Civil Contempt

Astrada v Archer, 2010 NY Slip Op 02078 (App. Div., 2nd, 2010)

Contrary to Felton's contention, the Supreme Court properly granted that branch of the plaintiff's motion which was to hold her in contempt of court based upon her failure to comply with the order dated February 14, 2007. In order to prevail on a motion to punish a party for civil contempt, the movant must demonstrate that the party charged violated a clear and unequivocal court order, thereby prejudicing a right of another party to the litigation (see Judiciary Law § 753[A][3]; Orange County-Poughkeepsie Ltd. Partnership v Bonte, 37 AD3d 684, 686; Goldsmith v Goldsmith, 261 AD2d 576, 577). To satisfy the prejudice element, it is sufficient to allege and prove that the contemnor's actions were calculated to or actually did defeat, impair, impede, or prejudice the rights or remedies of a party (see Orange County-Poughkeepsie Ltd. Partnership v Bonte, 37 AD3d at 686; Yeshiva Tifferes Torah v Kesher Intl. Trading Corp., 246 AD2d 538).

This next one provides a comparison to the requirements for criminal contempt.

Town of Riverhead v T.S. Haulers, Inc., 68 AD3d 1103 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)

To prevail on a motion to punish for civil contempt, the movant must establish, by clear and convincing evidence (1) that a lawful order of the court, clearly expressing an unequivocal mandate, was in effect, (2) that the order was disobeyed and the party disobeying the order had knowledge of its terms, and (3) that the movant was prejudiced by the offending conduct (see Coyle v Coyle, 63 AD3d 657, 658 [2009]; Kalish v Lindsay, 47 AD3d 889 [2008]; Galanos v Galanos, 46 AD3d 507 [2007]; Biggio v Biggio, 41 AD3d 753 [2007]; Gloveman Realty Corp. v Jefferys, 29 AD3d 858, 859 [2006]). To prevail on a motion to punish for criminal contempt, the movant must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, the willful disobedience of a court's lawful mandate (see Judiciary Law § 750 [A] [3]; § 751; Muraca v Meyerowitz, 49 AD3d 697 [2008]; see also Matter of Rubackin v Rubackin, 62 AD3d 11, 19 [2009]). Here, the plaintiff did not meet its burden (see Wheels Am. N.Y., Ltd v Montalvo, 50 AD3d 1130 [2008]; Panza v Nelson, 54 AD2d 928 [1976]). Therefore, the hearing court properly denied the plaintiff's motion to hold the defendant in civil and/or criminal contempt.

The bold is mine.

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