Graham Allen Enterprises LLC et al v. Nine Line Apparel Inc et al
OPINION AND ORDER directing defendants 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 Def endants 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. The restrictions imposed herein s hall remain in full force and effect until a hearing is held. Plaintiff shall give security as set out. Set/Reset Deadlines as to 5 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order. Motion Hearing set for 9/20/2017 01:30 PM in Greenville #3, Clem ent F Haynsworth Fed Bldg, 300 E Washington St, Greenville before Honorable Henry M Herlong Jr. Signed by Honorable Henry M Herlong, Jr on 9/12/17. (sfla) Modified on 9/12/2017 to insert punctuation (sfla). Modified on 9/13/2017 to edit document type (jtho, ).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Graham Allen Enterprises, LLC, and
Robert G. Allen (a/k/a Graham Allen),
Nine Line Apparel, Inc., 5AB Holdings,
LLC, Tyler Merritt, and Jason Smartt,
C.A. No. 8:17-2427-HMH
OPINION & ORDER
This 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.
A 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, 69293 (3d Cir. 1997) (discussing that temporary restraining orders can be issued with notice).
The 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8:12-3435-HMH, 2012 WL 6042831, at *1 (D.S.C. Dec. 5, 2012) (unpublished) (citing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., 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)).
The 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.)
Courts 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
Consistent 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 Allen
It is 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
ORDERED 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
ORDERED 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 Procedure.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Henry M. Herlong, Jr.
Senior United States District Judge
Greenville, South Carolina
September 12, 2017
Entered at 4:08 p.m.
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