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Temporary Restraining Orders and Preliminary Injunctions         


When your business is threatened, the typical slow pace of a court case can feel like an eternity. But when the threat comes from stolen client lists, a disputed stock sale or other time-sensitive disputes, that time is something you simply can’t afford to lose. That’s why Holman Law helps clients seek temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, which are among the most crucial tools for handling a legal emergency at your business. Both of these are court orders stopping a party from taking certain actions, or requiring certain actions. Even the courts call these “extraordinary relief,” because they are intended to address extraordinary situations.


A temporary restraining order is often the first step. A temporary restraining order is an order from the court compelling the other side to comply with the law or meet its obligations under a contract. Often, this is an order not to do something, such as not to take employment with a competitor in violation of a contract’s restrictive covenant. Courts will grant a TRO if they believe it is necessary to prevent an immediate loss or injury. In fact, because it’s designed for emergency situations, you may move for a TRO without notifying the other side, when notification could cause that party to do things like hide assets or destroy evidence. However, a TRO lasts only until the court can hear a motion for a preliminary injunction, a proceeding that involves both sides.


Once you have a TRO, or if you’ve already passed that stage, the next step is to move for a preliminary injunction. This is another court order against the same behavior, but more permanent in nature and usually involving participation from both sides. When the other side opposes a motion for a preliminary injunction, the court will hold a hearing on the evidence.


To get the injunction, you must be able to show that your rights are being violated in a way that will cause irreparable harm, that you’re likely to prevail later and that you will suffer more harm than the other side would by being forced to comply with the injunction.

TROs and preliminary injunctions often mark the make-or-break moments in emergency business litigation matters, because they determine whether the business suffers irreparable harm. In many cases, that harm cannot be easily repaired with money, or a financial judgment is beside the point. For example, a TRO and preliminary injunction might stop harm to your business’s consumer goodwill through product disparagement (trade libel).

Other situations where this extraordinary relief might be appropriate include:

  • Infringement of trademarks or copyrights, or trademark dilution

  • Enforcement of noncompete, non-solicitation and other restrictive covenants in employment

  • Protecting trade secrets and enforcement of non-disclosure agreements

  • Disagreements on transfers of assets among partners, shareholders or members of a company

  • Business disputes in a divorce or probate case

  • Any case involving loss of customer goodwill or loss of reputation


If your business has a legal emergency, time is important. That’s why Holman Law can be available right away, including to prepare for next-day filings or hearings. We have nearly four decades of experience in New York business law, particularly areas of law that frequently involve business emergencies, like restrictive covenants and trademark infringement. We represent clients seeking temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions and permanent injunctions, as well as clients seeking to defend themselves from those orders.


Based in New York, we serve businesses throughout the metro New York area and in many other states. To talk to an attorney about your business emergency, call us today at (866) 204-1020 or (212) 481-1336 or send us an email explaining your situation and your needs. 

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