Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ex parte Butts

Supreme Court of Alabama

June 5, 2015

Ex parte Tanya Butts
v.
Tanya Butts In re: Gaines C. McCorquodale and Lizann Pezent

          (Clarke Circuit Court, CV-14-00007).

         BRYAN, Justice. Moore, C.J., and Stuart, Bolin, Parker, Murdock, Shaw, Main, and Wise, JJ., concur.

          OPINION

Page 932

         PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

         BRYAN, Justice.

         Tanya Butts petitions this Court for a writ of mandamus directing the Clarke Circuit Court to stay the proceedings in the underlying civil case until a criminal case pending against her is completed. Butts contends that a stay in the civil case is necessary to protect her constitutional right against self-incrimination. We deny the petition.

         Gaines C. McCorquodale and Butts each own a one-half interest in Hometown Hospice, Inc. (" Hometown" ), a hospice business located in Jackson. In July 2014, McCorquodale sued Butts, asserting claims based on allegations that Butts had misappropriated funds belonging to Hometown.[1] The complaint sought money damages and injunctive relief. Also in July 2014, the trial court entered a preliminary

Page 933

injunction prohibiting Butts from any involvement in the operation of Hometown.

         On August 5, 2014, Butts filed an answer and counterclaims alleging, among other things, breach of fiduciary duty, libel, and conversion. In her answer, Butts also petitioned for the dissolution of Hometown pursuant to § 10A-2-14.30 et seq., Ala. Code 1975 (allowing the appropriate circuit court to dissolve a corporation). In petitioning for dissolution, Butts asserted that she and McCorquodale were " deadlocked" in the operation of the corporation. McCorquodale later elected to purchase Butts's shares of Hometown in lieu of dissolution, in accordance with § 10A-2-14.34, Ala. Code 1975. Because McCorquodale elected to purchase Butts's shares, it became necessary to determine the value of Hometown. However, the parties were unable to agree on the value, and McCorquodale consequently asked the trial court to determine Hometown's value. See § 10A-2-14.34(d). At that point, the immediate focus of the civil case became determining the value of Hometown for purposes of § 10A-2-14.34. The trial court scheduled a hearing for January 28, 2015, to determine the value of Hometown. Both sides conducted discovery in the weeks leading up to the scheduled hearing.

         On January 15, 2015, Butts was indicted on several counts of theft of property relating to her involvement with Hometown. On January 26, 2015, Butts filed a motion seeking (1) to continue the valuation hearing set for January 28 and (2) to stay the entire civil case pending the resolution of the criminal case against her. Butts contended that she was entitled to the stay based on her right against self-incrimination. McCorquodale opposed the motion both as to a continuance and a stay.

         The trial court held the valuation hearing as scheduled on January 28. Butts, concerned about the possibility of waiving her right against self-incrimination in the criminal case, chose not to testify or to present evidence at the hearing. McCorquodale presented expert evidence regarding the value of Hometown, and Butts's attorney cross-examined his expert. The trial court asked Butts's attorney if he wanted to present a valuation expert, but he declined. At the end of the hearing, the trial court concluded that it had received sufficient evidence to decide the valuation issue and stated that it would decide that issue within a week to 10 days. However, the trial court also stated that it would hold another valuation hearing if Butts wanted to produce an expert before it made its valuation decision. The trial court did not rule on the larger question whether the remainder of the civil case -- other than the valuation issue -- should be stayed pending the resolution of the criminal case.

         About a week after the valuation hearing and before the trial court issued any order regarding the valuation, Butts petitioned this Court for a writ of mandamus directing the trial court to stay the proceedings in the civil case (including the valuation of Hometown) until the resolution of the criminal case. Butts also sought a stay of the civil case pending our resolution of the mandamus petition; we issued a stay on February 12, 2015.

" A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary remedy, and it will be 'issued only when there is: 1) a clear legal right in the petitioner to the order sought; 2) an imperative duty upon the respondent to perform, accompanied by a refusal to do so; 3) the lack of another adequate remedy; and 4) properly invoked jurisdiction of the court.' Ex ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.