Thursday, July 20, 2006

It’s Not Clear And I’m Not A Party – Why Am I In Contempt?

In Tsokos, et al. v. Sunset Cove Investments, Inc., 2006 Fla. App. LEXIS 11806 [Fla. 2nd DCA 2006] appellants petitioned the Second District Court of Appeal for a writ of prohibition quashing an order to show cause why they should not be held in indirect criminal contempt for their willful disobedience of, and interference with, the final judgment in a lawsuit to which they were not parties. The final judgment incorporated all the provisions of a mediated settlement agreement and the trial court retained jurisdiction to enforce them. Because the final judgment did not proscribe the conduct forming the basis of the order to show cause, the appellate court granted the petition and ordered that no further proceedings be held on the order to show cause.

The final judgment did not expressly prohibit [and apparently neither did the mediated settlement agreement – what’s the lesson here?] a third party [the appellant in this case] from purchasing the real property which was the subject of the litigation after the closing date incorporated into the final judgment.

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