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Gordon v. Gordon

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

April 15, 2014

STEVEN G. GORDON, Plaintiff,
v.
DEBORAH J. GORDON, Defendant

Heard in the Court of Appeals February 6, 2014.

Guilford County. No. 09 CVD 10832. Jan H. Samet, Judge.

Randolph M. James, PC, by Randolph M. James, for plaintiff-appellant.

Woodruff Law Firm, P.A., by Jessica Snowberger Bullock, for defendant-appellee.

STROUD, Judge. Judges CALABRIA and DAVIS concur.

OPINION

Page 352

STROUD, Judge.

Appeal by plaintiff from Order entered on or about 24 April 2013 by Judge Jan H. Samet in District Court, Guilford County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 6 February 2014.

Steven Gordon (" plaintiff" ) appeals from an order entered on or about 24 April 2013 finding him to be in civil contempt and ordering him jailed unless he pays $20,000 to his former wife, Deborah Gordon (" defendant" ), within 60 days. We affirm.

I. Background

Much of the background to this case was discussed in our opinion arising from the last contempt order that plaintiff appealed:

The parties were married in 1983 and separated in 2007. On 21 August 2009, the parties executed a mediated settlement agreement, pursuant to which Plaintiff was required to pay Defendant a distributive award in the amount of $1,200,000.00 and to pay $5,600.00 per month in post-separation support until $1,000,000.00 of the distributive award had been paid. In return, Defendant agreed to waive the right to receive additional post-separation support or alimony.
On 24 August 2009, Plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce. On 28 October 2009, Defendant filed an answer in which she admitted the material facts alleged in Plaintiff's complaint and asserted counterclaims for, among other things, divorce, distribution of the parties' IRA accounts, breach of contract, specific performance of the mediated settlement agreement, and attorney's fees. In a reply filed on 13 November 2009, Plaintiff admitted that he had not made all the payments required by the mediated settlement agreement and asserted various defenses stemming from his alleged inability to obtain a bank loan or otherwise procure the funds needed to make the required payments.

On 5 May 2010, the trial court entered a consent order which provided, in pertinent part, that:

. . . .

Page 353

Plaintiff shall pay to Defendant on the first day of each month beginning June 1, 2010 the sum of $9000, by direct deposit to her checking account until the earlier to occur of the following:
(i) July 31, 2011 or
(ii) The sale of 8640 Adkins Road, Colfax, NC
. . . .
On 12 April 2012, the trial court orally determined that Plaintiff was in contempt of the consent judgment by willfully failing to list the Adkins Road property for sale with Ms. Laney; stated that Defendant had chosen, instead, to list the property with an " inexperienced" agent who " doesn't even come close to having the qualities, the skills necessary, the connections necessary to sell this price of a house; " and noted that, in the court's " opinion [, Plaintiff] really [wasn't] trying to satisfy this obligation" because he did not " believe that [he] should have to pay [Defendant any more] money." As a result, the trial court told Plaintiff that he was being held in contempt of court for willfully failing to list the property with Ms. Laney and that, in the event that he ...

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