While we've written fairly extensively on the subject of seeking an injunction from the Court (see e.g., "Why Restraining Orders Are So Important in a New York Non-Compete Case" and "The 3 Critical Steps to Defend Against a TRO in a New York Non-Compete Case"), particularly with regard to having the Court issue an Order barring a former employee from poaching his former employer's clients or fellow employees, there is an important factor that must be taken into consideration before embarking down the path of seeking the injunction: whether the party seeking the injunction (alternatively referred to as a restraining order) has "clean hands."


Naturally, this leads to two questions:


(1) What does that mean? and,


(2) Why is that important?


First, "clean hands" means that the party who is seeking the injunction, which is a form of equitable, or "fairness-based," relief hasn't done anything manifestly improper.


The reason why this is important in this context is because clean hands are a prerequisite for obtaining injunctive relief - regardless of any alleged or even actual wrong attributable to defendants. Or, as one of New York's courts put it  "He who comes to equity must come with clean hands" and unclean hands may bar injunctive relief concerning enforcement of a shareholders' agreement. Amarant v D'Antonio, 197 AD2d 432, 434 (1st Dept 1993).