Summary Enforcement of Settlement Agreement – Due Process

Ingenuity International, LLC, et al. v. Smith, [Ms. SC-2022-0501; SC-2022-0502, June 16, 2023] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2023). The Court (Parker, C.J.; Shaw, Wise, Mitchell, and Cook, JJ., concur; Bryan, Sellers, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur in the result) reverses the Jefferson Circuit Court’s order summarily enforcing a settlement “by ordering the defendants to either (1) pay money directly to the plaintiff or (2) pay money to the clerk of court pending adjudication of the plaintiff’s claims alleging breach of the settlement agreement.” Ms. *1.

The Court reiterates that “a trial court should not sua sponte enter a summary judgment for a party who has not moved for such a judgment without affording the other party an opportunity to respond, Giles v. Brookwood Health Servs., Inc., 5 So. 3d 533, 555 (Ala. 2008).” Ms. *11. Relatedly, the Court holds “entering a summary judgment without a motion from the benefitting party, and without providing the other party notice and an opportunity to respond, violates the due-process rights of that other party.” Ibid. While § 34-3-21, Ala. Code 1975, authorized the circuit court to enforce the settlement agreement; “[a]uthority to enforce does not mean authority to enforce without due process.” Ms. *12.

Related Documents