WILLIAM PRESTON CAHILL, JR.
ARMAND ALICE UNKAUF CAHILL
Willia P. Cahill, Jr., applying for supervisory writs, 22nd
Judicial District Court, Parish of St. Tammany, No.
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McDONALD AND CHUTZ, JJ.
GRANTED IN PART, DENIED IN PART. The trial
court's October 5, 2017 judgment which found William
Cahill, Jr. in contempt of court and denied the motion which
sought to find Armand Cahill in contempt of court is reversed
as to these rulings. In the case of a criminal contempt,
if the facts which constitute the contemptuous
conduct are proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then
the trial court has great discretion in determining whether
to impose a judgment of contempt based upon its factual
determinations. With regard to the sufficiency of the trial
court's factual findings, the standard of review for a
criminal contempt is whether, after reviewing the evidence in
the light most favorable to the mover, any rational trier of
fact could have found the essential elements of the criminal
contempt beyond a reasonable doubt. Rogers v.
Dickens, 2006-0898 (La.App. 1st Cir. 2/9/07), 959 So.2d
order to constitute willful disobedience necessary for
criminal contempt, the act or refusal to act must be done
with an intent to defy the authority of the court.
Billiot v. Billiot, 2001-1298 (La. 1/25/02), 805
So.2d 1170, 1174. The trial court found William Cahill, Jr.
in contempt of court for several alleged violations of the
consent judgment signed on February 10, 2017. This court
finds that the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable
to the mover, Armand Cahill, did not prove the essential
elements of the criminal contempt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The trial court found that William Cahill, Jr. failed to
comply with the visitation schedule set forth in favor of
Armand Cahill. However, Patricia Percy, the court appointed
Parenting Coordinator, testified that she suspended the
visitation after January 25, 2017 and never reached the point
of resuming the visitation. The trial court also found that
William Cahill, Jr. did not make a proactive effort to
provide Armand Cahill with information about the minor
children's activities. Although admittedly, William
Cahill, Jr. did not comply with the specific requirements of
the judgment in this regard, he believed Armand Cahill had
the information, either from the pertinent websites and/or
from the schedules provided to her by the minor children, and
therefore, such omissions did not constitute the willful
disobedience necessary for a finding of contempt. The trial
court also found that William Cahill, Jr. discussed the
proposed relocation to Florida with the minor children prior
to notifying Armand Cahill.
Although the judgment prohibited the parties from discussing
the court case when the minor children are present, in this
case involving teenage children and possible relocation,
William Cahill, Jr. testified he discussed it with them so as
not to "spring" it on them. It could be
questionable whether this was a direct violation of the
judgment, but also appears not to rise to the level of a
contemptable offense. The trial court also found that William
Cahill, Jr. failed to timely provide Patricia Percy with a
list of therapists covered by his insurance. Although Ms.
Percy received the first list one day late and it contained
providers who were not covered by the insurance, William
Cahill, Jr. testified that he obtained the list from his
insurer's website, and Ms. Percy acknowledged that she
was not suggesting he purposefully sent an outdated list and
further testified that providers, particularly in the
specialty of psychiatry, change often. This did not
constitute the willful disobedience necessary for a finding
of contempt. The trial court also found that William Cahill,
Jr. did not pay the child support arrearages or
attorney's fees mandated by the consent judgment.
Although William Cahill, Jr. admitted that he only paid $1,
000, he also testified that Armand Castille owed him child
support of $917 per month, which she had not paid. Although
the trial court found that this award was merely a temporary
order and was not reduced to judgment, as found herein, there
was an order issued by the trial court making this a
temporary order of the court pending further proceedings, and
as such, it was enforceable, and could act as an offset
between the parties. See Appendix 32.0B(F)(6) of the
Uniform Rules of the Louisiana District Courts for the 22nd
Judicial District Court. The trial court also found that
William Cahill, Jr. generally refused to comply with Ms.
Percy's recommendations and threatened to make complaints
to her professional licensing board. However, this is not a
violation of the consent judgment, and Ms. Percy acknowledged
that William Cahill, Jr. followed the procedure set forth in
the Parenting Coordinator agreement for making complaints.
Thus, the trial court's judgment which found William
Cahill, Jr. in contempt of court and imposed punishment,
including a jail term and payment of attorney's fees and
costs, is reversed.
trial court's October 5, 2017 judgment which denied the
motion for contempt of court filed by William Cahill, Jr.
against Armand Cahill is reversed. The basis of the denial by
the trial court was its reasoning that the order requiring
Armand Cahill to pay child support in the amount of $917 per
month to William Cahill, Jr. was never reduced to a judgment
and was only a temporary order of the hearing officer.
However, an order was signed by the trial court which ordered
that the recommendations of the hearing officer for the child
support award constituted temporary orders of the court
pending further proceedings. La. Code Civ. P. art. 224
provides for contempt when a person violates an order of a
court. Such temporary orders have been held sufficient to
support a contempt finding. See Ackel v.
Ackel, 2006-646 (La, . App. 5th Cir. 1/16/07), 951 So.2d
403; LeBlanc v. LeBlanc, 2006-1307 (La.App. 3d Cir.
3/7/07), 953 So.2d 115. William Cahill, Jr. testified that
Armand Cahill has not paid any of the child support pursuant
to this order, and Armand Cahill failed to produce any
evidence in explanation of such failure. Therefore, the
motion for contempt of court filed by William Cahill, Jr. is
granted, and Armand Cahill is found in contempt of court for
failure to pay the child support in the amount of $917 per
month beginning on October 22, 2015. This matter is remanded
to the trial court for imposition of punishment for such
contempt of court.
writ application is denied in all other respects.