Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Berthelot v. Berthelot

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

July 18, 2018

JEFFREY MIKAL BERTHELOT
v.
HEATHER LEIGH BERTHELOT

          On Appeal from the Twenty-First Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of Tangipahoa State of Louisiana No. 2010-0002845 The Honorable Jeffery T. Oglesbee, Judge Presiding

          Nicole R. Dillon Hammond, LA Attorney for Plaintiff/Appellee Jeffrey Mikal Berthelot

          Mary E. Heck Barrios Denham Springs, LA Attorney for Defendant/Appellant Heather Leigh Berthelot

          BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, AND PENZATO, JJ.

          HOLDRIDGE, J.

         Heather Leigh Berthelot appeals a judgment rendered in favor of Jeffrey[1]Mikal Berthelot on May 22, 2017. For the reasons that follow, we affirm in part and reverse in part.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A companion case, Berthelot v. Berthelot, 2017-1055 (La.App. 1 Cir. __/__/18), also rendered by this court, contains a thorough recitation of the factual and procedural background of the parties' litigation.

         Heather and Jeffrey were married on July 10, 1999, and two children were born of the marriage. On July 14, 2010, Jeffrey filed a petition for divorce. Heather filed a petition for partition of community property on November 3, 2014. On April 17, 2015, the parties entered into a stipulated judgment, granting Jeffrey use of the 2007 Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch truck (truck) until the community property partition. The truck was titled in the name of both parties.[2] A trial was held on November 3, 2016, on the parties' partition of community property and reimbursement claims, and the trial court awarded Jeffrey the truck valued at $9, 000.00. The trial court signed a judgment in accordance with its ruling on January 31, 2017. Heather filed a Motion for New Trial that was denied by the trial court on April 4, 2017.

         Incidental to the parties' divorce and community property partition, several disputes arose between the parties regarding the disposition of the truck. On March 24, 2017, Heather filed a Petition for Rule Nisi for Contempt related to Jeffrey's disposal of the truck. In the petition, Heather argued that Jeffrey obtained a new title for the truck issued only in his name then traded in the truck at Bill Hood Automotive, alienating the community property asset without her consent and before the community property partition was final. Specifically, she argued that Jeffrey disposed of the truck before the appeal delays had run for the Motion for New Trial she filed on February 13, 2017. Therefore, she argued that Jeffrey was in contempt of court for alienating a community asset in violation of a previous trial court judgment containing an injunction preventing him from doing so prior to the community property partition being final.

         In response to Heather's petition, Jeffrey answered seeking sanctions against Heather's counsel for filing the Rule for Contempt with an intent to unnecessarily delay, harass, and increase the cost of litigation pursuant to La. C.C.P. art. 863. Jeffrey argued that Heather's counsel violated La. C.C.P. art. 863(B)(1) in that she continued to file pleadings for a truck that Heather testified that she did not want. Jeffrey further argued that the continuous filings regarding the disposal of the truck were disingenuous because Heather's counsel manipulated the facts to make it appear that Jeffrey's actions impaired Heather.

         After a hearing on April 24, 2017, the trial court denied Heather's Rule for Contempt and sanctioned her counsel pursuant to La. C.C.P. art. 863(B), ordering her attorney to pay Jeffrey the sum of $1, 000.00. The trial court signed a judgment in accordance with its ruling on May 22, 2017. Heather subsequently appealed assigning as error: (1) that the trial court erred in failing to hold Jeffrey in contempt of court for his actions in transferring ownership of the truck prior to the time community property partition was final; (2) that the trial court erred in finding that a party was required to request a stay of proceedings in order for a judgment not to be considered a final judgment while a Motion for New Trial was pending; and (3) that the trial court erred in assessing sanctions against Heather's counsel in the instant matter.

         DISCUSSION

         In Heather's first assignment of error, she argues that Jeffrey should be held in contempt of court because he alienated a community asset after the trial court rendered a judgment separating the community property, but before the trial court ruled on Heather's timely filed Motion for New Trial. We find that while there is a technical argument to be made that Jeffrey should not have alienated the community property without the consent of Heather until after ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.