They’re breaching their contract! He’s wrongfully competing with me! She’s using my confidential documents! How do I get them to stop?
You can hear these cries for help from business owners every day. Running a business exposes you to all kinds of challenges from others, some of which may require legal intervention.
Many disputes and lawsuits involve harm that has already taken place. But sometimes you discover another party is currently in the act of violating your or your business’s rights under a contract or law. You can’t afford to wait for months and years for the case to be over before you get any relief. So what can you do?
You need to take immediate action
Here are some common remedies you might be able to pursue, and the standards required to receive them:
Temporary restraining order
You can seek one to prevent the other party from doing more harm until you can get to court to seek a more substantial measure. You can often get these without going to court or notifying the other party but as soon as you get one, you need to continue toward a better solution, as they only last 10 days.
Temporary or permanent injunctions
Injunctions last longer than a temporary restraining order. They can order a party to do something – such as continuing to fulfill the agreed deliveries. Or they can order them to stop doing something – such as ceasing trading under the same name as yours. Their duration can vary.
Temporary injunctions last a bit longer than the temporary restraining order but you will need to go to court to get one and usually need to notify the other party first. A court won’t automatically issue one, even if you already have a temporary restraining order. They will weigh your request, considering the need for it and the benefits to you, versus the harm it might do to the other party or its impact on trade issues.
Permanent injunctions, in comparison, require you to meet higher criteria before a court issue one, but they can stop the other party from continuing with the infringement of your rights once and for all. Here are the four criteria you must meet:
- You suffered irreparable injury
- The usual legal remedies available will not cover the damage done
- The solution won’t be vastly unfair to the other party
- Issuing the injunction won’t be detrimental to the public interest
This is another common solution. A court can order one party to pay the other a set amount of money to compensate for the harm done. Or the parties can agree to the amount out of court.
As you can see there are several options to examine if you feel someone is violating your business rights. Always talk to an attorney about what may apply to your problem. We help businesses pursue injunctions, orders, damages and other types of relief. Contact us for a consultation.