• July 8, 2020

The Difference Between a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction

The Difference Between a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction

The Difference Between a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction 1024 768 Patrick J. Thomas Agency

While similar, there are identifiable differences between temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, and each of them has a specific place in the legal system. Each one also means a different thing for your case. 

These are the major differences between preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders. 

What is a Preliminary Injunction?

A preliminary injunction is generally used by the court to restrain a party from taking a certain action while a case is pending, awaiting settlement, or is otherwise undecided or undetermined. Preliminary injunctions (as their name implies) are only handed down by a judge before a case begins — when it is still in the preliminary stages. This is usually done to protect a party from possible action of another party, and is used to preserve the status quo of a situation (i.e. keep everything the same while the case moves forward). 

To obtain a preliminary injunction, the party must demonstrate to the court that they will suffer irreparable harm if a certain action is taken. Other parties may appeal the preliminary injunction if they believe it is unnecessary or harmful to them. An injunction bond may also be required by the court in the event that they hand down a preliminary injunction in a case. There are also cases where requesting a preliminary injunction can be of strategic value, particularly when it comes to businesses dealing with non-competes.  

What is a Temporary Restraining Order?

A temporary restraining order (TRO) acts in a similar manner as a preliminary injunction in that it is an order passed down by the court preventing a party from taking a certain action. They are essentially emergency injunctions used by the court in specific situations. The primary differences between a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction are: 

  • Their duration: TROs are generally used as a temporary solution until a more permanent injunction can be put into place. 
  • Their use: TROs are usually used in emergency situations to prevent immediate harm to a party, such as a business transaction, etc. In cases where there may immediate physical harm to a person, bonds are not required. 
  • How they are handed down: TROs do not always require a hearing (depending on the circumstances) and they can be issued without informing the party they are issued against. When it comes to non-life-threatening situations, like the above example of non-compete, a hearing is generally required. 

Like preliminary injunctions, parties affected by TROs can be required to obtain a temporary restraining order bond. 

For more information on injunctions and temporary restraining orders, see federal Rule 65. 

Surety Bonds for TROs and Preliminary Injunctions

If a TRO or a preliminary injunction is being issued in your case, you may be required by the court to obtain a specific surety bond. For more information on how you can obtain a surety bond for your case, contact The Patrick J. Thomas Agency today.  


Disclaimer: this is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. If you need legal counsel, please contact an attorney directly.