United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson Division
Graham Allen Enterprises, LLC, and Robert G. Allen a/k/a Graham Allen, Plaintiffs,
Nine Line Apparel, Inc., 5AB Holdings, LLC, Tyler Merritt, and Jason Smartt, Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
M. Herlong, Jr. Senior United States District Judge
Greenville, South Carolina
matter comes before the court on the motion of Plaintiff
Robert G. Allen, a/k/a Graham Allen (“Allen”),
for a temporary restraining order to be issued against the
Defendants Nine Line Apparel, Inc., 5AB Holdings, LLC, Tyler
Merritt, and Jason Smartt.
temporary restraining order is a drastic remedy that serves
an exceedingly narrow purpose. It exists only to preserve the
status quo until a preliminary injunction hearing can be
held. Hoechst Diafoil Co. v. Nan Ya Plastics Corp.,
174 F.3d 411, 422 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing Granny Goose
Foods, Inc. v. Bhd. of Teamsters & Auto Truck Drivers
Local No. 70 of Alameda Cty., 415 U.S. 423, 439 (1974)).
It may also be issued with or without notice to the party
whose conduct is to be enjoined. See Nutrasweet Co. v.
Vit-Mar Enterprises, Inc., 112 F.3d 689, 692-93 (3d Cir.
1997) (discussing that temporary restraining orders can be
issued with notice).
standard for granting a request for a temporary restraining
order and entering a preliminary injunction are identical.
See, e.g., Sauer-Danfoss (US) Co. v. Nianzhu
Luo, No. CA 8:12-3435-HMH, 2012 WL 6042831, at *1
(D.S.C. Dec. 5, 2012) (unpublished) (citing Commonwealth
of Virginia v. Kelly, 29 F.3d 145, 147 (4th Cir. 1994)
(applying preliminary injunction standard to a request for
temporary restraining order)). In order for such injunctive
relief to be granted, the movant must establish that
“he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is
likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of
preliminary relief, that the balance of the equities tips in
his favor, and that an injunction is in the public
interest.” Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council,
Inc., 55 U.S. 7');">555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). All four requirements must
be satisfied. Real Truth About Obama, Inc., v. Fed.
Election Comm'n, 575 F.3d 342, 346 (4th Cir. 2009),
vacated on other grounds, 559 U.S. 1089 (2010),
reinstated in relevant part on remand, 607 F.3d 355
(4th Cir. 2010). “When analyzing the irreparable harm
element, there are two inquiries: 1) whether the plaintiff is
indeed suffering actual and imminent harm; and 2) whether
that harm is truly irreparable, or whether it can be remedied
at a later time with money damages.” First Quality
Tissue SE, LLC v. Metso Paper USA, Inc., C/A No.
8:11-2457-TMC, 2011 WL 6122639, at *2 (D.S.C. Dec. 9, 2011)
(unpublished) (citing Direx Israel, Ltd. v. Breakthrough
Med. Corp., 952 F.2d 802, 811 (4th Cir. 1991)).
court is mindful of the procedural status of this case, and
that Defendants have not yet had an opportunity to respond to
the motion for TRO. However, upon the strength of the
representations made by Allen, the court is satisfied that
Allen has established that he is likely to suffer irreparable
harm as a result of the Defendants' actions. Allen
contends that he is a brand ambassador for Nine Line Apparel,
Inc. and the Defendants have removed Allen as the
administrator of his own Facebook account without his
permission. Further, Allen alleges that he has no ability to
control the content on his Facebook page at this time. (Allen
Decl. ¶¶ 10-11, ECF No. 5-1.) Allen further
contends that he is a public figure who maintains a popular
Facebook page, where he posts “daily rant”
videos. Allen has alleged that his personal Facebook page is
his intellectual property and that the Defendants'
actions threaten his reputation and business interests.
(Id. ¶ 20, ECF No. 5-1.)
consistently have recognized that the loss of permanent
relationships with customers and the misappropriation of
proprietary information constitutes irreparable harm.
See, e.g., Multi-Channel TV Cable Co. v.
Charlottesville Quality Cable Operating Co., 22 F.3d
546, 552 (4th Cir. 1994), abrogated on other grounds by
Winter, 55 U.S. 7; Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner
& Smith, Inc. v. Bradley, 756 F.2d 1048, 1055 (4th
Cir. 1985); Standard Register Co. v. Kerrigan, 119
S.E.2d 533, 538-39 (S.C. 1961); Peek v. Spartanburg
Reg'l Healthcare Sys., 626 S.E.2d 34, 37 & n.2
(S.C. Ct. App. 2005). Further, Allen has established a
likelihood of success on the merits of his claims. In
addition, the balance of the equities tip in Allen's
favor and a temporary injunction is in the interest of the
public to protect an individual's rights to his own
with Rule 65(c), “[t]he court may issue a . . .
temporary restraining order only if the movant gives security
in an amount that the court considers proper to pay the costs
and damages sustained by any party found to have been
wrongfully enjoined or restrained.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(c).
Upon due consideration, the court has determined that the
amount of one thousand dollars ($1, 000.00) shall be
sufficient security, and that this amount shall be posted by
therefore ORDERED that until further order
of the court, Defendants are directed to return full
administrative rights and control of Allen's Facebook
page to Allen; the Defendants are enjoined from further
administrative access to the Allen Facebook page; the
Defendants are to immediately withdraw their administrative
access after restoring Allen's access; and the Defendants
are prohibited from modifying, deleting, or altering any
content on the Allen Facebook page. It is further
that the restrictions imposed herein shall remain in full
force and effect until a hearing is held. The court will hold
a hearing on this matter on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, at
1:30 p.m. It is further
that Allen shall give security by executing a bond in the
amount of one thousand dollars ($1, 000.00) or by depositing
cash in said amount with the Clerk of Court for the United
States District Court for the District of South Carolina as
required by Rule 65(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil