private information. Critics of super-injunctions have argued that they stifle free speech, that they are ineffective as they can be breached using the Internet and social media and that the taking out of an injunction can have the unintended consequence of publicising the information more widely, a phenomenon known as the Streisand effect.

A patent holder in Canada has the exclusive right, privilege and liberty to making, constructing, using and selling the invention for the term of the patent, from the time the patent is granted. Any person who does any of these acts in relation to an invention without permission of the patent owner is liable for patent infringement.

Motorola Mobility v. Apple Inc. was one of a series of lawsuits between technology companies Motorola Mobility and Apple Inc.. In the year before Apple and Samsung began suing each other on most continents, and while Apple and High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) were already embroiled in a patent fight, Motorola Mobility and Apple started a period of intense patent litigation. The Motorola-Apple patent imbroglio commenced with claims and cross-claims between the companies for patent infringement, and encompassed multiple venues in multiple countries as each party sought friendly forums for litigating its respective claims; the fight also included administrative law rulings as well as United States International Trade Commission (ITC) and European Commission involvement. In April 2012, the controversy centered on whether a FRAND license to a components manufacturer carries over to an equipment manufacturer incorporating the component into equipment, an issue not addressed in the Supreme Court's default analysis using the exhaustion doctrine in Quanta v. LG Electronics. In June 2012, appellate judge Richard Posner dismissed the U.S. case with prejudice and the parties appealed the decision a month later.

<i>Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola Inc.</i> United States court case about software licensing

Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola Inc., 696 F.3d 872 was a United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit case about Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (RAND) Licensing and foreign anti-suit injunction.

In addition to federal laws, each state has its own unfair competition law to prohibit false and misleading advertising. In California, one such statute is the Unfair Competition Law [hereinafter “UCL”], Business and Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq. The UCL “borrows heavily from section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act” but has developed its own body of case law.

References

  1. 28 U.S.C.   § 2342 ("The court of appeals ... has exclusive jurisdiction to enjoin, set aside, suspend (in whole or in part), or to determine the validity of...."); 8 U.S.C.   § 1252(f) ("Limit on injunctive relief'); Jennings v. Rodriguez , 583 U.S. ___, ___, 138 S.Ct. 830, 851 (2018); Wheaton College v. Burwell , 134 S.Ct. 2806, 2810-11 (2014) ("Under our precedents, an injunction is appropriate only if (1) it is necessary or appropriate in aid of our jurisdiction, and (2) the legal rights at issue are indisputably clear.") (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted); Lux v. Rodrigues , 561 U.S. 1306, 1308 (2010); Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko , 534 U.S. 61, 74 (2001) (stating that "injunctive relief has long been recognized as the proper means for preventing entities from acting unconstitutionally."); Nken v. Holder , 556 U.S. 418 (2009); see also Alli v. Decker, 650 F.3d 1007, 1011 (3d Cir. 2011); Andreiu v. Ashcroft, 253 F.3d 477, 482-85 (9th Cir. 2001) (en banc).
  2. Nken v. Holder , 556 U.S. 418, 428 (2009) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
  3. Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456 U.S. 305, 311 (1982).
  4. Bray, Samuel (2014). "A Little Bit of Laches Goes a Long Way: Notes on Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc". Vanderbilt Law Review En Banc . 67: 1. SSRN   2376080 .
  5. Dobbs, Dan (1993). Law of Remedies: Damages—Equity—Restitution (2 ed.). St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co. p. 224. ISBN   0-314-00913-2.
  6. International Union, United Mine Workers of America v. Bagwell, 512 U.S. 821 (1994).
  7. Jost, Timothy Stoltzfus (1986). "From Swift to Stotts and Beyond: Modification of Injunctions in the Federal Courts". Texas Law Review . 64: 1101.
  8. 1 2 Bray, Samuel (2014). "The Myth of the Mild Declaratory Judgment". Duke Law Journal . 63: 1091. SSRN   2330050 .
  9. "Understanding Injunctions". Insights. American Bar Association. Winter 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  10. 1 2 Larson, Aaron (10 October 2016). "What is an Injunction". ExpertLaw.com. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  11. "Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7 (2008)". Google Scholar. Retrieved 6 September 2017.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  12. "eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388 (2006)". Google Scholar. Retrieved 6 September 2017.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  13. "A.W. Chesterton Co., Inc. v. Chesterton, 128 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 1997)". Google Scholar. Retrieved 6 September 2017.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  14. Laycock, Douglas (2012). "The Neglected Defense of Undue Hardship (and the Doctrinal Train Wreck in Boomer v. Atlantic Cement)". Journal of Tort Law . 4 (3): 1. doi:10.1515/1932-9148.1123. SSRN   2040896 .
  15. Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Statement of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division on Its Decision to Close Its Investigation of Samsung’s Use of Its Standards-Essential Patents (Feb. 7, 2014) [hereinafter DOJ Closes Its Samsung Investigation], available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/press_releases/2014/303547.pdf; Decision and Order § IV.D, Robert Bosch GmbH, No. C-4377 (F.T.C. Apr. 23, 2013).
  16. J. Gregory Sidak, Injunctive Relief and the FRAND Commitment in the United States at 16, forthcoming in 1 Cambridge Handbook of Technical Standardization Law: Antitrust and Patents (Jorge L. Contreras ed., Cambridge Univ. Press 2017), https://www.criterioneconomics.com/injunctive-relief-and-the-frand-commitment-in-the-united-states.html.
  17. Joseph Farrell, John Hayes, Carl Shapiro & Theresa Sullivan, Standard Setting, Patents, and Hold-Up, 74 ANTITRUST L.J. 603 (2007); Jorge L. Contreras, Fixing FRAND: A Pseudo-Pool Approach to Standards-Based Patent Licensing, 79 ANTITRUST L.J. 47 (2013).
  18. J. Gregory Sidak, The Meaning of FRAND, Part II: Injunctions, 11 J. COMP L. & ECON 201 (2015), https://www.criterioneconomics.com/meaning-of-frand-injunctions-for-standard-essential-patents.html.
  19. "New South Wales – Apprehended Violence Orders". National Council of Single Mothers and Their Children. Retrieved 26 September 2010.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  20. "Are you applying for an AVO?". Legal Aid New South Wales.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  21. Press Gazette , 14 October 2009, MPs slam 'super injunction' which gagged Guardian Archived 16 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  22. Robinson, James (13 October 2009). "How super-injunctions are used to gag investigative reporting". The Guardian. London.
  23. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 17 Mar 2011". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 17 March 2011.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  24. "Trafigura drops bid to gag Guardian over MP's question", The Guardian , 13 October 2009.
  25. Leigh, David (29 March 2011). "Superinjunction scores legal first for nameless financier in libel action". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  26. Greenslade, Roy (20 April 2011). "Law is badly in need of reform as celebrities hide secrets". London Evening Standard . Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  27. Swinford, Steven (21 March 2011). "'Hyper-injunction' stops you talking to MP". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  28. "Now 'hyper-injunction' gagging order stops constituent speaking to his own MP". Daily Mail. London. 21 March 2011.
  29. Tim Dowling (21 March 2011). "Got secrets you want to keep? Get a hyper-injunction". The Guardian. London.
  30. "Number crunching". Private Eye. Pressdram Ltd. 1288: 5. 2011.
  31. "Media concession made in injunction report". BBC News. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  32. "A Philosophical Conundrum". Private Eye. Pressdram Ltd. 1393: 9. 2015.