Appeal from the 190th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 2018-46653.
consists of Justices Jewell and Bourliot and Former Justice
Michael Massengale, sitting by assignment.
Frances Bourliot Justice.
accelerated interlocutory appeal, Summers Drywall Services,
Inc. appeals the trial court's order granting a temporary
injunction requested by Action Gypsum Supply,
Summers argues, among other things, that the temporary
injunction must be dissolved because the order does not
adequately specify either the reasons for granting the order
or the acts to be restrained as required by Texas Rule of
Civil Procedure 683. We conclude that because the temporary
injunction order does not adequately state the reasons for
its issuance or the acts to be restrained, it violates Rule
683. We therefore sustain Summers' third issue, hold that
the temporary injunction order is void, dissolve it, and
remand the case to the trial court. We further direct the
clerk of this court to issue the mandate immediately.
is a supplier of drywall and other building materials.
Summers is a subcontractor who installs such materials. For
many years, Summers has utilized Action products in various
construction projects. In 2017 and 2018, these projects
included several school construction projects for school
districts in the Houston area. Summers typically paid Action
for materials used on these projects after Summers received
payment for the materials from the different general
contractors who were in charge of the projects. The general
contractors would pay Summers after receiving payment for the
materials from the school districts. At some point in 2017 or
early 2018, Summers reportedly had funds go missing from its
bank account that would have gone toward paying invoices from
Action. Fraud by one of Summers' officers or employees
was suspected. In July 2018, Action filed suit against
Summers alleging nonpayment of invoices from January,
February, and March of that year totaling $990, 470.81.
Action additionally named three general contractors in the
lawsuit and asserted that they may possess funds received
from the school districts for materials supplied by Action
that they had yet to pass on to Summers.
conjunction with the lawsuit, Action sought a temporary
injunction to (1) prevent Summers from using the funds it had
received for Action's materials for any purpose other
than paying Action and (2) prevent the general contractors
from disbursing any additional funds to Summers that were
paid by the school districts for materials furnished by
Action. Action requested that all such sums be ordered
deposited into the trial court's registry.
an evidentiary hearing, the trial court issued a temporary
injunction order. As for why the injunction was required, the
order stated, "After consideration of the arguments and
briefing of counsel, this Court is of the opinion that unless
the Application for Temporary Injunction is granted, [Action]
will suffer imminent, irreparable harm for which there is no
adequate remedy at law." The order enjoined Summers
"from disbursing, using, withholding, or transferring
any trust funds received from the owners or general
contractors on the construction projects at issue in this
lawsuit for the materials furnished by [Action] to anyone
other than Action," and it required Summers to deposit
any such funds in its possession into the court's
registry. The order further enjoined each of the general
contractors "from disbursing any additional trust funds
to [Summers] relating to materials furnished by [Action] to
the construction projects at issue in this lawsuit," and
it required the general contractors to deposit any such funds
in their possession or that were to come into their
possession into the court's registry. The order further
required Action to post a bond in the amount of $990, 470.81,
and it set the case for trial.
Summers raises three issues on appeal, we need only address
the third issue because it is dispositive. In that issue,
Summers contends the temporary injunction must be dissolved
because the order does not adequately set forth the reasons
for its issuance or the acts to be restrained as required by
Rule 683 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. We agree.
purpose of a temporary injunction is to preserve the status
quo of a litigation's subject matter pending trial on the
merits. Butnaru v. Ford Motor Co., 84 S.W.3d 198,
204 (Tex. 2002) (op. on reh'g). To obtain a temporary
injunction, an applicant is not required to establish that it
will prevail in a final trial on the merits, but the
applicant must plead and prove that it (1) has a cause of
action against the opposing party; (2) has a probable right
to the relief sought; and (3) faces probable, imminent, and
irreparable injury in the interim. Sharma v. Vinmar
Int'l, Ltd., 231 S.W.3d 405, 419 (Tex. App.-Houston
[14th Dist.] 2007, no pet.) (citing Butnaru, 84
S.W.3d at 204). Litigants generally are not entitled to
temporary injunctive relief as a matter of right. Walling
v. Metcalfe, 863 S.W.2d 56, 57 (Tex. 1993) (per curiam).
The decision to grant or deny such relief instead is
committed to the trial court's discretion, and we will
uphold its ruling absent a clear abuse of that discretion.
Id. at 58.
court determines to grant injunctive relief, the order itself
must "set forth the reasons for its issuance[, ] be
specific in terms[, and] describe in reasonable detail and
not by reference to the complaint or other documents, the act
or acts sought to be restrained." Tex.R.Civ.P. 683.
These requirements are mandatory and must be strictly
followed. InterFirst Bank San Felipe, N.A. v. Paz Constr.
Co., 715 S.W.2d 640, 641 (Tex. 1986); Intex
Livingspace, Ltd. v. Roset USA Corp., No.
14-10-00855-CV, 2011 WL 1466416, at *3 (Tex. App.-Houston
[14th Dist.] Apr. 19, 2011, no pet.) (mem. op.). An order
that does not comply is subject to being declared void and
dissolved. InterFirst Bank, 715 S.W.2d at 641;
Intex Livingspace, 2011 WL 1466416, at *3. The fact
that a valid reason for granting relief might appear
elsewhere in the record cannot save an order that does not
comply with Rule 683. See Intex Livingspace, 2011 WL
1466416, at *3 (citing State v. United Cook, Inc.,
464 S.W.2d 105 (Tex. 1971)). This is because the very purpose
of the Rule 683 requirements is to ensure that a party is
adequately informed of what it is enjoined from doing and why
it is so enjoined. See In re Chaumette, 456 S.W.3d
299, 305 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, orig.
forth above, the trial court's order in this case stated
as the reason for its issuance "that unless the . . .
[i]njunction is granted, [Action] will suffer imminent,
irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at
law." Courts have repeatedly rejected such conclusory
statements as not fulfilling the requirements of Rule 683.
See id. at 305-06 (collecting cases); see also
AutoNation, Inc. v. Hatfield, 186 S.W.3d 576, 581 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2005, no pet.) ("Merely
stating that a party 'will suffer irreparable harm'
or 'has no adequate remedy at law' does not meet the
Rule 683 requirement for specificity.").
the order identifies the acts sought to be restrained by
referencing funds relating to materials furnished by Action
to "the construction projects at issue in this
lawsuit," but it does not otherwise specify what those
construction projects might be. Action suggests that the
projects in question could be determined by looking at
Action's petition. The order does not go so far as to
reference the petition, but even if it had, Rule 683
specifically states that the acts to be restrained must be
"describe[d] in reasonable detail and not by reference
to the complaint or other documents." There is,
essentially, no way to tell from the order itself and without
reference to the petition which projects were to have funds
deposited into the court's registry. Accordingly, the
order did not meet the requirements of Rule 683. See,
e.g., White v. Impact Floors of Tex., LP & IFT,
Inc., No. 05-18-00384-CV, 2018 WL 6616973, at *2-3 (Tex.
App.-Dallas Dec. 18, 2018, no pet.) (mem. op.) (holding order
provided inadequate description of acts to be restrained whe
it referenced employment agreement for definition of material
that party was enjoined from disclosing); Sawyers v.
Carter, No. 01-14-00870-CV, 2015 WL 3981313, at *2 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] June 30, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)
(holding order was inadequate when it ...