What Does An Injunction Accomplish In Civil Litigation?
One of the basic tools of a civil litigation attorney is the injunction. This is a court order that immediately bars at least one of the parties in a case from doing something specific. Generally, injunctions arise from pretrial motions.
You might wonder what this can accomplish, though. A civil litigation attorney usually is trying to accomplish the following things with an injunction.
Preventing Irreversible Harm
The foremost goal of any injunction is to prevent irreversible harm from coming to pass. Suppose an environmental organization is suing a logging company and the state to prevent the destruction of virgin timber in a forest. There is no way to instantly undo the felling of trees that are hundreds of years old. Consequently, the organization would likely seek a civil injunction barring the clearing of the trees.
Notably, injunctions can be temporary or permanent. A temporary injunction will only delay the adverse action until the court hears the case. However, a permanent injunction means the losing party has to obey it in perpetuity. Unless a higher court orders a lower one to revisit the matter, there aren't many ways to reverse a permanent injunction.
Temporary injunctions buy at least one party the necessary time to organize a case while not having to worry about further harm. Suppose a company sought an injunction to bar a competitor from manufacturing a product in violation of its patents. Most likely, the patent holder doesn't want to wait to build a case before they demand the cessation of the violative activities. Instead, they'd want to obtain an injunction as soon as possible and then keep working on building their case. The goal would likely be to then ask the court for a permanent injunction.
An injunction might compel a party to keep a system or service going, too. Imagine if a school district wanted to shut down a school building in a rural area. The parents in the district might pursue an injunction to prevent the shutdown because it could harm their kids' educations. They might argue that bussing their kids further would be an undue burden. A judge could order the school district to keep the location open pending litigation.
Especially if the damage is already done, a court can also order a party to take restorative actions. Suppose a developer knocked down a historical building to erect new apartments. The developer can't magically undo the destruction of the original building. However, a judge could order the development firm to reverse its construction efforts and build a structure that replicates the original as much as possible.
Contact a civil litigation attorney to learn more.