It the final count, the State, after incorporating the foregoing averments in its pleading, asserts that granting equitable relief requiring the defendants "to aid in the education of the general public as to hazards posed by their products and to aid in the abatement of Lead hazards throughout the State is the only way to end the long-standing cycle of exposure, injury and permanent damage suffered by children in this State." A. Compl., P108. The [*54] defendants counter that the law of Rhode Island does not permit this count to stand as an independent cause of action.
[HN42] An injunction is a "court order prohibiting someone from doing some specified act or commanding someone to undo some wrong or injury." See Black's Law Dictionary 784 (West 6th ed. 1990). Whereas injunctions are
"equitable remedies whose grant or denial in each case is governed by principles of equity, the rights or subjects that properly lie within the power of a court of equity to control or protect by injunction are the same as those over which equity jurisdiction extends generally. A court of equity does not create rights, but rather determines whether legal rights exist and, if so, whether it is proper and just to enforce those rights. In short, a court may exert its equitable powers to grant appropriate relief only when a judicially cognizable right exists, and no adequate legal remedy is available."
42 Am Jur 2d Injunctions § 46 (2000). In order for an injunction to issue, the moving party must demonstrate that rights in question will be irreparably injured or endangered if the injunction is not issued. School Committee of Pawtucket v. Pawtucket Teachers' Alliance, Local No. 930, 117 R.I. 203, 206, 365 A.2d 499, 501 (R.I. 1976).[*55]
The State argues that a request for an injunction which is premised solely on allegations of imminent, irreparable harm without an underlying claim or allegation of statutory duty amounts to an independent cause of action under Rhode Island law. However, as the defendants counter, in each of the cases relied upon by the State, the plaintiff asserted an infringement of a particular right and requested injunctive relief as a remedy therefor.
In its amended complaint, the State, after averring several causes of action, requests in pertinent part rather extensive injunctive relief. Upon proving its burden with respect to "judicially cognizable rights," the State may indeed obtain equitable relief. See, e.g., The Fund for Community Progress v. United Way of Southeastern New England, 695 A.2d 517, 521 (R.I. 1997) ("The moving party seeking a preliminary injunction must demonstrate that it stands to suffer some irreparable harm that is presently threatened or imminent and for which no adequate legal remedy exists to restore that plaintiff to its rightful position."); City of Woonsocket v. Forte Brothers, Inc., 642 A.2d 1158, 1159 (R.I. 1994) ([HN43] Despite [*56] different procedural requirements, the "same criteria must be established to issue either a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order."). However, the formulation of this count as a claim for injunctive relief to protect children is, in this Court's reading, duplicative of the relief requested by the State in the "Relief Requested" section of its amended complaint. Moreover, absent controlling caselaw establishing that a request for injunctive relief constitutes an independent cause of action, injunctive relief is a remedy and, can not, in itself, be recognized as a substantive claim. Accordingly, the request for injunctive relief as articulated herein cannot stand as a separate cause of action and this claim for injunctive relief to protect children fails.
Counsel for the plaintiff is directed to present to the Court an appropriate order consistent with the foregoing to be settled after notice and an opportunity for all parties to be heard.
********** Print Completed **********
Time of Request: Monday, January 08, 2007 11:07:54 EST
Print Number: 1861:5353007