What Are the Essential Prerequisites for Issuing a Preliminary Injunction ?
Former Chief Justice Nix noted in his dissent in City of Philadelphia v. District Council 33, American Fed'n of State, County & Mun. Employees, 528 Pa. 355, 371, 598 A.2d 256, 264 (1991), that the Supreme Court previously had broadened its explanation of the standard of review to introduce the term "essential prerequisites" when courts examine whether "apparently reasonable grounds" exist for a decision to grant or to deny a preliminary injunction.
In Albee Homes, Inc. v. Caddie Homes, Inc., 417 Pa. 177, 181, 207 A.2d 768, 770-771 (1965), the Supreme Court expounded as follows:
The scope of our review on an appeal from a decree either granting or denying a preliminary injunction is "to examine the record only to determine 'if there were any apparently reasonable grounds for the action of the court below....' Lindenfelser v. Lindenfelser, 385 Pa. 342, 343-44, 123 A.2d 626, 627 (1956). Summit Township v. Fennell, 392 Pa. 313, 140 A.2d 789 (1958)." Alabama Binder & Chemical Corp. v. Pennsylvania Industrial Chemical Corp., 410 Pa. 214, 215, 189 A.2d 180, 181 (1963).
And the essential prerequisites for the issuance of a preliminary injunction are: first, that it is necessary to prevent immediate and irreparable harm which could not be compensated by damages; second, that greater injury would result by refusing it than by granting it; and third, that it properly restores the parties to their status as it existed immediately prior to the alleged wrongful conduct. Alabama Binder & Chemical Corp. v. Pennsylvania Industrial Chemical Corp., supra.
Even more essential, however, is the determination that the activity sought to be restrained is actionable, and that the injunction issued is reasonably suited to abate such activity.
And unless the plaintiff's right is clear and the wrong is manifest, a preliminary injunction will not generally be awarded: Keystone Guild, Inc. v. Pappas, 399 Pa. 46, 159 A.2d 681 (1960), and Herman v. Dixon, 393 Pa. 33, 141 A.2d 576 (1958).
In addition, in County of Allegheny v. Commonwealth, 518 Pa. 556, 560, 544 A.2d 1305, 1307 (1988), the Supreme Court was unequivocal when it held:
"For a preliminary injunction to issue, every one of these prerequisites must be established; if the petitioner fails to establish any one of them, there is no need to address the others."
Also, in Anglo-American Ins. Co. v. Molin, 547 Pa. 504, 691 A.2d 929 (1997), the court indicated that it must examine whether the factors were present before a preliminary injunction might issue and began its examination in that case with a consideration of whether the petitioner's right to relief was clear.
The court noted that an injunction may not issue if the right to relief is not clear.