Thursday, April 14, 2011

federal courts - preliminary injunction

Hynoski v. Columbia Co. Redevelopment Authority - MD Pa. - March 11, 2011




The requirements for preliminary injunctive relief are well settled. In order to obtain this extraordinary remedy, the moving party must establish that: (1) there is a reasonable probability of success on the merits, (2) irreparable injury will result without injunctive relief, (3) granting the injunction will avoid a comparably greater hardship than denying it, and (4) the injunction is in the public interest. See Swartzwelder v. McNeilly, 297 F.3d 228, 234 (3d Cir. 2002); BP Chems., Ltd. v. Formosa Chem. & Fibre Corp., 229 F.3d 254, 263 (3d Cir. 2000).


While each factor need not be established beyond doubt, they must combine to show the immediate necessity of injunctive relief. . . . (“[T]he degree of likelihood of success is not determinative. Rather it must be considered and balanced with the comparative injuries of the parties.”). If, however, the moving party fails to show both a reasonable probability of success on the merits and irreparable injury, then the court must deny preliminary injunctive relief. In re Arthur Treacher’s Franchisee Litig., 689 F.2d 1137, 1143 (3d Cir. 1982); Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Chamberlain, 145 F. Supp. 2d 621, 625 (M.D. Pa. 2001).


Reasonable Probability of Success on the Merits -- To establish a reasonable probability of success on the merits, the moving party must produce sufficient evidence to satisfy the essential elements of the underlying cause of action. See Punnett v. Carter, 621 F.2d 578, 582-83 (3d Cir. 1980). This requires examination of the legal principles controlling the claim and potential defenses available to the opposing party. See BP Chems., 229 F.3d at 264. However, the mere possibility that the claim might be defeated does not preclude a finding of probable success if the evidence clearly satisfies the essential prerequisites of the cause of action. Highmark, Inc. v. UPMC Health Plan, Inc., 276 F.3d 160, 173 (3d Cir. 2001)


Irreparable Injury - Irreparable injury is the sine qua non of preliminary injunctive relief. It is harm of such an irreversible character that prospective judgment would be inadequate to make the moving party whole. See Anderson v. Davila, 125 F.3d 148, 163 (3d Cir. 1997); Instant Air Freight Co. v. C.F. Air Freight, Inc., 882 F.2d 797, 801 (3d Cir. 1989); Goadby v. Philadelphia Elec. Co., 639 F.2d 117, 121 (3d Cir. 1981) (“This court has repeatedly emphasized the elementary principle that a preliminary injunction shall not issue except upon a showing of irreparable injury.” (internal quotation marks omitted)). The mere risk of injury is not sufficient to meet this standard. Rather, the moving party must establish that the harm is imminent and probable. Anderson, 125 F.3d at 164; 11A WRIGHT ET AL., supra, § 2948.1. Harm that may be contained effectively only through immediate injunctive relief is properly deemed “irreparable.” Instant Air Freight, 882 F.2d at 801. ).

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