Obtaining a resolution in court is no quick affair. The process is premised on a full and fair opportunity to discover all facts, which can take months or years to complete. To prevent one side from taking harmful actions in the meantime, courts in Texas have the ability to issue temporary restraining orders and temporary injunctions that halt everything in place.
Temporary Orders: General Information
In Texas, only district courts and county courts have jurisdiction to provide the equitable relief of a restraining order or business injunction for most commercial matters, which can be either “prohibitory” or “mandatory” in nature. Prohibitory relief prevents a party from doing something whereas mandatory relief, which is rarely granted, requires a person to take action. Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 680-693 govern the procedure for obtaining relief, which is divided into three categories:
- Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): Immediate relief that may be granted ex parte (i.e., without notice to the other side) in order to preserve the status quo of the subject matter of a lawsuit. The status quo is the “last actual, peaceable, non-contested status that preceded the controversy,” although that does not always apply if the status prior to controversy was an illegal state of affairs.
- A TRO may be sought with the filing of an original petition or at any later time when it becomes necessary.
- Although a TRO can be granted ex parte, local rules may still require an attempt to give notice in certain situations.
- The petition must contain verified allegations addressing and supporting all the grounds for issuing a TRO.
- Requires posting a bond to provide adequate security in case the adverse party is harmed by the TRO.
- A temporary business injunction hearing must be set to occur within 14 days (which can be extended only in limited circumstances).
- A writ of injunction issued by the clerk must be served on all adverse parties before the TRO becomes effective.
- There is no right to appeal a TRO, but immediate mandamus relief may be sought.
- Temporary Injunction: Relief that can be granted only after a hearing with notice to all parties to further maintain the status quo.
- All “indispensable parties” must be joined before a temporary business injunction can be granted.
- There is no requirement to first obtain a TRO before a temporary injunction; a party can proceed directly to the temporary injunction hearing so long as they provide at least three days’ notice of the hearing to all affected parties.
- Temporary injunction hearings take precedence over other court matters.
- A full evidentiary showing in support of a temporary injunction, by way of live testimony, is required even if the respondent does not appear.
- An adequate bond must be posted (or remain in place if originally posted with a TRO) during the entire existence of a temporary injunction.
- The temporary injunction order must set a date for trial on the merits.
- If no TRO was sought, the clerk issues a writ of injunction that must be served on the adverse parties before the temporary injunction becomes effective.
- There is a right to immediate appeal (on an accelerated basis) for the grant or denial of a temporary injunction, which is reviewed for abuse of discretion.
- Permanent Injunction: Final and lasting relief granted as part of a judgment after a full trial on the merits.
- If a permanent business injunction is sought without first obtaining a TRO or temporary injunction, there is no bond required.
- There is no writ of injunction either; the final judgment is all the authority needed.
- An appeal of the grant or denial of a permanent injunction is reviewed for abuse of discretion.
All three forms of relief listed above are binding on: (i) all parties to the lawsuit, (ii) their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and (iii) any other person acting in concert with a party or its agents who receives “actual notice” of the order. Thus, in seeking emergency or temporary relief, it is important to make sure all persons sought to be restrained are served with a copy of the TRO or temporary injunction. Wright Commercial Litigation is well versed in Texas business law and has advised clients in McKinney, Collin County, Dallas County, and Denton County on business injunction issues.
Grounds for an Injunction
Several statutes in Texas provide a right to injunctive relief. Otherwise, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 65.011 sets out the most common grounds for seeking a business injunction, which include: (1) when the applicant is entitled to the relief sought and all or part of it requires the restraint of some act prejudicial to the applicant; (2) to stop or prevent an act relating to the subject of pending litigation, which would violate the rights of the applicant and tend to render a judgment in the litigation ineffective; (3) the applicant is entitled to relief under principles of equity or laws of the state; (4) when a cloud would be placed on title to real property; or (5) threatened irreparable injury to real or personal property.
Prerequisites to Relief
Before relief may be granted, there are three primary elements that must be pled and shown by evidence (i.e., verified allegations for a TRO and testimony in a temporary injunction hearing): (1) the applicant is seeking permanent relief, either by way of a suit for damages or a permanent business injunction; (2) there is a probable right to that relief; and (3) there is a probable injury which is imminent, would result in irreparable harm, and is the type of harm that could not be adequately compensated with money damages (note, however, this last element need not be shown for harm that involves violations of a statutory right, a cloud on title, or threat of an irreparable injury to real or personal property). If you believe that you may fit the criteria to seek relief, contact an experienced McKinney, Collin County, Dallas County, and Denton County business injunction lawyer.
Other Temporary Restraining Order Considerations
Venue depends on whether the business injunctive relief would be “ancillary” to the main lawsuit or instead is the primary relief sought. If the injunction is ancillary, then venue is determined by the rules governing the main lawsuit. When an injunction is the primary relief sought, then venue is governed by Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 65.023.
Contact a Firm With Experience
Wright Commercial Litigation has sought and contested TROs/injunctions in different contexts in Texas courts, for both business and individual matters. Feel free to reach out to the firm if you want to consider legal assistance putting an immediate halt to activity that violates your rights or to challenge an injunction issued by a court against you or your business.
Contact the firm here to request a consultation on your TRO or injunction matter.
Wright Commercial Litigation, located in McKinney, Texas, assists residents of Dallas, Fort Worth, Collin County, Dallas County, and Denton County with their business injunction legal needs.