Imagine you have received an Order to Show Cause for a Preliminary Injunction in New Jersey – what now? An application by a party seeking emergent relief in New Jersey may arise in various areas of the law and they are referred to as an Order to Show Cause. All such efforts are governed by the same standard set forth in Crowe v. DeGioia, 90 N.J. 126 (1983). There are essentially four prongs a New Jersey Court may consider where injunctive relief is sought: (1) it is necessary to prevent irreparable harm, (2) the legal right underlying the application is unsettled, (3) the applicant has made a preliminary showing of a reasonable probability of ultimate success on the merits, and (4) the relative hardship to the parties in granting or denying the applicationCrowe v. DeGioia, 90 N.J. 126, 132-134 (1983).

The facts of each case will impact the Court’s evaluation and stronger arguments may be made for certain prongs vs others. The first prong can be the most difficult for a Plaintiff to meet as the Court imposes a high burden on whether there is, or will be, irreparable harm to the Plaintiff without injunctive relief being granted.  In opposing this prong, it is critical for the Defendant to hammer home to the Court that this type of relief is extraordinary and should only be granted in rare cases where clear and convincing evidential proofs have been submitted for the Court’s review.  For prongs two and three, a Defendant should strive to create questions of fact as to the arguments set forth in Plaintiff’s application. Open-ended arguments which allow for the possibility of multiple differing outcomes are best.  Lastly, the fourth prong is very fact intensive as to the individual case.  In opposing this prong, a successful argument may be made by relating the potential harm impacting the Defendant to other individuals, i.e. in a case involving a Defendant company, assert the hardship will extend to the company’s employees and the families of those employees.

While each of the four prongs must be met for the application to be granted, a Defendant only needs to successfully dispute one of those prongs to have the application denied by the Court.