Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Perhaps the single most important prerequisite for the issuance of a preliminary injunction is a demonstration that if it is not granted the applicant is likely to suffer irreparable harm before a decision on the merits can be rendered. Irreparable injury, moreover, means injury for which a monetary award cannot be adequate compensation.
Plaintiff, the New York State Bar Association ("NYSBA"), sought to enjoin Janet Reno, the Attorney General of the United States, from enforcing section 4734 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, incorporated into section 217 of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(a), which made it a criminal act to advise an individual to dispose of assets in order for the individual to become eligible for medical assistance. NYSBA filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. NYSBA asserted that section 4734 violated the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Reno stated that it would neither defend the constitutionality of 42 U.S.C.S § 1320a-7b(a)(6) nor enforce its criminal provisions. Thus, Reno argued that a preliminary injunction was no longer needed
Did the limitation on free speech constitute irreparable injury to NYSBA, satisfying the elements required for a preliminary injunction?
The court found that inasmuch as § 4734 remained part of the laws of the United States, which NYSBA’s members were ethically bound to uphold, the limitation on free speech constituted irreparable injury to NYSBA. Therefore, the court found that NYSBA satisfied the elements required for a preliminary injunction.