Civil contempt Order to Show Cause in California

A civil contempt Order to Show Cause in California is the topic of this blog post.

A civil contempt Order to Show Cause in California is authorized by the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure section 1209, et seq.

The grounds for requesting a civil contempt Order to Show Cause in California are that a party has willfully disobeyed an order of the Court, or has otherwise committed indirect contempt.  

A civil contempt Order to Show Cause in California can be requested by filing an ex parte application including an affidavit or declaration containing detailed facts and evidence supporting the allegation that a party committed contempt.

The most common ground for requesting a civil contempt Order to Show Cause in California is that a party willfully disobeyed an order of the Court.

Code of Civil Procedure § 1209 states in pertinent part that,

“(a) The following acts or omissions in respect to a court of justice, or proceedings therein, are contempts of the authority of the court:

…(5) Disobedience of any lawful judgment, order, or process of the court…”

Code of Civil Procedure § 1211 (a) states in pertinent part that,

“When the contempt is not committed in the immediate view and presence of the court, or of the judge at chambers, an affidavit shall be presented to the court or judge of the facts constituting the contempt, or a statement of the facts by the referees or arbitrators, or other judicial officers.”

A California Court of Appeal has stated in a published decision that an attorney can be held in contempt for making a deliberate misrepresentation to the judge.

Another California Court of Appeal stated in a published decision that the trial court was correct in holding the plaintiff and their attorney in contempt for disobeying a pendente lite order to return certain documents to the defendant, from whom the plaintiff had wrongfully taken them when the defendant terminated the plaintiff's employment.

The California Supreme Court has stated that that a trial court may punish contempt under section 1218 if it finds: (1) a valid court order, (2) the alleged contemnor's knowledge of the order, and (3) noncompliance. See Moss v. Superior Court (1998) 17 Cal.4th 396, 428.

If a party was personally present in Court when the order was made they have knowledge of the order.  However the California Supreme Court has stated that if counsel for a party was present in court when the order was made, and was later served with the written order, the court may infer that the party had knowledge of the order.

Reasonable attorney's fees and cost available on a civil contempt Order to Show Cause in California.

The party requesting a civil contempt Order to Show Cause in California can also request that the other party be ordered to pay their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred with commencing the contempt proceeding pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1218(a) which states that,

“(a) Upon the answer and evidence taken, the court or judge shall determine whether the person proceeded against is guilty of the contempt charged, and if it be adjudged that he or she is guilty of the contempt, a fine may be imposed on him or her not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), payable to the court, or he or she may be imprisoned not exceeding five days, or both. In addition, a person who is subject to a court order as a party to the action, or any agent of this person, who is adjudged guilty of contempt for violating that court order may be ordered to pay to the party initiating the contempt proceeding the reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred by this party in connection with the contempt proceeding.” (Emphasis added).

At least two California Courts of Appeal have stated in published decisions that in order to encourage parties to prosecute contempt proceedings and to indirectly encourage all parties to abide by the terms of court orders, section 1218 authorizes trial courts to award complainants attorney fees and costs for initiating and prosecuting contempt proceedings.

Sample ex parte application for a civil contempt Order to Show Cause in California for sale.

Attorneys or parties in California that would like to view a portion of a 19 page sample ex parte application for a civil contempt Order to Show Cause in California containing brief instructions, a memorandum of points and authorities with citations to case law and statutory authority, sample declaration, sample declaration regarding ex parte notice, proposed order to show cause, and proposed order re: contempt sold by the author can see below.

Sample Ex Parte Application for OSC for Civil Contempt in California by Stan Burman on Scribd

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The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a retired litigation paralegal that worked in California and Federal litigation from January 1995 through September 2017 and has created over 300 sample legal documents for sale.

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DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.