Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Nature and Purpose of Temporary Injunction (TI) - Requisite Elements

A temporary injunction is an extraordinary remedy and does not issue as a matter of right. Butnaru v. Ford Motor Co., 84 S.W.3d 198, 204 (Tex. 2002). Its purpose is to preserve the status quo of the subject matter of the litigation until trial on the merits. Id. To obtain a temporary injunction, the applicant must plead and prove: “(1) a cause of action against the defendant; (2) a probable right to the relief sought; and (3) a probable, imminent, and irreparable injury in the interim.” Id. “An injury is irreparable if the injured party cannot be adequately compensated in damages or if the damages cannot be measured by any certain pecuniary standard.” Id. Therefore, as a general rule, “a court will not enforce contractual rights by injunction, because a party can rarely establish an irreparable injury and an inadequate legal remedy when damages for breach of contract are available.” Id. at 211. The applicant is not required to show he will prevail at a final trial; “he needs only to plead a cause of action and to show a probable right on final trial to the relief he seeks and probable injury in the interim.” Sun Oil Co. v. Whitaker, 424 S.W.2d 216, 218 (Tex. 1968) (when only relief sought on final trial is injunctive applicant must show a probable right on final hearing to a permanent injunction). In other words, “the only question before the trial court is whether the applicant is entitled to preservation of the status quo pending trial on the merits.” Walling v. Metcalfe, 863 S.W.2d 56, 57-58 (Tex. 1993) (citing Iranian Muslim Org. v. City of San Antonio, 615 S.W.2d 202, 208 (Tex. 1981)). We review the granting or denial of a temporary injunction for an abuse of discretion. Butnaru, 84 S.W.3d at 204; Tom James of Dallas, Inc. v. Cobb, 109 S.W.3d 877, 883 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2003, no pet.). “A trial court abuses its discretion in granting an injunction when it misapplies the law to established facts or when the evidence does not reasonably support the determination of the existence of a probable right of recovery or probable injury.” Bureaucracy Online, Inc. v. Schiller, 145 S.W.3d 826, 829 (Tex. App.-Dallas, 2004, no pet.). We do not substitute our judgment for that of the trial court, but determine only whether the trial court's action was so arbitrary as to exceed the bounds of reasonable discretion. Butnaru, 84 S.W.3d at 204; Tom James, 109 S.W.3d at 883. We draw all legitimate inferences from the evidence in the light most favorable to the trial court's order. Tom James, 109 S.W.3d at 883. Additionally, granting an injunction in the face of an adequate remedy at law is an abuse of discretion. Harris County v. Gordon, 616 S.W.2d 167, 168, 170 (Tex. 1981); Alert Synteks, Inc. v. Jerry Spencer, L.P., 151 S.W.3d 246, 254 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2004, no pet.); see also Rogers v. Daniel Oil & Royalty Co., 130 Tex. 386, 110 S.W.2d 891, 894 (1937) (stating that when “an adequate and complete remedy at law is provided, our courts, though clothed with equitable jurisdiction, will not grant equitable relief”). On interlocutory appeal of an order granting a temporary injunction, we do not reach the merits of the dispute, but determine only whether the record supports the trial court's exercise of discretion. See Tom James, 109 S.W.3d at 884. Thus, we do not decide the ultimate merits of Gaubert's claims or the Bank's defenses; we determine only whether Gaubert has shown a probable right to relief on his claims in light of the statute of frauds defense and a probable, imminent, and irreparable injury justifying the trial court's temporary injunction, such that he is entitled to preservation of the status quo pending trial on the merits.

 SOURCE: 05-08-01080-CV

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