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Ex parte Logarides

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

April 28, 2017

Ex parte Matthew Kyle Logarides
v.
Matthew Kyle Logarides In re: Adena Louise Logarides

         Coffee Circuit Court, DR-16-900147

          PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

          DONALDSON, Judge.

         Matthew Kyle Logarides ("the husband") petitions this court for a writ of mandamus directing the Coffee Circuit Court ("the trial court") to vacate its order denying his motion to dismiss a case filed against him by Adena Louise Logarides ("the wife") and its order requiring him to pay temporary child support and one-half of the children's medical expenses and to enter a judgment dismissing the case. The husband argues that the trial court lacks personal jurisdiction over him and that, therefore, it could not order him to pay temporary child support and medical expenses. In response, the wife asserts that the husband has minimum contacts with Alabama and, therefore, the trial court can properly exercise personal jurisdiction over the husband. For the reasons set forth below, we deny the husband's petition.

         Facts and Procedural History

         The materials before us show that on September 13, 2016, the wife filed a complaint in the trial court against the husband seeking a divorce and custody of the parties' children, M.L. and K.L. ("the children"). Along with her complaint, the wife filed a motion requesting temporary relief with a supporting affidavit. The wife asserted that she and the children had been residents of Alabama for more than six months, that the husband was a resident of Virginia, that the husband had been physically abusive, that she and the children had been estranged from the husband since December 2013, and that, on August 26, 2016, the husband had abducted the children and refused to return them from Virginia.

         On October 11, 2016, without the aid of counsel, the husband filed an answer to the wife's complaint. To his answer, the husband attached an unsigned, handwritten document in which he asserted that the wife and the children had not lived in Alabama for six months preceding the filing of the complaint and that the complaint should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The husband also asserted that he had filed a custody petition in Virginia on September 8, 2016.[1]

         On November 7, 2016, through counsel, the husband filed an amended answer with an attached affidavit in which he asserted, among other things, that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over the husband because he is a resident of Virginia and that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over the wife and children because they are residents of Georgia.[2] The husband also filed a motion to dismiss based on his assertion that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over him. On November 23, 2016, the wife filed a response to the husband's motion to dismiss, with supporting documentation, in which she asserted that the husband has sufficient minimum contacts with Alabama for personal jurisdiction to attach and that she and the children had been residents of Alabama for more than six months preceding the filing of the divorce complaint.

         On January 9, 2017, the trial court entered an order in which it denied the husband's motion to dismiss, ordered the husband to respond to the wife's complaint, and ordered the husband to file a form CS-41 child-support affidavit. On February 9, 2017, the trial court entered an order requiring the husband to pay $600 per month in temporary child support and to pay one-half of the children's medical expenses not covered by insurance.

         On February 17, 2017, the husband filed a petition for the writ of mandamus with this court. On March 2, 2017, the wife filed with this court a "Verified Suggestion on the Record of ARPC Rule 1.9 Conflict of Interest Between Plaintiff-Respondent and Counsel for Defendant-Petitioner, " in which she asserted that she had consulted with the husband's counsel twice before retaining her current counsel. There is no indication that the wife filed a motion to disqualify the husband's counsel in the trial court, and the wife did not ask this court to disqualify the husband's counsel. This court issued an order for the husband's counsel to respond, if counsel desired, to the wife's filing of the suggestion of a conflict within seven days. The husband's counsel did not file a response. On March 8, 2017, the wife filed a verified answer to the mandamus petition in which she argued that the husband's petition should be denied.

         Discussion

         The primary issue asserted by the husband in support of his petition is that the trial court lacks personal jurisdiction over him and, therefore, could not order him to pay temporary child support or medical expenses. The husband asserts that the "facts demonstrate [his] lack of any contacts with the State of Alabama." Although the husband concedes that the trial court can enter an order divorcing the parties, he asserts that the trial court committed error in denying his motion to dismiss.

"The denial of a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction is reviewable upon a timely filed petition for a writ of mandamus. Ex parte Flint Constr. Co., 775 So.2d 805, 808 (Ala. 2000); Drummond Co. v. Alabama Dep't of Transp., 937 So.2d 56, 57 (Ala. 2006). With regard to an appellate court's consideration of a petition for a writ of mandamus, our supreme court has stated:
"'This Court has consistently held that the writ of mandamus is an extraordinary and drastic writ and that a party seeking such a writ must meet certain criteria. We will issue the writ of mandamus only when (1) the petitioner has a clear legal right to the relief sought; (2) the respondent has an imperative duty to perform and has refused to do so; (3) the petitioner has no other adequate remedy; and (4) this Court's jurisdiction is properly invoked. Ex parte Mercury Fin. Corp., 715 So.2d 196, 198 (Ala. 1997). Because mandamus is an extraordinary remedy, the standard by which this Court reviews a petition for the writ of mandamus is to determine whether the trial court has clearly abused its discretion. See Ex parte Rudolph, 515 So.2d 704, 706 (Ala. 1987).'

"Ex parte Flint Constr. Co., 775 So.2d at 808." Ex parte Diefenbach, 64 So.3d 1091, 1093 (Ala. ...


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