A preliminary injunction is a request for immediate relief before a matter can be fully litigated.
A party seeking a preliminary injunction bears the burden of demonstrating that:
- (1) that he will suffer irreparable harm without the preliminary injunction
- (2) that the harm he will suffer without injunctive relief is greater than the harm the defendant will suffer as a result of injunctive relief
- (3) a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits; and
- (4) that the injunction will not harm the public interest.
See, e.g., Kinney v. Pioneer Press, 881 F.2d 485, 490 n.3 (7th Cir. 1989)
The Ninth Circuit has an additional test for the preliminary injunction standard. It can be used simultaneously with the national standard test, or exclusively. The Ninth Circuit test evaluates two elements of the national test together along a continuum, requiring either a medium burden of proof for both, or a high burden for one, and a low burden for the other. The two possible constructions of the Ninth Circuit test are that either the plaintiff,
- (1) is likely to succeed on the merits, and will suffer irreparable injury without the injunction, or,
- (2) raises serious questions of law and fact, and the balance of hardships tips towards the plaintiff.
See, e.g., Lands Council, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 3214.
An injunction is improper if there is an adequate remedy at law, such as money damages. See, e.g., Scruggs v. Moellering, 870 F.2d 376, 378 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 956 (1989).