Injunctive Relief

Sigma Chemical (Yeazell, p. 282)
  • Irreparable injury rule: if want injunction, must show damages not enough (injury “irreparable”)
  • Money is imperfect, damage remedy flawed
    • Not as complete a remedy as injunctive relief
    • For example…
      • Injury to land always irreparable (land unique)
      • Defendant is “judgment proof”
      • Would have to sue multiple times (ongoing harm), like with a nuisance claim in some cases
      • Damages hard to calculate (imperfect markets), most easily seen for loss of items w/o market (life, limb, emotion, psychological stress)—but sometimes damages all that’s left if injunction won’t do any good (car accident, etc.)
  • When there’s a tie, damages win—just have to show injunction a little better, usually possible if any basis
  • Assuming valid, enforceable contract, Sigma wants injunction to prevent working for employer b/c hard to know how to value what Sigma has lost (or will lose due to employee divulging info) – see Yeazell, p. 284 for theoretical approach to damages.
William Inglis v. ITT Continental Baking (Yeazell, p. 313)
  • Preliminary injunctive relief has different requirements than permanent (already know breach in Sigma, so permanent).
    • Sought before knowledge of win/loss.
  • Bakery suing bakery for anti-trust.
    • "Below-cost" pricing (i.e., losing money on each loaf) a/k/a "predatory pricing"Trying to force competitors out of market to achieve monopoly.
    • Seek preliminary injunction, to be granted if (Yeazell, p. 313):
      • Preliminary injunction hearing: “mini-trial.”
      • Alternative (Yeazell, p. 313): if harm sufficiently serious, only a "fair" chance of success by ∏ needed—then use a kind of balancing test between 1. and 2.
      • 1. ∏ will suffer irreparable injury
        • Inglis: hard to calculate bankruptcy cost
        • ITT: but our loss if granted also hard to calculate: loss of business, etc.
      • 2. ∏ will probably (“reasonable probability”) win on merits
      • 3. Balance of equities (∆ not harmed more than ∏ helped).
        • Zero-sum consideration in Inglis: ∏ will benefit from issuance of injunction—will gain customers (unjust enrichment quality) at expense of ITT, so asking them to pay ITT if they lose makes sense. BUT this is NOT the norm in a case—only because this is an anti-trust case.
      • 4. In public interest: unusual that public has an important enough interest to matter.
        • Cap ∏ liability at amount of bond?
        • Pro: limit liability to avoid discouraging req. preliminary injunction
        • Why put liability on ∏ at all? It’s merely asserting rights allowed by law? So why be punished just for losing? Did not violate any legal rule.
Fuentes v. Shevin (Yeazell, p. 318): due process, “replevin” (Constitutional issues)
  • Replevin: 800-year old method of seizing property to be later debated in court.
  • 14th Am. (due process) violated by replevin (prior seizing of chattel before any kind of hearing can occur).
  • How much process is due? Mathews v. Eldridge (Yeazell, p. 325)
    • Depends on three factors:
      • 1. What is at stake? Bigger the thing is, the stronger the argument for pre- as opposed to post-process (library card different than a stove). Most process req’d when life at stake.
      • 2. How much add’l procedure would enhance the accuracy of result? (See also Yeazell, p. 319, and Mullane.)
      • 3. Gov’t interest: money, cost.
    • Posting bond not enough, must have hearing before.
    • Like landmark constitutional decisions of Warren court (although actually 3 years after his retirement).
    • Thought from Professor Amar: How often does the debtor win hearing? If debtors lose 99.9%, but costs creditor money, then as a class debtors may end up paying more, but not get to keep property longer.
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