Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 1.djvu/135

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bill for an injunction; for otherwise B might have to bring an indefinite number of actions. If, indeed, there be a question of right involved between A and B, equity will not necessarily interfere after a single trial at law, but it will interfere as soon as it thinks the right has been sufficiently tried. So if many persons are severally committing, or threatening to commit, similar torts against one, and each tort involves the same questions, both of fact and law, as every other, the one may file a bill against the many (or against a few of them on behalf of themselves and all the others), and obtain an injunction; for otherwise he would have to bring a separate action at law against each. So, too, if one person is committing, or threatening to commit, torts against each of many others, each tort involving the same questions of fact and law as every other, the many (or a few of them representing themselves and all the others) may file a bill against the one, and obtain an injunction; for otherwise each of them would have to bring an action against him. In such cases the bill is commonly called a bill of peace.

When a court of equity is applied to for a remedy by way of prevention, the defendant may have already begun the commission of the acts of which a prevention is sought, or the plaintiff’s case may be merely that the defendant will commit them unless prevented by an injunction. In the latter event the plaintiff may encounter a difficulty in the way of proof; for a court of equity cannot interfere to prevent the commission of an act, however wrongful, merely because the defendant is liable to commit it, nor even because other people think he will commit it; it must be satisfied that he intends to commit it. And yet an intention to commit a wrongful act is apt to be one of the most difficult things to prove, as a person who has such an intention is not likely to proclaim it beforehand by words or deeds; and yet these are the only means by which the intention can be proved.

If the remedy by way of prevention is not made effective until the commission of the acts sought to be prevented has been begun, the plaintiff, of course, needs a double remedy; namely, prevention as to the future, and specific reparation or a compensation in money for the past. If it is a case in which equity can and will compel specific reparation, of course the plaintiff will obtain complete relief in equity, both as to the past and as to the future. But how will it be if (as commonly happens) the plaintiff can have