Anyone with experience in the court system knows that seeing a lawsuit through to completion takes time. While the wheels of justice may turn slowly, the plaintiff in certain cases may require urgent action to put a stop to the defendant’s behavior that gave rise to the litigation in the first place. In those situations, a plaintiff can turn to the courts for help in the form of a petition for an injunction.
Under Louisiana law, an “injunction shall be issued in cases where irreparable injury, loss, or damage may otherwise result” The Louisiana Supreme Court has explained that “injunctive relief” is designed “to prevent the occurrence of future acts that may result in irreparable injury, loss or damage to the applicant.” The issuance of a permanent injunction requires the court to assess the merits of the request, which may itself require time; the court can issue a preliminary injunction–which only requires a prima facie (on its face) showing that the plaintiff is entitled to relief–to maintain the status quo while the permanent injunction is pending. Key to the success of a plaintiff’s petition is that the court’s compulsion or prohibition of some conduct is required to stave off harm. An injunction cannot be issued for monetary damages. In addition, there is an exception to the requirement that the plaintiff show irreparable harm. The courts disregard this element when the conduct at issue “constitutes a direct violation of a prohibitory law or a constitutional right.” In other words, if the defendant’s conduct is illegal, harm is implied.
The Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit provided a useful analysis of the requirements for an injunction in the recent case of Desselle v. Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc.. The trial court granted of a preliminary injunction against Acadian to prevent it from collecting any amount in excess of the reimbursement rate it had negotiated with Keisha Desselle’s health insurance provider. Desselle disputed that any amount was due to Acadian, and was in litigation with her health insurance company over the matter. The court reversed the issuance of the injunction, stating that the case “[ran] afoul of [Louisiana law] insofar as [Desselle] did not demonstrate that “irreparable injury, loss, or damage may otherwise result” to her. First, Desselle has “already been subjected to the complained-of billing procedure.” Further, “any alleged injury, loss, or damage is monetary is nature. It is unclear how the anticipated injury, loss, or damage is irreparable insofar as “Desselle’s] suit is one for monetary damages.”
Although the injunction can be a powerful tool to protect the rights of an aggrieved plaintiff, this case makes clear that it can only be utilized in certain situations. If you feel your rights are being violated, call the Berniard Law Firm at 1-866-574-8005 and speak with an attorney who can help you put a stop to the damage and obtain the recovery you deserve.