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Injunction is the appropriate remedy to determine whether rights have been affected by the arbitrary or unreasonable action of an administrative agency.  The judiciary has the right to restrain, if the discretionary power of an administrative agency is abused or its judgment improperly exercised.[i]

The APA provides that reviewing courts “shall” compel agency action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed.  A reviewing court is required to issue an injunction to compel an agency to take statutorily-mandated action.  It has no equitable discretion to permit noncompliance with the statute, unless such action is presently barred by a Congressional moratorium on spending for that purpose.[ii]  Courts will not grant injunctive relief which would:

  • improperly frustrate congressionally mandated procedures;
  • interrupt ongoing agency procedures, unless the agency violates a petitioner’s constitutional or statutory rights, or a right created by a regulation, or the issue involved is strictly legal.[iii]

Therefore, the issuance of an injunction to stay agency proceedings is rare.[iv]

[i] Reed v. Civil Service Com., 301 Mich. 137 (Mich. 1942)

[ii] Forest Guardians v. Babbitt, 174 F.3d 1178 (10th Cir. 1999).

[iii] Myers v. Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., 303 U.S. 41, 58 S. Ct. 459, 82 L. Ed. 638 (1938); Gibson v. Berryhill, 411 U.S. 564, 93 S. Ct. 1689, 36 L. Ed. 2d 488 (1973); LEEDOM v. KYNE, 358 U.S. 184 (U.S. 1958)

[iv] SEC v. R. A. Holman & Co., 323 F.2d 284 (D.C. Cir. 1963)

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