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Midcon Corp. v. Freeport-McMoran, Inc

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Midcon Corp (plaintiff) sued Freeport-McMoran, Inc (defendant) for a preliminary injunction.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    If the plaintiff is unlikely to win a case on the merits, and weighing the extent of the harm and public interest, the same for both parties, a judge may not grant a preliminary injunction.

    Facts.

    The plaintiffs owned a natural gas line and the defendant offered to buy all of the plaintiff corporation’s common stock. The plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction against the defendant’s acquisition of the common stock arguing that because the plaintiffs two subsidiaries produced as much natural gas as the defendants, the acquisition would violate the Clayton Act. The act sought to avoid the creation of monopolies and unfair competition. The plaintiff argued that if the defendant acquired the stock they would favor their own gas and raise prices, hurting the market. Experts for the plaintiffs testified consistently with the plaintiff’s argument, but did not produce any evidence that this was the defendant’s intention.

    Issue.

    Whether if the plaintiff is unlikely to win a case on the merits, and weighing the extent of the harm and public interest, the same for both parties, a judge may not grant a preliminary injunction.

    Held.

    Yes. If the plaintiff is unlikely to win a case on the merits, and weighing the extent of the harm and public interest, the same for both parties, a judge may not grant a preliminary injunction.

    Discussion.

    Four factors are relevant in considering the whether a judge should grant  a preliminary injunction: (1) if the plaintiff can obtain an adequate remedy at law or if the rejection of the injunction will cause irreparable harm to the plaintiff, (2) and if the harm to the plaintiff if the injunction is rejected will outweigh the harm to the defendant if the injunction is granted, (3) if the plaintiff has shown a reasonable probability of ultimately winning the case against the defendant on the merits, and (4) the potential impact of the rejection or grant of the injunction regarding the public interest. Here, the plaintiff was not entitled to the injunction. Here, there would be harm to both parties if the injunction was to go into place and there would be no lawful remedy to help the parties if the harm occurs. All the factors would affect the parties equally. Furthermore, it seems improbable the plaintiff will prevail on the merits.


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