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Lawter International v. Carroll

OPINION FILED JULY 1, 1982.

LAWTER INTERNATIONAL, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

JOHN R. CARROLL ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. HAROLD SIEGAN, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE JIGANTI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The trial court denied the defendants' motion to dissolve what is entitled a "Temporary Restraining Order" but which the defendants denominate as a preliminary injunction. The defendants appeal from the denial of their motion.

On March 4, 1982, the plaintiff, Lawter International, Inc. (Lawter), filed a verified complaint for an injunction and a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. Lawter sought to restrain the defendants, John R. Carroll, James A. Carroll, Richard M. Bradley and Carroll Scientific, Inc., from competing with Lawter and from disclosing trade secrets. On the same day and prior to the hearing on the motion for the temporary restraining order, the defendants filed a verified answer denying the material allegations of the complaint and also interposing affirmative defenses. The fact that the defendants appeared, filed a verified answer and interposed affirmative defenses made this a motion for a temporary restraining order with notice.

The trial court entered the temporary restraining order against the defendants on March 4, 1982, without holding an evidentiary hearing. The order specifically stated that its purpose was "to maintain defendant's status quo" until the motion on a preliminary injunction could be fully considered. The order further stated that a hearing on the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction would be held within eight days on March 12, 1982. On March 12, the temporary restraining order was extended to March 22, 1982. The defendants do not contest the propriety of the issuance of these orders.

On March 22, 1982, the court entered the following order which forms the basis of this appeal:

"The hearing on plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction is set for the following dates:

March 25, 1982 at 3 p.m.

March 29, 1982 at 2:30 p.m.

March 30, 1982 at 3 p.m.

April 1, 1982 at 2:30 p.m.

April 2, 1982 at 2:30 p.m.

The temporary restraining order previously entered in this matter shall remain in full force and effect pending further orders of this court."

Also, on March 22, 1982, the defendants filed a motion to dissolve "the injunction entered on March 4, 1982 and extended to March 22, 1982." The motion was denied.

The defendants' position is that the order of March 22, 1982, despite its label, is in fact a preliminary injunction because it states that the previous order "shall remain in full force and effect pending further orders of this court." The defendants argue that such language makes the order of unlimited duration and thus transforms it into a preliminary injunction. They contend that in the face of a verified answer denying the material allegations of the complaint, a preliminary injunction should only be granted after holding an evidentiary hearing ...


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