Review of Temporary Injunctions and Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas

Every two years the Texas legislature meets and changes the rules governing practice and procedure in Texas. One of the changes this past session was the repeal of Texas Government Code Section 22.225(b), which prohibited a party from filing a petition for review in the Supreme Court of Texas after of an appeal of an order denying or granting a temporary injunction or overruling a motion to dissolve a temporary injunction. As a result, parties can now file a petition for review after a court of appeals decision on a temporary injunction order. So while discussing that change, it is important to go over the basics of reviewing temporary injunctions and a temporary restraining order.

Temporary restraining orders (“TROs”) cannot be appealed because they expire by the express terms of Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 680. TROs are good for fourteen days and can be extended only once for an additional fourteen days upon a showing of good cause (unless the parties agree to a longer extension).  There is, however, at least one reported case stating, that if an issue is of such an extreme and serious nature, that mandamus relief may be available. However, in that case, the Texas Attorney General obtained mandamus relief because the TRO would have let federal funding stop if the State of Texas was required to comply with the TRO. In re Office of the Atty. Gen., 257 S.W.3d 695, 698 (Tex. 2008). It is doubtful that there are many serious issues that will arise for mandamus to be available in an ordinary lawsuit.

On the other hand, temporary injunctions (or orders related to denial of or granting a motion to dissolve a temporary injunction) are an appealable interlocutory order. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 51.014(a)(4). This would also include any orders that modify the temporary injunction if it covers the same subject matter. Appellate review of a temporary injunction is based on whether the trial court clearly abused its discretion standard. Henry v. Cox, 520 S.W.3d 28, 33-34 (Tex. 2017). A discussion of an abuse of discretion standard of review is beyond the scope of this blog. However, there is a great general resource published in 42 St. Mary’s Law Journal 3 (2010) by W. Wendell Hall entitled “Standards of Review in Texas” that will help get you started.

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