Injunction by Noticed Motion
Templates and Forms
If you believe that someone is likely to take an action that will violate your rights, you can ask a court to issue a preliminary injunction prohibiting (“enjoining”) the action until the case between you and the other party is over. It takes more than three weeks to get a preliminary injunction (sometimes much more). There are no fill-in-the-blanks forms for an injunction, and there are several steps involved.
Before requesting an injunction, you must start a lawsuit regarding the underlying problem or conflict. Unless you have already sued the party you want enjoined, the first step is to file a Complaint in court. This guide does not cover how to write the initial complaint, since it will need to fit your particular circumstances.
Fee and fee waiver. There is a fee for filing a Complaint. For an unlimited civil case the fee is currently $435. The fee for filing a Motion is $60, but if you file your Motion along with the Complaint, this fee will be waived. Check the current Sacramento County filing fees before filing. If you are low-income and/or receiving certain benefits, you may qualify for a fee waiver. See our Fee Waiver guide for details.
Warning: This is a complicated procedure with several steps. You will be expected to follow all the same rules as a lawyer would. You will need to do extensive research and writing—we simply provide the format. You will probably have to go to court and speak in front of the judge, the other side, and an audience. If you cannot or prefer not to do these tasks, you will need to hire an attorney.
Notice: The judge may (in some cases, must) require you to post a bond that will be used to compensate the defendant for any losses if the judge later decides the injunction was improperly granted. You will need to obtain this bond from a surety bond company, which will require a deposit and a fee.
Research and Write Your Complaint and Accompanying Papers
Skip to Step 2 if you have already started a lawsuit against the defendant.
Write the Complaint. You need to sue the person or people whose actions threaten to violate your rights. See our guide “Filing a New Civil Lawsuit” for more information and required forms. If you want a permanent injunction at the end of the case, you must file an unlimited civil case. Include one cause of action for an injunction against the party or parties to be enjoined.
This guide includes a template complaint with cause of action for injunction. It will not fit your circumstances exactly and must be customized.
Reserve Your Hearing Date and Determine Filing and Service Deadlines
This information is for Sacramento. If your case is in a different county, do not follow these instructions. Instead, call the clerk or visit the court website in your county to find the correct information.
Write Your Motion for Preliminary Injunction
There is no pre-printed form for this motion. You will need to customize a motion on “pleading paper.” Instructions and a sample motion are at the end of this guide.
Parts of a Motion
The Motion consists of several required parts. You can download a customizable template that you can edit with most word processing programs from the link at the end of this Guide, and a sample is attached at the end of this Guide.
- Notice of Motion and Motion for Preliminary Injunction. In this part, you set the hearing date, explain briefly what you are requesting (the injunction), and include a required paragraph about Sacramento’s tentative ruling system.
- Memorandum of Points and Authorities. In this part, you explain the laws that cover injunctions and the facts which entitle you to an injunction in your particular case. This portion will likely require you to do legal research and demonstrate how your situation fits in with the law.
- Declaration or Declarations. A Declaration is a sworn statement about the facts. This is what the judge considers as evidence in your case. You should state all of the facts necessary for the court to rule in your favor. Attach all of the exhibits (photos, documents, and other evidence) that you wish the court to consider. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your Declaration may be short or long. Regardless of length, it must be sufficient to establish to the court’s satisfaction that the injunction is necessary.
- Proposed Order. Along with your Motion, you will need to submit a separate Proposed Order granting your preliminary injunction, so that the Judge can sign off on it easily.
Your declaration must contain only facts you personally know to be true.
If someone else knows facts or took pictures you need to prove your argument, have them fill out and sign their own Declaration. They can use our template or write or type it on the standard form MC-030, Declaration.
Your Declaration should be consistent with the facts set forth in your Complaint, but is typically written in the first person, since it is the statement of the person signing the Declaration. Unlike the Complaint, which may contain facts for several causes of action, the Declaration supporting the Motion should focus on the specific facts that the court must consider in deciding whether to grant an injunction. You will sign it under penalty of perjury. Each separate fact should be explained in a numbered paragraph, so that you can easily refer to that fact in other documents.
The Declaration is the most important part of the Motion. The judge generally makes a decision on the Motion the day before the hearing date, based only on the paperwork, so the Declaration(s) and exhibits must contain everything needed justify the injunction.
It is possible to have more than one supporting Declaration. If your Motion relies on statements by someone other than you, you should obtain a Declaration from the person who made those statements to avoid problems with “hearsay.” Chapter 16 of Nolo’s book Represent Yourself in Court, which is listed as a resource at the end of this Guide, has a good, plain-English description of the evidence rules regarding hearsay. If obtaining a Declaration from the person who made the statements is not possible, you will need to research whether there is an exception to the hearsay rule that will allow the court to consider your evidence.
Documents and photos can be attached to a Declaration as exhibits. In the Declaration, identify the document with language such as:
14. I am the registered owner of a 2002 Toyota Corolla, license plate number 3TXS596, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) 7842084092307 (“the Vehicle”). A true and correct copy of the registration certificate is attached as Exhibit “A.”
In the above example, you would then photocopy the registration and write “Exhibit A” on the bottom of the first page. If an exhibit is longer than one page, number each page. If you have other documents to submit, use the same “true and correct” language to attach them as Exhibits B, C, and so forth.
For each exhibit attached to your motion, you must place a page in front of the exhibit identifying it as Exhibit A, B, and so forth in alphabetical order. In one copy, you must use bottom tabs to separate the exhibits, for the convenience of the judge when s/he reads the papers. Use exhibit tabs in one of the copies (you can purchase the tabs at the Circulation Desk in the Law Library).
A number of rules of evidence govern whether the court may consider a document, typically requiring the declarant to set up a sufficient “foundation” for it to be considered within the declaration. Chapter 15 of Represent Yourself in Court, on exhibits, has a good explanation of what you must include for the court to consider different types of evidence.
Copy and Assemble Your Documents
Make four (4) copies of your Motion, Proposed Order, and any additional papers, such as declarations from other people. One of these copies is to be served on the other party’s attorney (or the other party, if they do not have an attorney); the original and the other three copies are to be filed with the court. One of these copies will be stamped and returned to you for your records.
Staple each of the copies, but leave the original unstapled so the court can scan it. Include the exhibit tabs from Step 3 in one of the stapled copies (not the original).
The Sacramento Superior Court requires documents to be filed in a very specific way. For each document, they want the original and copies in a separate stack. Make a stack of Motions, and a separate stack of Proposed Orders. If you have additional documents, like other declarations from other people, make a separate stack for each of them too.
If you have not yet filed your Complaint, also make four copies of the Complaint, the Summons, and the Civil Case Cover Sheet (CM-010).
Put these documents into three stacks: a stack of your Civil Case Cover Sheet (CM-010), a stack of your Summons (SUM-100), and a stack of your Complaint.
Have the Motion Served and Include the Proof of Service with Remaining Copies
One copy of everything you plan to file must be served on all parties (or their attorneys, if any) by a person over the age of 18 who is not a party to the case. Your server must complete a proof of service form listing all documents served and all parties they are served on.
- If you have already served the Summons and Complaint, you can use Proof of Service by First Class Mail (POS-030) or Proof of Personal Service (POS-020) for the motion. For more information on these Proofs of Service, see our guides for Serving Documents by Mail and Service by Personal Delivery.
- If you are also serving the Summons and Complaint, use Proof of Service of Summons (POS-010).
Before the service, the proof of service form should be completely filled out, but not signed. Make a copy of the unsigned proof of service before proceeding and include it with the copies you will have served (“the service copies”).
The server must then personally deliver or mail the service copies.
The server then signs the Proof of Service form, and gives the signed Proof of Service to you.
Make copies of the signed proof of service. It is not necessary to copy the instruction page. Make a separate stack of the Proof of Service forms for filing.
File Your Motion in the Law and Motion Department
File the original and copies of your motion and all other papers at the Law & Motion Civil Filing Window in Room 212 on the second floor of the Hall of Justice building, located at 813 6th Street in downtown Sacramento. One copy will be returned to you.
Filing Fee: There is a $60 fee to file a motion.
First Appearance Fee: If you are filing the Summons and Complaint along with the Motion, the court will assess a first appearance fee of $435 for an unlimited complaint. This fee sometimes changes. Check the Statewide Fee Schedule for current fees.
Fee Waiver: If you are receiving government benefits such as Medi-Cal or are otherwise qualified because of low income, you can apply for a fee waiver. Turn the fee waiver request forms in with the motion instead of a fee payment. For more information, see our Step-by-Step guide on Fee Waivers.
Opposition Papers and Your Optional Reply Papers
If any party opposes the injunction, they may file an opposition at least nine court days prior to your motion, and serve you the same day by personal or overnight delivery. No fee is required to file an opposition. The opposition contains a memorandum of points and authorities and usually a declaration, but does not need the notice of motion or motion. Be sure to check your mail, and read any documents you receive carefully.
If any party does oppose your motion, you may choose to serve and file a reply to the opposition at least five court days prior to the motion. CCP § 1005. It must be served by overnight mail to reach the opposing party no more than one day after it is filed.
The reply is optional and is usually used to address new issues your opponent raised in the opposition. No fee is required to file a reply. See the our guide on Writing, Scheduling, and Opposing Motions for more information.
Review the Tentative Ruling and Notify Court and Opponent if You Wish to Appear
Pursuant to Local Rule 1.06, the judge will read your documents and will post a tentative ruling on the motion by 2:00 p.m. the court day before the hearing. If neither party requests a hearing, the hearing will be cancelled and the tentative ruling will become final. (If you are not filing in Sacramento, check with your county court for their rules on tentative rulings. Most counties use a similar system.)
You may read the tentative ruling in your online case file or call Department 53 (916-874-7858) or Department 54 (916-874-7848) to have a clerk read the ruling to you. For more information, see the Tentative Ruling Information page on the Sacramento County Superior Court’s website.
Closely review the tentative ruling. Since you are asking the court for to set aside the default, you are looking for your motion to be “GRANTED.” If the court does not grant your request, your motion will be “DENIED.” Even if your request is granted, be sure to read the tentative ruling very carefully, since it will likely contain other important information.
If you are happy with the tentative ruling: you do not need to do anything. You won’t have to go to court unless the tentative ruling orders you to go, or the other side calls you and the court between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. the court day before your hearing date to request an oral argument in front of the judge. If that happens, you should go to the court hearing and be prepared to argue why your motion should be granted.
If you are not happy with the tentative ruling: You can present arguments in front of the judge. To do so, call the Law and Motion Oral Argument Request Line at (916) 874-2615 by 4:00 p.m. the Court day before the hearing. You must also contact all opposing counsel and/or self-represented parties before 4:00 p.m. to let them know that you are requesting oral argument on the motion.
Attend the Hearing, if Necessary
If neither party calls the court and opposing party to request oral argument, the court will simply make the tentative ruling the order of the court.
If you or the other party request oral argument, you can attend in person or remotely by video or phone call using the Zoom app. The tentative ruling will explain how to connect if you choose to use Zoom.
Arrive or log onto Zoom early. There will probably be other cases scheduled at the same time. Go into the courtroom or Zoom waiting room and check in with the bailiff or clerk..
When your name is called, be ready to speak and to answer any questions the judge has. You will only have a few minutes. After both sides speak, the judge may make a decision right away, or may “take it under consideration” and mail out the decision in a few days.
The defendant(s) must file a response to the Complaint within 30 days of being served. If they do not, you can request a default judgment (see our guides on “Request a Default Judgment by Clerk” and “Request a Default Judgment by Court”). If they do respond, the parties can begin discovery, the process by which you gather information to prove your case. Visit our Discovery topic page for a series of videos and guides on discovery.
Enforcing the Injunction
If the judge grants the injunction, but the other party disobeys it, you can file a declaration requesting that the judge find them in contempt of court. CCP §1211(a). If you can prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they may be fined up to $1000, jailed for up to five days, or both. CCP §1218(a). You can find more information on that in some of the books listed below.
For more information
On the Web
Sacramento County Superior Court
“Filing Instructions and Procedures: New Complaint, Petition, or Appeal of the Labor Commissioner”
This page explains filing procedures for various types of papers, including new complaints.
“Motions and Hearings”
This page contains information on motions in Sacramento.
At the Law Library
California Forms of Pleading and Practice (KFC 1010 .A65 C3)
Chapter 303, “Injunctions,” has in-depth information on temporary restraining orders and injunctions, including information and forms for enforcing injunctions via contempt. Other chapters have sample complaints for various causes of action which you may use to write your Complaint (Step 1).
Electronic Access: On the Law Library’s computers, using LexisAdvance.
California Civil Procedure before Trial (KFC995 .C34)
Chapter 32, “Injunctions and Other Provisional Remedies,” has in-depth information and includes a section on enforcing injunctions via contempt.
Electronic Access: On the Law Library’s computers, using the OnLaw database.
Win Your Lawsuit (KFC 968 .D86)
This book does not cover restraining orders, but it can help you draft the underlying complaint. It contains sample filled-out forms for breach of contract, personal injury, and related causes of action.
Represent Yourself in Court (KF 8841 .B47)
This book contains information on preparing for and conducting hearings. Chapter 16 has a good, plain-English description of the evidence rules, including hearsay.
Electronic Access: From any computer (Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions to access the LIRC
California Causes of Action (KFC 1003 .C35)
This book describes many of the common causes of action. It comes with a CD-ROM with sample complaints that you can download and customize.
Samples and Instructions
Sample Motion for Injunction with Instructions
Click the arrows to advance through the pages of the sample motion.
Sample Proposed Order with Instructions
Click the arrows to advance through the pages of the sample proposed order.
Sample Complaint with Cause of Action for Injunction
Click the arrows to advance through the pages of the sample complaint.
This material is intended as general information only. Your case may have factors requiring different procedures or forms. The information and instructions are provided for use in the Sacramento County Superior Court. Please keep in mind that each court may have different requirements. If you need further assistance consult a lawyer.