Practice Pointer- Temporary Restraining Orders

urgentThe wheels of justice move slowly. Much more slowly than we would like. But what happens if you are in need of legal relief immediately? What if you need to prevent someone from doing something they plan to do? Or if you need to force someone to do what they should be obligated to do?

A temporary restraining order (TRO) may be a possibility. The purpose of a TRO is to maintain status quo until a more formal hearing can be held on an application for a temporary injunction.

The local rules for your Texas county must be consulted to find out  the exact procedure to follow. Typically, an applicant for a TRO must attempt to notify the defendant or the defendant’s attorney of the filing of the application. The applicant may have to certify that the defendant is unrepresented; or the defendant is represented but could not be reached or does not want to be heard; or notifying the defendant of the application would cause irreparable harm.

The petition must be verified (sworn) or supported by affidavit. The petition must  use clear language which sets forth facts that there is a likelihood of imminent harm in the event a TRO is not issued. The applicant must also show a probable right to the relief sought at a final trial of the matter.

The applicant must present the TRO application and petition to the Judge. Some counties have an assigned judge who hears all of the TRO applications. Some counties may allow you to present your application to any judge before filing. Again, check the local rules. Tarrant County requires the application be filed and assigned to a Judge before hearing “unless impossible”.

If a court grants a TRO, the court will order that a bond be posted in an amount that will compensate the defendant from any losses suffered as a result of the TRO. A court will then set a hearing for the temporary injunction at the earliest possible date but not later than 14 days after the TRO is signed.

If you need relief quickly, consider a TRO. These are easy to botch, so make certain you have an experienced lawyer on your side.

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