A preliminary injunction is a court order where a party is instructed to perform, or is restrained from performing, a specific act. A preliminary injunction is deemed to be an extraordinary remedy, which is reserved for special situations where it is necessary to maintain the status quo for a period of time.

 Dr. Robert Patel filed a motion with the federal District Court in and for the District of New Jersey seeking a preliminary injunction against his former employer Meridian Health System, Inc.

Patel, a physician practicing in New Jersey, brought suit in May of last year after being suspended from Bayshore Community Hospital (“Bayshore”).  Patel was concerned that the public disclosure of his suspension would have a negative effect on his professional reputation, so he asked for a temporary restraining order, a type of injunction, to prevent Bayshore from reporting his suspension to the National Practitioner Data Bank (“NPDB”), a national repository of information on physicians. Since Bayshore agreed to wait to file the status report until the resolution of the court case, the District Court issued the requested temporary restraining order on June 1, 2012 (“June 1 Order). 
A month later, Bayshore filed a motion to dismiss Patel’s complaint, or, in the alternative, to stay the suit until the outcome of an internal appeals process at Bayshore.  A week later, Patel requested a preliminary injunction to reinstate him to his position with Bayshore.  Two days after Patel’s request, the District Court issued an order (“July 13 Order”) staying the proceedings and denying Patel’s motion for a preliminary injunction as moot. That court also stated that the June 1 Order restraining Bayshore from reporting Patel’s suspension to the NPDB was to remain in full force and effect.  Patel appealed.
Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit wrote an unpublished opinion in which, inter alia, stated that Patel was not required to satisfy any jurisdictional criteria beyond the fact that he appealed from an order refusing to enter an injunction.
Further, the court explained that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a) provides that a district court ruling on a motion for a preliminary injunction must “state the [factual] findings and [legal] conclusions that support its action.”  Judge Greenaway wrote, while the Third Circuit has recognized that the Federal Rules do not “make a hearing a prerequisite for ruling on a preliminary injunction,” it also stated that a district court must make the sort of legal and factual findings required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a) “even when there has been no evidentiary hearing on the motion.”
In this case, Patel and Bayshore agreed that the District Court did not reach the merits of Patel’s motion, but instead simply denied it as “moot.”  Judge Greenaway held that, as a consequence, the July 13 Order was "devoid of the necessary factual findings and legal conclusions required by Rule 52(a)(2)."  When a district court order doesn’t "adequately support the resolution of a motion for preliminary injunction," the appellate court may vacate and remand the matter for additional findings.”  The Court of Appeals may also first examine the record to determine if there was a sufficient basis to ascertain the legal and factual grounds for the grant or denial of an injunction.  In light of the record in this case, the Third Circuit declined to examine the merits of Patel’s preliminary injunction motion.
The Third Circuit vacated the July 13 Order and remanded the case to the District Court to address Patel’s motion for a preliminary injunction. The Third Circuit expressed no opinion on the ultimate outcome of the District Court’s subsequent consideration.  Nor did it comment on the propriety of the District Court’s decision to stay the overall litigation.
Patel v. Meridian Health System, Inc., — Fed.Appx. —-, 2013 WL 4734079 (3d Cir. Sept. 4, 2013).