Brief Fact Summary. Defendant, Eric Hall, appealed his conviction for contempt for violating an ex parte court order that prohibited Defendant from going near a school.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A court has the inherent power to issue an interim ex parte order against an unidentifiable group of people to protect the court’s ability to render a judgment.
It is not the act described which the decree may forbid, but only that act when the defendant does it.View Full Point of Law
Issue. The issue is whether Defendant, as a nonparty to prior proceedings, was bound by an ex parte court order.
Held. The court affirmed Defendant’s conviction. The court said that courts need to have the power to render a binding judgment, and that includes binding any parties that may affect property within that jurisdiction. The district court issued an in rem injunction to prevent other parties from interfering with the rights of the parties involved, and this concept was backed by precedent cited by Defendant. The court noted that Rule 65(d) was written to embody this principle and should not be read too literally or it would never allow in rem injunctions.
Discussion. Defendant had notice, but he argued that as a nonparty that he could not be held in contempt. To hold that an order would be limited to only parties of an action can make them nearly useless in cases such as the one at issue.