United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
IN RE BOOKER T. WADE JR., Debtor,
ORDER DENYING EMERGENCY EX PARTE MOTION FOR STAY AND MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION
LUCY H. KOH, District Judge.
Before the Court are two motions: first, an Emergency Ex Parte Motion for Stay ("Ex Parte Motion"), and second, a Motion to Compel Arbitration ("Motion to Compel"). Both are brought by Booker T. Wade, Jr. ("Appellant, " "Debtor, " or "Wade"). For the reasons stated below, the Court finds it lacks jurisdiction to hear Appellant's Motion to Compel and therefore DENIES both the Motion to Compel and the Ex Parte Motion.
This Court summarized the relevant background in its prior Order Denying Emergency Ex Parte Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, ECF No. 4, but reproduces it here for the convenience of the reader.
Appellant filed a pro se petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Bankruptcy Court on January 22, 2013. Arlene Stevens ("Stevens"), who had a long-term business and personal relationship with Appellant, moved the Bankruptcy Court for relief from the automatic stay that results from the commencement of bankruptcy proceedings. Meanwhile, Appellant filed a Motion to Reject Executory Contract in an attempt to undo a contract with Stevens.
On September 5, 2013, the Bankruptcy Court issued an Order Denying Motion to Reject Executory Contract and Granting Motion for Relief from Stay. That Order summarizes the pertinent background to the instant Motions:
Prior to 2009, [Debtor and Stevens] were engaged in litigation in the Santa Clara Superior Court and San Mateo County Superior Court. Subsequently, the two actions were consolidated. Over the course of two and a half days, the parties to the litigation, Wade and Stevens, negotiated a comprehensive settlement, under the supervision of Judge Jamie Jacobs-May. Both Debtor and Stevens were represented by counsel in that negotiation. At the conclusion of the negotiation, Judge Jacobs-May put the settlement the parties reached on the court's record. The transcript of that resolution (the "Transcript") runs 116 pages, and was attached as Exhibit 1 to the Rejection Motion. Although a written version of the Settlement was not signed by the parties, both Debtor and Stevens agreed that the terms of the Settlement are embodied in the 116-page transcript of the settlement conference, dated January 21, 2009.
From a reading of the Settlement, it becomes clear Debtor and Stevens were personally and romantically involved for many years. During that time, they acquired individually and together, as well as through certain closely held businesses, both real and personal property. They also participated in the operation of certain businesses, including Wedding TV, a television station, KMTV. Finally, they owned certain transmission licenses and equipment. The Settlement clearly evinces the parties' intention to resolve their disputes, divide their properties and part ways-for good.
To summarize the parties' 116 page settlement discussion is challenging and unnecessary in this context. The major points of agreement were these: Stevens would sell real property at 3515 Tripp Road, Woodside, California, and Debtor would sell real property at 1010 Corporation Way, Palo Alto, and 605 Forest Avenue, Palo Alto. Stevens would keep the proceeds of the Woodside Property. Debtor would keep the proceeds of the Forest Avenue Property. Stevens and Debtor would split the proceeds of the Corporation Way property 60%-40%.
In addition, Debtor took certain broadcast equipment, and agreed to pay Stevens $300, 000 for that equipment by giving her a promissory note. The broadcast licenses held by the parties or their affiliates would be sold and the proceeds distributed to Stevens and Debtor 70%-30%. Stevens was granted ownership of certain broadcasts of Wedding TV, a program produced by the parties, and Debtor agreed to deliver to Stevens the digital computer equipment on which those episodes were recorded. The parties retained their personal effects, and agreed to split furnishings based on ownership and use. The parties agreed to present any disputes about their Settlement to Judge Silver, a JAMS arbitrator who had worked with them previously.
The parties also agreed to prepare a final settlement document reflecting the terms of their deal. They also agreed, however, that if no final settlement agreement was drafted, that they would be bound by the deal they placed on the record.
According to the declaration of David Hamerslough, Stevens' state court counsel, the Settlement has been complied with in material respects by Stevens. Among other things, Stevens sold the real property located 3575 Tripp Road, Woodside, California, and deposited $620, 000 in proceeds in a separate bank account, pending further order from the state court. Stevens also sold cellular licenses. Counsel is holding $176, 000 in funds pending further order from the state court. 1010 Corporation Way, Palo Alto, California, was foreclosed by the lender representing the Small Business Administration before it could be sold. Debtor did not sell the real property at 605 Forest Avenue, Palo Alto, California. A broadcast license in Topeka, Kansas has not been sold because Debtor was not able to secure the right to sell it from co-owners. Debtor did not give Stevens a $300, 000 promissory note.
Debtor has made several attempts to set aside the Settlement, generally based on perceived unfairness or a lack of impartiality on the part of Judge Jacobs-May or Judge Silver.
On May 7, 2009, the Superior Court granted Stevens' motion to enforce the Settlement. Debtor moved for a writ of mandamus in the California Court of Appeals but that court denied the writ in an order dated December 2, 2009. The ...