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Ensuring Your Temporary Injunction Is Not Too Temporary

Recently, the Fifth District Court of Appeal delivered a decision that will affect how parties obtain a temporary injunction from the trial court after a default judgment. In Howell et al. v. Orange Lake Country Club, Inc., the trial court granted a default judgment against the defendants after striking their pleadings. After the default judgment, the trial court then held a non-evidentiary hearing as to the Verified Motion for Temporary Injunction.

The issue before the Appellate Court was whether the trial court needed to conduct an evidentiary hearing despite striking the defendants’ pleadings. Normally, after a trial or a hearing on the motion for the temporary injunction the facts and elements needed to be proven are in fact proven and found to be true by the court. However, in this case, the facts were procedurally admitted since a default judgment was entered after the striking of the pleadings. However, the motion only set forth conclusory allegations. The Appellate Court stated that the movant would have to prove that there will be irreparable harm should the injunction not be granted and that there is no adequate remedy at law.

The Appellate Court held that the order needs to articulate the factual findings. The opinion also stated that the factual findings in the order must be more than just a repeat of the elements of the four-prong test. What the court did not mention, even in dicta, is whether a verified motion that includes more than just conclusory factual allegations would allow a court to enter a temporary injunction.

Relevant takeaways from this case indicate:

  1. The party seeking a temporary injunction must make specific allegations of fact in the motion and at the hearing as to why the temporary injunction should be granted by the trial court.
  2. When faced with the choice of whether to hold an evidentiary or non-evidentiary hearing, the party should schedule an evidentiary hearing to be held on the matter.
  3. When drafting the proposed order, the party in whose favor the temporary injunction is granted should ensure that the order makes specific factual findings that do more than parrot the findings from the elements for a temporary injunction.

Additionally, as the Appellate Court pointed out in a footnote in the opinion, under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.610 (b), the trial court is required to have the enjoining party post a bond within 5 days of the entry of the order setting a bond. This bond is required to be in an amount the court deems proper, conditioned for the payment of costs and damages sustained by the adverse party if the adverse party is wrongfully enjoined and should be of an appropriate amount consistent with the Appellate Court’s findings based on the evidence.

Widerman Malek has extensive experience representing parties in lawsuits involving requests for injunctive relief. If you have any questions about this article, including impacts of the court case, or if you need assistance with a related legal matter, please contact me to discuss.

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