Temporary Restraining Orders, Temporary Injunctions, and Permanent Injunctions in Texas Law


What’s the difference between a temporary restraining order (TRO), a temporary injunction, and a permanent injunction under Texas law?

In some cases, your business may suffer irreparable harm if the other side continues to engage in wrongful conduct. You may be prepared to file a lawsuit asking the courts to compensate you, but, first, you may need the court to order them to stop doing what they are doing…

Below, we will discuss how temporary restraining orders and injunctions work under Texas law, including:

  • The differences between a TRO, temporary injunction, and permanent injunction,
  • The procedure for getting a temporary restraining order in Texas, and
  • What must be included in a request for a TRO or an injunction.

What is a “Temporary Restraining Order” Under Texas Law?

Injunctive relief is an “equitable remedy” that allows a Texas court to step in and prevent further harm from being done as a case makes its way through the court process. A TRO or injunction is when a court orders one of the parties to either 1) do something or 2) not do something to stop the harmful conduct.

What are some examples of situations where a temporary restraining order or temporary injunction may be necessary?

  • A former employee is taking your company’s clients, trade secrets, or assets,
  • A former employee is violating an enforceable non-compete or confidentiality agreement,
  • A business partner or executive is misappropriating or misusing company funds or company assets,
  • A party has breached a contract, and the ongoing breach is causing damage to your company, or
  • A party is violating your intellectual property

An injunction can be requested by any party to a case and a temporary restraining order (TRO) or temporary injunction is usually requested at the outset of a civil case.

What is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)?

A temporary restraining order (TRO) is like an injunction in that it restrains a defendant’s actions and prevents them from causing harm.

A TRO is more temporary than a temporary injunction, however, and typically does not last more than 14 days.

TROs are only granted in emergency situations and may be granted without notice to the defendant. Under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 680, the person or company requesting the TRO must show that “immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the applicant before notice can be served and a hearing held thereon.”

What is a Temporary Injunction?

An injunction is when a court orders a litigant to either 1) do a thing or 2) not do a thing.

If the court issues a temporary restraining order without notice to the defendant, a hearing is immediately scheduled to determine whether the court will issue a temporary injunction. The hearing must be scheduled “at the earliest possible date and takes precedence of all matters except older matters of the same character…”

The order granting the restraining order must include a date certain for the temporary injunction hearing.

Once a TRO has been issued, or if a temporary injunction is requested without a request for a TRO, the adverse party must be given notice of the hearing date, and the pleadings must be served upon them.

A temporary injunction should last until the end of the litigation when a permanent injunction is either issued or denied.

What is a Permanent Injunction?

A permanent injunction is ordinarily not issued until the court has seen all evidence and heard all arguments from both sides of the dispute (at the end of trial or the end of a dispositive motion hearing).

Just as a temporary injunction might 1) incorporate and extend the terms of a temporary restraining order or 2) be filed on its own, a permanent injunction might 1) incorporate and extend the terms of a temporary injunction or 2) a request for a permanent injunction could be filed on its own.

What is the Difference Between a Temporary Restraining Order and a Cease-and-Desist Letter?

In many cases, it may be appropriate to send a cease and desist letter before filing a lawsuit and requesting a temporary restraining order (TRO) or injunction.

What’s the difference?

A cease and desist letter puts the other party on notice that 1) they are engaging in conduct that is harmful to you or your business, 2) their conduct is infringing on your rights or is actionable in court, and 3) you intend to take legal action if they do not immediately cease their actions.

The letter itself is not enforceable, but it may be followed by a request for a court order/ TRO that is enforceable in court.

What Happens if a Party Violates a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or Injunction?

Any party that violates a TRO/ temporary restraining order or an injunction is subject to contempt of court proceedings, and the court could fine them or even put them in jail for the violation.

If you have received notice that someone is seeking a TRO or injunction against you, contact your business law attorney immediately, respond to the allegations, and fight it in court. If the TRO or Writ of Injunction is issued against you by the court, you must then follow the court’s orders unless they are withdrawn or overturned by a higher court.

Please feel free to contact one of our Murray Lobb attorneys to obtain our assistance in requesting a temporary restraining order or injunction on behalf of your business. We also remain available to help you with all your general corporate, construction law, business, and estate planning needs.