(Clarke Circuit Court, CV-14-00007).
Justice. Moore, C.J., and Stuart, Bolin, Parker, Murdock,
Shaw, Main, and Wise, JJ., concur.
FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
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.
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. The complaint
sought money damages and injunctive relief. Also in July
2014, the trial court entered a preliminary
injunction prohibiting Butts from any involvement in the
operation of Hometown.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...