On the Farm

A preliminary injunction can be a powerful tool, but it is important to remember that it is only a piece of a larger puzzle.

In a recent Illinois Appellate Court decision, Moreland et al v. Scott et al., 2014 IL App. (5th) 130362-U, a preliminary injunction was vacated because of other defects in the case.

The case centered on the disposition of a plot of farmland in Christian County, located near the middle of Illinois. A man had leased the land to his brother and nephew for a three-year term, but had died shortly after executing the lease. His widow then sold the property to the plaintiffs, who, wanting to farm the land for themselves, began eviction proceedings against the defendants, attempting to clear them from the land. As part of the court proceedings, they received a preliminary injunction from the circuit court enjoining the defendants from further use of the land while the case was ongoing. The case then proceeded to trial, but, before the judge could render his verdict, the defendant filed an interlocutory appeal of the injunction and for dismissal of the case.

The appellate court ultimately ruled to vacate the injunction and dismiss the case without prejudice. Under the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act, which governs the process of evictions, it is required that any potential plaintiff give notice to the party in possession of the property before filing the suit in court in order for such an action to be maintained. The plaintiffs, in this case, had failed to issue proper notice before filing the lawsuit, and, as a result, the injunction was vacated and the action dismissed.

The important lesson here is that as important as a preliminary injunction can be to the outcome of the case, it cannot survive in a vacuum. An experienced commercial litigator will know that a preliminary injunction is just one of many tools that can be used to protect his or her client’s interests, but it is essential to understand how it fits into the larger picture of litigation.

The Patterson Law Firm handles a wide variety of emergency business litigation cases. To learn more about the services we offer visit pattersonlawfirm.com or call 312.223.1699.



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