Beyond the Elements: Erie and the Standards for Preliminary and Permanent Injunctions
37 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2018 Last revised: 12 May 2019
Date Written: December 31, 2018
Federal courts frequently avoid deciding whether federal or state law governs the availability of injunctive relief for state-law claims by simply declaring that both sets of standards are the same. Although federal and state standards for injunctions often incorporate similar elements, those elements often are phrased in somewhat different terms and relate to each other in different ways. Even when federal and state standards involve facially identical elements, federal and state courts often interpret and apply them differently based on completely distinct bodies of precedent that can lead to different outcomes. Because state and federal standards arise from, and refer to, distinct bodies of precedent that constitute different sets of guideposts for future rulings, federal courts should not treat them as fungible to avoid difficult Erie questions.
Keywords: Erie, permanent injunction, preliminary injunction, choice of law, equity, federalism, Guaranty Trust, elements, precedent, caselaw
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