Preliminary Injunction

1 Elements and Case Citations

State Standard:

“A preliminary injunction may be granted under CPLR article 63 when the party seeking such relief demonstrates:

  1. a likelihood of ultimate success on the merits;
  2. the prospect of irreparable injury if the provisional relief is withheld; and
  3. a balance of equities tipping in the moving party’s favor.”

See Doe v. Axelrod, 73 N.Y.2d 748, 750 (1988).

Federal Standard:

Federal Injunctions are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65.

“To prevail on a motion for a preliminary injunction, ‘[t]he moving party must show

  1. irreparable harm and
  2. either (a) likelihood of success on the merits or (b) sufficiently serious questions going to the merits and
  3. a balance of hardships tipping decidedly toward the party seeking the injunctive relief.’ . . .

‘Such relief, however, is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.’”

See Johnson v. Burge, 506 Fed. Appx. 10, 11 (2d Cir. 2012).


Court of Appeals of New York: Doe v. Axelrod, 73 N.Y.2d 748, 750 (1988).

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 1st Department: Barbes Restaurant, Inc. v. ASRR Suzer 218, LLC, 140 A.D.3d 430, 431 (1st Dep’t. 2016)Gliklad v. Cherney, 97 A.D.3d 401, 402 (1st Dep’t 2012).

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 2d Department: Chase Home Finance, LLC v. Cartelli, 140 A.D.3d 911, (2d Dep’t 2016); Zoller v. HSBC Mortgage Corp., 135 A.D. 3d 932, 933 (2d Dep’t 2016).

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 3d Department: STS Steel, Inc. v. Maxon Alco Holdings, LLC, 123 A.D. 3d 1260, 1261 (3d Dep’t 2014); Confidential Brokerage Servs., Inc. v Confidential Planning Corp., 85 A.D.3d 1268, 1269 (3d Dep’t 2011).

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 4th Department: AJMRT, LLC v. Kern, 61 N.Y.S.3d 795, 796 (4th Dep’t 2017); Felix v. Brand Serv. Group LLC, 101 A.D.3d 1724, 1725 (4th Dep’t 2012).


United States Court of Appeals, 2d Circuit: Allstate Ins. Co. v. Harvey Family Chiropractic, 2017 WL 391984, * 2 (2d Cir. 2017)American Civil Liberties Union v. Clapper, 804 F.3d 617, 622 (2d Cir. 2015); Johnson v. Burge, 506 Fed. Appx. 10, 11 (2d Cir. 2012).

Eastern District: N. Am. Soccer League, LLC v. U.S. Soccer Fed’n, Inc., 2017 WL 5125771, at *7 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 4, 2017); Coley v. Vannguard Urban Improvement Assoc., Inc., 2016 WL 7217641, *2 (E.D.N.Y. 2016).

Northern District: Avitabile v. Beach, 2017 WL 4325782, at *4 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 28, 2017); Dizak v. Hawks,  2016 WL 4702438, *2 (N.D.N.Y. 2016).

Southern District: It’s a New 10, LLC v. Harmon Stores, Inc., 2017 WL 3208611, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. July 28, 2017); Free County, Ltd. v. Drennen, 235 F.Supp.3d 559 (S.D.N.Y. 2016).

Western District: Daly v. Town of Orchard Park, 2017 WL 417248, *11 (W.D.N.Y. 2017); Izzo Golf, Inc. v. King Par Corp., 2016 WL 7104223, *11-12 (W.D.N.Y. Dec. 6, 2016).

2 Defenses to Claim for Preliminary Injunction

(1) CPLR § 3018(b) (pleading affirmative defenses), and other standard defenses. See Chapter 36 for all defenses.

(2) Statute of Limitations: N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 213(1) (six years); see Roslyn Union Free School Dist. v. Barkan, 16 N.Y.3d 643, 650-51 (2011).

(3) The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to maintain the status quo pending the outcome of the litigation. See, e.g., Barbes Restaurant, Inc. v. ASRR Suzer 218, LLC, 140 A.D.3d 430, 431 (1st Dep’t. 2016)see also New York Auto. Ins. Plan v. New York Sch. Ins. Reciprocal, 241 A.D.2d 313, 315 (1st Dep’t 1997) (a preliminary injunction that substantially changes the status quo must be denied.)

(4) A preliminary injunction “is an extraordinary remedy that should not be granted as a routine matter.” See JSG Trading Corp. v. Tray-Wrap, Inc., 917 F.2d 75, 80 (2d Cir. 1990) (emphasis added); see also John G. Ullman & Assocs., Inc. v. BCK Partners, Inc., 30 N.Y.S.3d 785, 786 (4th Dep’t 2016).

(5) “A preliminary injunction is a drastic remedy that should not be granted unless a clear legal right thereto is shown.” See McGuinn v. City of New York, 219 A.D.2d 489 (1st Dep’t 1995) (emphasis added).

(6) A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction has the burden of demonstrating that (1) it will suffer irreparable harm absent injunctive relief and (2) either (a) that it is likely to succeed on the merits of the action, or (b) that there are sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly in the plaintiff’s favor. See Salinger v. Colting, 607 F.3d 68, 79 (2d Cir. 2010). The plaintiff’s burden is to make “a clear showing that [it] is entitled to such relief.” See Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 555 U.S. 7, 22, 129 S.Ct. 365, 376 (2008)see also Council of the City of New York v. Giuliani, 248 A.D.2d 1, 4 (1st Dep’t 1998) (a “movant’s burden of proof on a motion for a preliminary injunction is particularly high.”).

(7) “A mere possibility of irreparable harm is insufficient to justify the drastic remedy of a preliminary injunction.” Borey v. Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co., 934 F.2d 30, 34 (2d Cir. 1995) (emphasis added).

(8) Clear and Convincing Evidence: “A movant must satisfy each requirement with ‘clear and convincing evidence.’” County of Suffolk v. Givens, 106 A.D.3d 943, 944 (2d Dep’t 2013)Zoller v. HSBC Mortgage Corp., 135 A.D. 3d 932, 933 (2d Dep’t 2016).

(9) “[T]he failure to act sooner undercuts the sense of urgency that ordinarily accompanies a motion for preliminary relief and suggests that there is, in fact, no irreparable injury[.] … [If not] explainable, delay alone may justify denial of a preliminary injunction.” See Tough Traveler, Ltd. v. Outbound Prods., 60 F.3d 964, 968 (2d Cir. 1995) (emphasis added).

(10) A motion for a preliminary injunction is properly denied where “the plaintiff made only conclusory allegations and failed to point to any imminent and non-speculative harm that would befall it in the absence of a preliminary injunction.” See Family-Friendly Media, Inc. v Recorder Tel. Network, 74 A.D.3d 738, 739-40 (2d Dep’t 2010) (emphasis added).

(11) Statutory Injunctions: In Federal Court, “[w]here a party seeks a statutory injunction, however, a presumption of irreparable harm often applies, since the party is said to be acting as ‘a statutory guardian charged with safeguarding the public interest.’” See City of New York v. Wolfpack Tobacco, No. 13 Civ. 1889 (DLC), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129103, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 9, 2013).

(12) Labor Disputes: A District Court may enjoin a labor strike when the following factors are met: “(1) the collective bargaining agreement contains a mandatory grievance procedure; (2) the agreement contains a no-strike clause; (3) the underlying dispute or disputes involved are subject to the mandatory grievance procedure; and (4) the traditional requirements of equity—irreparable harm and balance of hardships—are satisfied.” See Will Poultry, Inc. v. Teamsters Local 264, No. 13-CV-1135, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180072, at *9-10 (W.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 2013).

(13) Fait Accompli: “An injunction will not issue to prohibit a fait accompli.” See Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency v. St. Joseph’s Hospital, 81 A.D.2d 403, 408 (3d Dep’t 1981).