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Ex parte Przybysz

Supreme Court of Alabama

September 1, 2017

Ex parte Robert Przybysz, Ingenuity International, LLC, David Byker, and Global Asset Management Holdings, LLC
v.
B2K Systems, LLC, et al. In re: Nannette Smith and B2K Systems, Inc. Ex parte Robert Przybysz, Ingenuity International, LLC, David Byker, and Global Asset Management Holdings, LLC In re: Global Asset Management Holdings, LLC
v.
B2K Systems, LLC

         Jefferson Circuit Court, CV-14-163, CV-14-369

          PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

          PARKER, JUSTICE.

         Robert Przybysz, Ingenuity International, LLC ("Ingenuity"), David Byker, and Global Asset Management Holdings, LLC ("GAM") (hereinafter collectively referred to as "the defendants"), filed two petitions for a writ of mandamus in this Court.[1] Both petitions seek a writ ordering the Jefferson Circuit Court ("the circuit court") to vacate the portion of its order requiring Przybysz, Byker, and GAM to dismiss an action they filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama ("the federal district court") against Nannette Smith alleging breach of a settlement agreement between the parties.[2]

         Facts and Procedural History

         The parties have been involved in litigation concerning a business dispute for several years. A detailed recitation of the facts concerning the business dispute is not necessary to analyze the issue raised in the defendants' mandamus petitions. In summary, Smith and B2K Systems, Inc. ("B2K Inc."), filed an action against the defendants and B2K Systems, LLC ("B2K LLC"), in the circuit court asserting various claims, and, at some point, GAM filed an action in the circuit court against B2K LLC. The two cases were consolidated in the circuit court. On November 15, 2016, after years of litigation, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, settling both cases.

         As part of the settlement agreement, Byker and/or GAM were to make an initial payment to Smith and then additional payments over a 30-month period.[3] In exchange, Smith agreed to provide a business asset, which is the object of the underlying litigation, to the defendants. Because the settlement agreement required payments to be made over a 30-month period, the circuit court did not enter a final judgment on the settlement agreement, but placed the case on its administrative docket with the intention of leaving it there until the payments to Smith were satisfied. There is no indication that a final judgment has been entered in the underlying cases.

         On December 19, 2016, Przybysz, Byker, and GAM sued Smith in the federal district court asserting various claims based on Smith's alleged breach of the settlement agreement. On December 28, 2016, Smith and B2K Inc. filed an amended complaint in the circuit court asserting additional claims based on the defendants' alleged breach of the settlement agreement. Smith and B2K Inc. also filed a motion requesting that the circuit court find the defendants in contempt for filing the action in the federal district court and assessing sanctions against them. Lastly, Smith and B2K Inc. requested that the circuit court enter a consent judgment in their favor in the amount of $750, 000.

         On January 30, 2017, following a hearing, the circuit court entered an order denying Smith and B2K Inc.'s motion to find the defendants in contempt. However, the circuit court ordered Przybysz, Byker, and GAM to dismiss their action in the federal district court:

"4. The court continues to retain jurisdiction of this matter and of the execution of the settlement per the agreement of the parties.
"5. The defendants are ORDERED and DIRECTED to promptly dismiss any and all federal lawsuits filed ... pertaining to the settlement of this case or purporting to seek enforcement of the settlement of this case or relief from the terms of the settlement."

(Capitalization in original.) The defendants then filed their petitions with this Court seeking mandamus relief.

         Standard of Review

         "A writ of mandamus will be granted where 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 ...

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