What You Need to Know About Getting a Temporary Restraining Order in Texas
Temporary restraining orders, or TROs, are commonly associated with family law. If a marriage falls apart, a person can file a TRO if they feel their children or property may suffer damages before the divorce is final.
But, a temporary restraining order, often called a temporary injunction, is used in business as well.
In this post, we discuss everything involved with filing a temporary restraining order in Texas.
What Does a TRO Do?
A temporary restraining order is a temporary injunction placed on a party (or parties) to prohibit actions that can result in some form of damage.
A TRO puts temporary restrictions on a person without a full hearing.
For example, a business may file an injunction against a former employee for divulging confidential company information. The court date may be a few weeks out.
The former employee could leak more secrets that cause damage to the company during that time. So, the company may seek a temporary restraining order to stop them in the interim.
What Does it Specifically Protect Against?
In family law, a TRO can prohibit a spouse from withdrawing money from a joint bank account. It can stop a spouse from selling a joint property before the divorce gets finalized.
It can also restrain a spouse from incurring debt while the marriage is still in effect. It can prohibit someone from harassing or stalking their estranged spouse.
A temporary restraining order can prohibit a party from removing or unenrolling a child(ren) from school or daycare.
In business, it works in a similar way. A company could file a TRO if one of the following is occurring:
An Interference of Business
If another company tries to interfere with your operations or tries to seize your business, you need to protect your interests. This includes tampering, stealing trade secrets, or even stealing business from your company.
An attorney will file an injunction against them and likely would file a TRO to protect your interests from immediate damage.
Non-Compete Agreements and Trade Secrets
If a current or former employee violates a non-compete agreement, you need to file a temporary restraining order to protect your immediate interests.
In many cases, non-competes and trade secrets go hand in hand, which is why they’re grouped together. A current or former employee may not divulge trade secrets about your company to another company or consumers.
Contract and Partnership Disputes
As a business owner, you’ll likely have disputes with customers, vendors, partners, or shareholders. When you can’t settle a disagreement amicably, you may need to seek the help of an attorney, who will file a TRO against the other party.
For example, if a controlling shareholder tries to move the company to a new entity, you can file a TRO to stop the shut-down of the company.
Copyright or Trademark Infringement
If another entity is infringing upon your copyright or trademark, you can file a TRO if a cease and desist letter doesn’t stop them.
How Does a TRO Get Filed?
A TRO can be granted ex parte. That means that the offending party doesn’t need to get notified beforehand. This is to protect any damage or loss from the time they’re notified until the TRO hearing.
A person wishing to file a temporary restraining order must prove there’s reason for the issuance. A person cannot file a TRO “just because” they want to exact revenge or vindication on another party.
The U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution are very clear in their protection of Free Speech. So, if someone is bad-mouthing your company and your business suffers because of it, you have to prove the remarks are false or misleading.
Many business owners feel they don’t need legal assistance in filing a TRO. But, because of the strict protection of First Amendment rights, it’s advisable that you seek legal counsel.
How Long Does It Last?
A TRO lasts for 14 days. After that time, a judge may grant an extension.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer For a Temporary Restraining Order in Texas?
Disputes happen. Not every divorcing spouse or business needs to file a temporary restraining order in Texas. Oftentimes, these issues can get worked out without further involving the courts.
But, the safest and smartest action when you see things won’t get resolved on your own is to hire a lawyer. A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer will ensure there are no mistakes in the paperwork and that your proof is solid.