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J.K. Hill & Associates, INC. v. PKL Services, Inc.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

February 5, 2014

J.K. HILL & ASSOCIATES, INC., Plaintiff,
PKL SERVICES, INC., Defendant.


At Wilmington, having reviewed the papers filed in connection with plaintiffs motion for injunctive relief, and having heard oral argument on the same; the court concludes that said motion (D.I. 1) should be granted, for the reasons that follow:

1. Standard of review.

"The decision to grant or deny . . . injunctive relief is an act of equitable discretion by the district court." eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388, 391 (2006). The grant of a preliminary injunction is considered an "extraordinary remedy" that should be granted only in "limited circumstances." See Kos Pharm., Inc. v. Andrx Corp., 369 F.3d 700, 708 (3d Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). The moving party for injunctive relief must establish: "(1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) that it will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is denied; (3) that granting preliminary relief will not result in even greater harm to the nonmoving party; and (4) that the public interest favors such relief." Id. (citation omitted). The burden lies with the movant to establish every element in its favor or the grant of a preliminary injunction is inappropriate. See P.C. Yonkers, Inc. v. Celebrations, the Party and Seasonal Superstore, LLC, 428 F.3d 504, 508 (3d Cir. 2005). If either or both of the fundamental requirements - likelihood of success on the merits and probability of irreparable harm if relief is not granted - are absent, an injunction cannot issue. See McKeesport Hosp. v. Accreditation Council for Graduate Med. Educ, 24 F.3d 519, 523 (3d Cir. 1994).

"Where a plaintiff seeks a mandatory preliminary injunction, rather than a prohibitory preliminary injunction, the burden of showing an entitlement to relief is greater." Hart Intercivic, Inc. v. Diebold, Inc., Civ. No. 09-678, 2009 WL 3245466, at *3 (D. Del. Sept. 30, 2009). "A party seeking a mandatory preliminary injunction that will alter the status quo bears a particularly heavy burden in demonstrating its necessity." Acierno v. New Castle County, 40 F.3d 645, 653 (3d Cir. 1994) (citing Punnett v. Carter, 621 F.2d 578, 582 (3d Cir. 1980)).

2. Background.

Effective January 8, 2009, defendant PKL Services, Inc. ("PKL") entered into a contract with the United States[1] to perform selected maintenance tasks on several helicopters ("the Prime Contract"). (D.I. 11, ex. A) To "aid in the performance of the Prime Contract, " PKL obtained the services of plaintiff J.K. Hill & Associates, Inc. (JKH"), with the parties entering into a subcontract effective February 5, 2009 ("the Subcontract"). (D.I. 3, ex. A) Of relevance to the dispute at issue are the following sections of the Subcontract:


The services shall be performed during the period of performance of the Prime Contract, including all Options and extensions thereto. Prime Contractor shall, to the extent permitted by Federal law, extend this Agreement with written notice within five (5) days of receiving written notice of extension by the Customer to the Prime Contractor, exercising each Option period with Subcontractor followed by a written modification signed by both parties as indicated below:


Period of Performance

Base Period

02/05/2009 - 8/04/2009

Option Period One


Option Period Two

02/05/2010 - 08/04/2010

Option Period Three

08/05/2010 - 02/04/2011

Option Period Four

02/05/2011 - 08/04/20111

Option Period Five

08/05/2011 - 02/04/2012

Option Period Six


Option Period Seven

08/05/2012 - 02/04/2013

Option Period Eight

02/05/2013 - 08/04/2013

Option Period Nine

08/05/2013 - 02/04/2014


J.K. Hill Head Count for Lot 3 (AH-1W/UH-1N/CH53D/E) & lot 4 (CH-46E) as provided to PKL for RESET RFQ N00421-08-R-0073 and awarded under N00421-09-C-0023. Per the Teaming Agreement, dated 7/07/08, J.K. Hill will maintain 25% of the headcount on Lot 3 and 37% of the headcount on Lot 4.

In the performance of these services the Subcontractor will provide the necessary labor required to perform its work under this Agreement, unless otherwise required by the Prime Contractor.


Changes in the Prime Contract SOW may be initiated by the Government or the Prime Contractor. It is understood and agreed by both the Prime Contractor and the Subcontractor that only changes to the Prime Contract SOW, directed and/or approved in writing by the Government, may be implemented under the Changes clause. The Subcontractor ...

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