Ex Parte Injunctive Relief--Demonstrating Gravity

Bank of America, N.A. v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (Receiver for Colonial Bank), Case No. 09-22384-CIV-JORDON, currently before U.S. District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan of the Southern District of Florida, has garnered some media attention in the Atlanta Business Chronicle and The New Times, but is of interest to us in today’s post because the court granted an emergency motion for an ex parte TRO in a billion dollar case.


Bank of America (“the Bank”) filed a lawsuit on August 12, 2009 against Colonial Bank (Colonial) to obtain the return of loan agreements, mortgages and sale proceeds valued in excess of a billion dollars. The Bank had sent Colonial a demand for all sale proceeds and loan agreements held by Colonial Bank. Colonial refused to return the loans, and the Bank filed suit for breach of trust and other agreements.

Motion for an Emergency ex parte TRO

Along with the complaint, Colonial filed a motion for an emergency temporary restraining order (TRO), which sought to enjoin Colonial from liquidating, transferring or otherwise encumbering the assets. The motion recited the familiar four-factor test, but is of interest to me today for these three reasons:

  1. The Bank didn’t rest solely on its motion; as new developments occurred, it filed supplemental papers. This is important because TROs are decided on the papers alone, so if new information develops after you have filed your motion, be sure to update the court with new information. Used appropriately, it builds momentum: “yesterday these terrible events took place; today it got worse; Judge please stop them!”
  2. The Bank used newspaper stories effectively. Under Fed. R. Evid. 902(6), newspaper stories are admissible. The Bank intelligently used this Rule.
  3. The Bank used supplemental sources of law. Rather than relying solely on its agreements (which should have and probably would have been sufficient), the Bank also asserted Fla. Stat. § 812.035(6), which relaxes the traditional “irreparable harm” requirement in cases involving civil theft, and instead only requires the movant to make “a showing of immediate danger of significant loss[.]” It is a good practice to always search for supplemental sources of law that may assist you in stating a claim.

Our next post will discuss a few other interesting aspects of this case.