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Injunctions/Temporary Restraining Orders


An injunction or temporary restraining order is an order from the court prohibiting a party from performing or ordering a specified act, either temporarily or permanently. Also, the court may issue a protective order, including restraining orders or injunctions, to preserve the availability of property subject to civil forfeiture and to protect the interest of the United States in property subject to forfeiture.

Territorial Limits

The injunction or order is normally limited to execution within the issuing district, but may extend outside the district or state upon order of the court if the court has personal (in personam) jurisdiction over the named individual or under statutory authority– i.e., in trademark and copyright cases. However, the parties may only challenge the court's personal jurisdiction.

Issued By

A U.S. District Court judge issues the injunction or order under the seal of the clerk of the court.

Served By

The injunction or order is served by a U.S. Marshal or another person, presumably a law enforcement officer, specifically appointed by the court in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4.1(a).

Manner of Service Except in forfeiture actions when the United States is the plaintiff, the requesting party may be required to provide an indemnity bond and an advance deposit to cover the U.S. Marshal's estimated out-of-pocket expenses. Service is accomplished by serving the within-named individual(s) or addressee(s) in person. Unless there is specific enforcement language in the order directed to the U.S. Marshal, the Marshal has no responsibility or authority to assure compliance with the order. If the party served fails to comply with the order, the requesting party or the court may pursue legal action.


The individual effecting service will provide proof of service by recording on the writ a description of the action taken according to the instructions contained in it. The instructions may require that an inventory be done, including the proper value of the property seized.

Note: The information related to the service of court process that is contained on this web site is general information and not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive explanation or depiction of Federal rules of procedures for the service of process. Readers are directed to the Federal Rules of Criminal and Civil Procedure; personal legal counsel; the United States Code, Titles 18 and 28; their local U.S. Attorney's Office and District Court for specific, authoritative guidance.