Select Page

Remedies
University of Oklahoma College of Law
Tabb, Murray

LEGAL & EQUITABLE REMEDIES

Orloff v. Los Angeles Turf Club, 30 Cal. 2d 110 (1947)
P is thrown out of horse race course after buying his ticket. He sues for injunctive relief seeking to be prevented from being thrown out in the future. Court must resolve whether or NOT to grant injunctive relief to prevent P from being thrown out in the future. Statute prohibits throwing some out after paying ticket, and can only get $100 relief.

RULES: where statute is open-ended (and legislature did NOT specify remedies available), the court may apply the provisions liberally with a view toward effecting its objects and toward promoting justice

statute that is clear as to what remedies are permissible must be abided by, HOWEVER, where statute is open-ended as to the remedies available and does NOT preclude/exclude equitable remedies, then equitable remedies may be granted

Greater the right, the greater the remedy

Define the right to the extent to which there is a remedy for its violation

HOLDING: Ct. holds that statute does NOT preclude equitable remedies, and open ended statute permitted additional remedy beyond that which stated in the statute. Court permitted the remedy b/c of the greater right of individual

Cowin v. GM, 734 F2d 1581 (11th Cir. 1984)
P has contract with GM that forbids cancellation of orders.

RULES: UCC § 2-302 does NOT create cause of action for damages for unconscionable contracts

Under UCC § 2-302, the court can refuse to enforce the contract, or it may enforce the remainder of the contract w/o unconscionable clause, or it may so limit the application of any uncsoncionable clause to avoid the unconscionable result

HOLDING: Ct. found that UCC § 2-302 unconscionable contract remedies does NOT provide for damages and court will NOT provide for relief not specifically provided for in the statute.

NOTE: Professor indicates that unconscionability is a GREAT defense that may be used after receiving goods and NOT paying for the goods (machines) and waiting for GM to sue you for payment, and then asserting the defense. Here, attorneys lost b/c they tried to have a cause of action from UCC § 2-302

NOTE: Under Norris-LaGuardia Act, labor disputes and injunctive relief are specifically barred and court should enforce arbitration agreements, NOT enjoin strikes, etc. Ct holds that injunction enforcing arbitration agreement is a different social policy and it is a good thing. It is a different time period.

Treister v. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 78 Ill. App.3d 746 (1979)
P is denied admission to AAOS, and AAOS argues that P cannot seek injunctive relief against D where D is a private organization. P sought to review reasons for denial, rebut them and sought trial. AAOS moved to dismiss b/c court does NOT have jurisdiction to review private orgs decisions.

RULES: Courts can review the application procedures of a private association when membership in the organization is an economic necessity. (Citing Falcone v. Middlesex Cty., (NJ 1961)).

no basis for cause of action where private organization denies membership and court will NOT interfere with private organizations decisions

HOLDING: Ct. holds that it can review decisions of private organizations where it affects the economic necessity of the P. Here, P showed that he lacked credibility among other doctors b/c of failure to receive AAOS certification, despite being licensed by the state. Also, P did NOT get referrals. AAOS provides certification which reduces insurance rates, etc. Ct. indicates that there will be a dire consequence to P if prohibited from being admitted to AAOS.

DISSENT. Dissent indicates that only where P can show that P is losing ability to earn a living, then cause of action exists. Here, P was a teacher, practiced at seven hospitals, and thus NO showing of economic necessity. Dissent indicates that interests are NOT properly valued. MAJ overvalued P interest to NOT be excluded and slighted AAOS interest in privately accepting members and providing society with certain certifications.

NOTE: Lawyer was able to demonstrate that ruling for P was advancement for general interest of public where Court can find that failure to review admission procedures harms P.

NOTE: Equity does NOT have limitation to protect only property rights. Presently, equity protects personal rights.

Pulliam v. Allen, 466 US 522 (1984)
P sues judge for imposing jail time where he could NOT post bond for non-jailable offense. He was arrested for using foul language and could NOT pay bond and jailed for 14 days.

RULES: Judicial immunity is NOT a bar from injunctive relief against a judicial officer acting in his judicial capacity.

Equity will NOT suffer a wrong without a remedy.

Equity revels in doing justice

The doctrine of judicial immunity is NOT a bar to prospective injunctive relief against a judicial officer acting in her official capacity

HOLDING: Ct. finds that judicial immunity does NOT prevent injunction against judge’s violation of substantial right of person (constitutional right). J. Powell finds that P can seek injunctive relief where he will be jailed for non-jailable offense and violates his constitutional rights and is a serious irreparable harm.

DISSENT. C/L judicial immunity protects ONLY those acts by judges within their jurisdiction, NOT all acts. Correct relief is writ of mandamus NOT injunctive relief.

Hanna v. WCI Communications, Inc., 348 FSupp2d 1332 (SD FL 2004)

ISSUE: Is there is a right to jury trial?

RULES: historical test – did cause of action exist at C/L in history (STATE)

Remedial test – (FEDERAL) – is remedy essentially equitable in nature or legal in nature.

Is it legal (money damages) or equitable (specific relief)?

HOLDING: Ct. will wait to see how law develops.

Brunecz v. HoudPaile Industries, Inc., 13 Ohio App 3d 106 (1983)
P was fired, he sued under Workers comp law for wrongful discharge. P was awarded back pay.

RULES: ER discrimination claims brought under RC 4123.90 which limits relief to reinstratement and back pay are equitable in nature and no right to a jury trial exists

Money damages does NOT mean legal judgment it can be part of equitable remedy

HOLDING: Ct. held that where statute expresses only equitable remedies, no jury trial right exists even where money damages (back pay) are part of remedy, b/c only arithmetic computation, NO measurement performed.

EQUITY JURISDICTION – propriety
Inadequacy of remedy at law – ordinary remedy is damages. Extraordinary remedy is equitable relief b/c equity courts said that they would retain supremacy over other courts and restrict what cases they would take. Equity jurisdiction is NOT about power, but what case is PROPER for equitable remedy, i.e., what kind of case is appropriate or proper for treatment for extraordinary relief.

INJUNCTIONS – (keep/change status quo)
1. Preventive Injunctions
a. Prohibitory Injunction
i. Stops someone from doing something that violates rights of P
b. Mandatory Injunctions
i. Requires an act by D so as to remedy the wrong that the P has established
c. Structural injunctions
d. Prophylactic injunctions

Equitable Remedies
2. Writs
a. Writ of Mandamus – an action to compel an official to exercise their function as gov’t official
i. Legal remedy but has specific quality which suggest that general rule that legal remedies are damages NOT specific remedies
b. Writ of Prohibition – action to prohibit gov’t official from taking act that they don’t have power to do under the statute or the constitution
c. Writ of Replevin – limited to posting a bond and may be problematic
3. Conversion Tort – he converted the goods and used for his own purpose, so give me value of property
4. Ejectment – property legal remedy that is spe

if the injunction is necessary to halt immediate serious injury to the detriment to the inheritance.

NOTE: TRASH THAT IS READILY REMOVABLE then P can be awarded money damages to ensure that trash is recyclable, unlike big boulders that there is NO place for the rocks, or environmentally sensitive trash that cannot also be easily disposed

NOTE: Injunction gives advantage in negotiations. Property owner can use leverage of possible personal contempt with obtaining higher rent payment. Nominal damages to vindicate the right. P can always get nominal damages to vindicate the legal remedy. POSSIBLE MULTIPLICITY OF SUITS renders damages inadequate b/c P would have to bring multiple suits every time truck owner parks trucks on property

Preventive Injunctions – IRREPARABLE HARM

K-Mart v. Oriental Plaza, 975 F2d 907 (1st Cir. 1989)
K-MART has lease with Oriental Plaza and right to revoke any new construction. O begins building and blocks K-mart’s view from highway and would result in more congested parking lot. K-mart sues to enforce lease, and trial court grants mandatory injunction requiring O to raze newly constructed offending structure and put in parking spaces.

RULES: equity will aid a suitor only if the threatened future harm would be irreparable. (harm is irreparable b/c the damage remedy is inadequate)

Irreparable harm occurs when money damages cannot compensate injury such as an injury to reputation, good will or real estate interests.

Real estate interest has long been thought unique and thus injuries to real estate interests frequently come within the ken of the chancellor

Harm to good will, harm to reputation is the type of harm NOT readily measureable or fully compensable in damages, and for that reason, more likely found irreparable.

HOLDING: Ct. affirms trial courts order and finds that injunctive relief may be granted to P to correct injury that absent injunction would be irreparable, and the irreparability of the injury must be of paramount concern. The necessary concomitant of irreparable harm is the inadequacy of traditional legal remedies. The two are flip sides of he same coin: if money damages will fully alleviate harm, then the harm cannot be said to be irreparable.

NOTE: Equity Jurisdiction referes to the propriety of granting equitable relief. The inadequacy rule was initially used in the 16th century for chancellor to decided whether to take a case or leave the petitioner go to the law courts with a writ or relief. Inadequacy of relief will look to irreparability of future harm, the relative hardships to the parties and the public interest.

NOTE: In Nussbaum v. Lacopo, 27 NY2d 311 (1970), Ct. denied relief to homeowners where the proof showed that golf balls were found in bushes and fence area of the Ps property, and the court found that these intrusions were minimal intrusions and NOT worthy of relief (TRIVIAL LAW SUIT). EXPERT TESTIMONY is req’d to support claim for relief (equitable or damages).

NOTE: TRESPASS b/c you physically break the close either by entering or sending a projectile. NUISANCE is NO breaking of the close, but something like noise pollution