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Sandhills Global, Inc. v. Garafola

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 30, 2019

SANDHILLS GLOBAL, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
LAWRENCE GARAFOLA, SR., et al, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          Michael A. Shipp United States district Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court upon Plaintiff Sandhills Global, Inc.'s ("Plaintiff') Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction ("Motion"). (ECF No. 3.) Defendants Lawrence Garafola, Sr.; Lawrence Garafola, Jr.; Marlene Greene; Bidpath, Inc.; and Bidfacts, LLC (collectively, "Defendants") have not yet replied. The Court has carefully considered Plaintiffs submission and decides the matter without oral argument pursuant to Local Civil Rule 78.1. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Plaintiffs motion for temporary restraints. The Court, however, orders expedited discovery.

         "Preliminary injunctive relief is an 'extraordinary remedy, which should be granted only in limited circumstances.'" Fetring Pharms., Inc. v. Watson Pharms., Inc., 765 F.3d 205, 210 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. v. Johnson & Johnson-Merck Consumer Pharms. Co., 290 F.3d 578, 586 (3d Cir. 2002)). Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing it is "likely to succeed on the merits . . . likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in [its] favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest." Winter v. NRDC, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008) (citations omitted). "A plaintiffs failure to establish any element in its favor renders a preliminary injunction inappropriate."[1] Nutrasweet Co. v. VitMar Enters., 176F.3d 151, 153 (3d Cir. 1999).

         A movant has the burden of establishing a "clear showing of immediate irreparable injury," Louis v. Bledsoe, 438 Fed.Appx. 129, 131 (3d Cir. 2011) (citation omitted), and "[establishing a risk of irreparable harm is not enough," ECRI v. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 809 F.2d 223, 226 (3d Cir. 1987). "[T]he injury created by a failure to issue the requested injunction must be of a peculiar nature, so that compensation in money cannot atone for it." Acierno v. New Castle Cty., 40 F.3d 645, 653 (3d Cir. 1994) (citation omitted). "[T]he claimed injury cannot merely be possible, speculative, or remote." Laidlaw, Inc. v. Student Transp. of Am., 20 F.Supp.2d 727, 766 (D.N.J. 1998) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         In the instant Motion, Plaintiff, in a single paragraph and without citation to any relevant legal authority, argues that it will suffer irreparable harm in the form of loss of goodwill and industry reputation.[2] Although loss of goodwill and industry reputation could suffice to demonstrate irreparable harm, see, e.g. ACE Am. Ins. Co. v. Wachovia Ins. Agency, No. 08-4369, 2008 WL 4165746, at *6 (D.N.J. Sept. 4, 2008), here, Plaintiff's Motion and accompanying Complaint (Compl., ECF No. 1) fail to explain what goodwill or harm to industry reputation it would suffer in the absence of an injunction.[3] Such unsupported and conclusory allegations fail to establish Plaintiff is entitled to the extraordinary relief it seeks. See Ferring Pharms., Inc., 765 F.3d at 210. Moreover, Plaintiff fails to establish that the irreparable harm it allegedly faces is more than merely speculative. See, e.g., Moneyham v. Ebbert, 123 F. App'x 89, 92 (3d Cir. 2018) ("The irreparable harm alleged must be actual and imminent, not merely speculative."); see also Cont'l Grp., Inc. v. Amoco Chem. Corp., 614 F.2d 351, 359 (3d Cir. 1980) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted) ("[Injunctions will not be issued merely to allay the fears and apprehensions or to soothe the anxieties of the parties."). The Court, accordingly, finds Plaintiff failed to establish it will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction.

         The Court also notes that Plaintiff s Motion makes no reference to a preliminary injunction bond, and failure to require such a bond can be reversible error. See Hoxworth v. Blinder, Robinson & Co., Inc., 903 F.2d 186, 210 (3d Cir. 1990). Notwithstanding that oversight, the Court finds Plaintiff failed to demonstrate it is entitled to emergent relief, as required under Local Civil Rule 65.1(a).

         The Court, however, finds good cause to allow expedited discovery. "[E]xpedited discovery is particularly appropriate when a plaintiff seeks injunctive relief because of the expedited nature of injunctive proceedings." Phila. Newspapers v. Gannett Satellite Info. Network, No. 98-2782, 1998 WL 404820, at *2 (E.D. Pa. July 15, 1998) (quoting Ellsworth Assocs., Inc. v. United States, 917 F.Supp. 841, 844 (D.D.C. 1996)). The Court finds Plaintiffs allegation that Lawrence Garafola, Jr. has recently "mass delete[d]" infonnation from his computer compelling. (Pl.'s Appl. 5.) Although Plaintiff concedes that the results of a forensic analysis are ongoing, and Plaintiffs supporting affidavit does not reference what specifically was deleted, the Court finds expedited discovery in this matter appropriate. Accordingly, IT IS on this 30J!L day of August 2019, ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff s Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (ECF No. 3) is DENIED.
2. Plaintiff is entitled to expedited discovery.
3. By September 30, 2019, the parties must submit a joi nt proposed scheduling order to the Honorable Tonianne J. Bongiovanni, U.S.M.J. If the parties are unable to agree to a joint proposed scheduling order, by September 30, 2019, the parties must submit separate proposed scheduling orders.[4]

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Notes:

[1] Because the Court finds Plaintiff failed to establish irreparable harm, the Court does not address the remaining preliminary injunction factors.

[2] Plaintiff acknowledges that its claims for lost profits could be compensated monetarily. (Id.) See Laidlaw, Inc., 20 ...


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