United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY
LEVY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the motion of Plaintiff
EMEP, LLC for a Temporary Restraining Order (ECF No. 4).
case arises out of an alleged agreement relating to the sale
of land and assets in East Millinocket, Maine (“the
Property”) by Defendant North American Recovery
Management, LLC (“NARM”) to Plaintiff EMEP, LLC
(“EMEP”). EMEP claims that the parties entered a
binding Letter of Intent governing the sale of the former
Great Northern Paper Mill in East Millinocket. EMEP further
claims that NARM is refusing to honor the parties'
agreement, and is preparing to accept new offers for the
purchase of the property. EMEP also asserts that NARM is
currently engaged in demolition activities on the property in
violation of the agreement between the parties. EMEP seeks a
Temporary Restraining Order to enjoin NARM from: (1) selling
or conveying the property or any assets located thereon; (2)
harming or interfering with any asset of the property not
identified in a Land Use Permit issued to NARM by the Maine
Department of Environmental Protection on February 1, 2017;
and (3) engaging in any activities on the property not
authorized by the February 1 Land Use Permit.
considering a request for a temporary restraining order, the
court must determine: “(1) the movant's likelihood
of success on the merits; (2) whether and to what extent the
movant would suffer irreparable harm if the request were
rejected; (3) the balance of hardships between the parties;
and (4) any effect that the injunction or its denial would
have on the public interest.” Wicked Good Charcoal,
Inc. v. The Ranch-T, LLC, 2015 WL 9581739, at *1 (D. Me.
Dec. 30, 2015) (quoting Diaz-Carrasquillo v.
Garcia-Padilla, 750 F.3d 7, 10 (1st Cir. 2014)).
Likelihood of Success on the Merits
reviewing EMEP's submissions, I conclude that, at this
extremely preliminary stage, EMEP has demonstrated a
likelihood of success on the merits as to its breach of
contract and promissory estoppel claims. The Letter of Intent
appears to be an enforceable contract, and EMEP presents
credible evidence that NARM breached the contract. Cf.
Tobin v. Barter, 2014 ME 51, ¶ 10, 89 A.3d 1088,
1091-92 (describing elements for breach of contract claim).
also presents credible evidence that it will suffer
irreparable harm if NARM is allowed to sell the property to
another party or harm the assets on the property that EMEP
contracted to purchase. EMEP has invested a significant
amount of money in obtaining the necessary permits and
funding for carrying out its plan to repurpose the property
as a biofuel refinery. EMEP's submissions indicate that
the former Great Northern Paper Mill property is an important
part of a statewide plan for the construction and operation
of biofuel plants and that the lost business opportunities
associated with the demolition or a sale of the Property in
violation of the asserted contract would be substantial. EMEP
has therefore demonstrated a likelihood of irreparable harm.
See Woodfords Family Servs., Inc. v. Casey, 832
F.Supp. 2d. 88, 101 (D. Me. 2011) (recognizing lost business
opportunity as irreparable harm).
Balance of Hardships
balance of hardships appears to weigh in favor of EMEP.
According to the evidence presented in support of EMEP's
motion, NARM has not yet begun entertaining other offers for
the property. While EMEP indicated that NARM was currently
engaged in demolition that may or may not violate the terms
of the requested injunction, the hardship associated with a
minor delay in any demolition not authorized by Section 1.B
of the Land Use Permit is significantly outweighed by the
hardship that may be suffered by EMEP in the event the
injunction is not granted, as outlined above. Moreover, the
injunction sought will not prevent NARM from engaging in
demolition activity according to the terms of the Land Use
public interest generally is not a significant factor in a
controversy between private parties.”
Woodfords, 832 F.Supp.2d at 101. To the extent that
this factor applies, EMEP has presented persuasive arguments