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Injunction - Types Of Injunction - Contempt

court injury individual irreparable

A court order by which an individual is required to perform, or is restrained from performing, a particular act. A writ framed according to the circumstances of the individual case.

An injunction commands an act that the court regards as essential to justice, or it prohibits an act that is deemed to be contrary to good conscience. It is an extraordinary remedy, reserved for special circumstances in which the temporary preservation of the status quo is necessary.

An injunction is ordinarily and properly elicited from other proceedings. For example, a landlord might bring an action against a tenant for waste, in which the right to protect the land-lord's interest in the ownership of the premises is at issue. The landlord might apply to the court for an injunction against the tenant's continuing harmful use of the property. The injunction is an ancillary remedy in the action against the tenant.

Injunctive relief is not a matter of right, but its denial is within the discretion of the court. Whether or not an injunction will be granted varies with the facts of each case.

The courts exercise their power to issue injunctions judiciously, and only when necessity exists. An injunction is usually issued only in cases where irreparable injury to the rights of an individual would result otherwise. It must be readily apparent to the court that some act has been performed, or is threatened, that will produce irreparable injury to the party seeking the injunction. An injury is considered irreparable when it cannot be adequately compensated by an award of damages. The pecuniary damage that would be incurred from the threatened action need not be great, however. If a loss can be calculated in terms of money, there is no irreparable injury. The consequent refusal by a court to grant an injunction is, therefore, proper. Loss of profits alone is insufficient to establish irreparable injury. The potential destruction of property is sufficient.

Injunctive relief is not a remedy that is liberally granted, and, therefore, a court will always consider any hardship that the parties will sustain by the granting or refusal of an injunction. The court that issues an injunction may, in exercise of its discretion, modify or dissolve it at a later date if the circumstances so warrant.

Contempt

An individual who violates an injunction may be punished for CONTEMPT of court. A person is not guilty of contempt, however, unless he or she can be charged with knowledge of the injunction. Generally, an individual who is charged with contempt is entitled to a trial or a hearing. The penalty imposed is within the discretion of the court. Ordinarily, punishment is by fine, imprisonment, or both.

FURTHER READINGS

Suro, Robert and Jo Becker. 2000. "Florida Legislature Ready to Intervene; Special Session on Electors to Convene on Friday" Washington Post (December 7).

CROSS-REFERENCES

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