Paysys International, Inc. v. Atos IT Servs. Ltd., No. 17-2204 (2d Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Paysys Atos non‐exclusive rights to use Paysys software and to grant licenses for that software within a specified territory. The agreement provided that in litigation with respect to a territorial violation, the prevailing party would be entitled to an award of its reasonable attorneys’ fees. Paysys sued Atos for breach, alleging multiple violations of those territorial restrictions. Three years later, 12 of Paysys’s 13 claims had been dismissed. Paysys sought a dismissal with prejudice of its remaining breach of contract claim, offering to provide Atos a perpetual, global software license. Atos asserted that it would consent if the court recognized Atos as the “prevailing party.” Paysys argued that if such a condition were imposed, it should be entitled to withdraw its motion. The district court granted Paysys’s motion on the condition that it pay Atos’s attorney’s fees, finding that Atos had succeeded in getting most of Paysys’s claims dismissed. The court held that Paysys was not entitled to withdraw its motion because the fee‐shifting obligation was a contractual one. The Second Circuit vacated. Paysys was entitled to an opportunity to withdraw its motion rather than acquiesce to the court’s terms. When a plaintiff files a motion for dismissal under Rule 41(a)(2), it takes on the risk is that its motion will be denied, not that the motion will carry additional consequences to which the plaintiff does not consent.