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Keeseev.HamiltonWestlawNext

Keeseev.Hamilton
CourtofAppealsofNorthCarolina.

August5,2014

SELECTEDTOPICS

762S.E.2d246 (Approx.9pages)

AppealandError

OriginalImageof762S.E.2d246(PDF)

762S.E.2d246
CourtofAppealsofNorthCarolina.

DecisionsReviewable
AppellateJurisdictionofanInterlocutory
OrderConcerningClaim

BrianKEESEE,Plaintiff,
v.
JohnHAMILTON,Defendant.
No.COA131039.

PretrialProcedure
DepositionsandDiscovery
CourtofAppealsReviewofTrialCourt
ImpositionofDiscoverySanctions

Aug.5,2014.

AuthorityandProceedingsofSpecialor
SubstituteJudges

Synopsis
Background:Husbandfiledactionagainstwife'sallegedparamourforalienationof
affection,criminalconversation,andintentionalinflictionofemotionaldistress.Alleged
paramourfiledcounterclaimsforelectroniceavesdropping,invasionofprivacy,
defamation,anddefamationperse.TheSuperiorCourt,BrunswickCounty,W.Russell
Duke,Jr.,J.,enteredsanctionsorderagainsthusbandfordiscoveryviolationsandfailing
tocomplywithpriorcourtorders.Husbandappealed.
Holdings:TheCourtofAppeals,Davis,J.,heldthat:
1trialjudgehadjurisdictiontoholdtelephonichearingsandentersanctionsorder
2useofallegedlyinaccuratephrasecontinuingcivilcontemptdidnotrequirevacation
ofsanctionsorderand
3anyclericalerrorinsanctionsorderwasharmless.

SpecialJudgeJurisdictionofMainCauseof
Action

SecondarySources
100.Generally
1AN.C.Index4thAppealandError100
...Astoordersaffectingsubstantialrights,see
Am.Jur.2d,AppellateReview115.
Interlocutoryordersareimmediately
appealableifthey:(1)affectasubstantial
rightand(2)willworkinjuryif...

97.Judicialconstructionand
applicationofstatutesandRule
1AN.C.Index4thAppealandError97
...Astointerlocutoryordersauthorizedby
statuteorrule,seeAm.Jur.2d,Appellate
Review110etseq.Apartymayappealan
interlocutoryorderundertwocircumstances:
first,thetrialcourtmay...

Affirmed.

WestHeadnotes(5)

101.Substantialrightdefined

ChangeView
1

AppealandError
InterlocutoryandIntermediateDecisions
Aninterlocutoryordermaybeappealediftheorderimplicatesasubstantial
rightoftheappellantthatwouldbelostiftheorderwasnotreviewedpriorto
theissuanceofafinaljudgment.
1Casethatcitesthisheadnote

Judges
Durationofauthority
Trialjudge,whopresidedoverspecialsessionofSuperiorCourtattimemotion
toshowcausefiledbywife'sparamourwasheardandwhoenteredcontempt
orderagainsthusbandforviolationsofdiscoveryobligations,hadjurisdictionto
presideoversubsequenttelephonichearingsandtoentersanctionorder
againsthusband,inhusband'sactionforalienationofaffections,eventhough
judge'scommissionwasforonedayoruntilthebusinessiscompletedtrial
judge'sjurisdictiondidnotexpiresimplybyvirtueofhimenteringcontempt
order,asenforcementissuesrelatingtoorderarose,leavingbusinessofthat
sessionofcourtunfinished.

AppealandError

Depositions,affidavits,ordiscovery

PretrialProcedure
FailuretoDiscloseSanctions
Sanctionsimposedforfailuretomakediscoveryarewithinthesound
discretionofthetrialcourtandwillnotbeoverturnedonappealabsenta
showingofabuseofthatdiscretion.RulesCiv.Proc.,Rule37,West's
N.C.G.S.A.1A1.

PretrialProcedure
FailuretoDiscloseSanctions
Eveniftrialcourt,insanctionsorderagainsthusbandforhisfailuretorespond
todiscoveryrequestsissuedbywife'sallegedparamourandtocomplywith
priorcourtorders,inaccuratelyusedphrasecontinuingcivilcontemptto

1AN.C.Index4thAppealandError101
...Astoordersaffectingsubstantialrights,see
Am.Jur.2d,AppellateReview115.A
substantialright,as,whenimplicatedina
trialcourtorder,maygiverisetoappellate
jurisdictiontohearan...
SeeMoreSecondarySources

Briefs
PlaintiffAppellee'sResponseto
DefendantAppellant'sPetitionforWrit
ofCertiorari
2014WL2709371
KimberlyD.BOYKIN,ExecutrixoftheEstate
ofAlfredD.Stewart,PlaintiffAppellee,v.
SELCOCONSTRUCTION,INC.,andFranklin
WadeEason,DefendantsAppellant.
CourtofAppealsofNorthCarolina.
May22,2014
...FN1.TheFirstAmendedComplaint(R.pp
1160)andSecondAmendedComplaint(R.
pp79128)arebothincludedintheRecordon
Appeal.Foreaseofreference,Plaintiffcitesin
itsbriefonlytotheSec...

ResponsetoPlaintiff'sPetitionforWrit
ofSupersedeas
2013WL6076945
SuzanneDavisCAMPBELL,Plaintiff
Petitioner,v.WilliamTaylorCAMPBELL,III.,
DefendantRespondent.
CourtofAppealsofNorthCarolina
November01,2013
...Respondent,WilliamTaylorCampbell,III
(Respondent),respectfullypetitionsthisCourt
toDenythePetitioner'spetitionforawritof
supersedeastostaytheOrderAllowingthe
Defendant'sRule60M...

CaveatorAppellee'sBrief
2005WL958468
IntheMatterofTheWillofRobertLeeDUNN.
CourtofAppealsofNorthCarolina,

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describehusband'sconduct,suchanerrorwouldnotrequiresanctionsorder
tobevacated,inlightofabundantevidencesupportingtrialcourt'sdecisionto
imposesanctionsonhusband.West'sN.C.G.S.A.5A21RulesCiv.Proc.,
Rule37,West'sN.C.G.S.A.1A1.

AppealandError
Discoveryanddepositions
Anyclericalerrorinsanctionsorderagainsthusbandforhisfailuretorespond
todiscoveryrequestsissuedbywife'sallegedparamourandtocomplywith
priorcourtorders,whichstatedincorrectdateforhearinginwhichhusband
hadtestifiedthathehadnotmadewrittentranscriptsofaudiorecordingsof
wifeandallegedparamour,washarmlesstherewasnoevidencethattrial
courtconsideredprecisedateonwhichhusbandgavethattestimonytobe
relevantindecisionmakingprocessregardingimpositionofsanctions,and
sanctionsorderwasbasedonfactthathusbandengagedinconductsuchas
producingtranscriptsthathehadpreviouslytestifieddidnotexist.Rules
Civ.Proc.,Rule37,West'sN.C.G.S.A.1A1.

*247Appealbyplaintifffromorderentered18March2013byJudgeW.RussellDuke,Jr.
inBrunswickCountySuperiorCourt.HeardintheCourtofAppeals6February2014.

AttorneysandLawFirms
TheLeaSchultzLawFirm,P.C.,byJamesW.Lea,III,forplaintiffappellant.
Hodges&Coxe,P.C.,byC.WesHodges,IIandJenniferJ.Bennett,fordefendant
appellee.

Opinion
DAVIS,Judge.
BrianKeesee(Plaintiff)appealsfromthetrialcourt'sordersanctioninghimforhis
failuretorespondtodiscoveryrequestsandtocomplywithpriorcourtorders.After
carefulreview,weaffirm.
FactualBackground
PlaintiffandKimberlyMarieKeesee(Mrs.Keesee)weremarriedon3February2003
andseparatedon17October2009. 1 AtsomepointwhilePlaintiffandMrs.Keeseewere
stillmarried,JohnHamilton(Defendant)allegedlyinitiatedanaffairwithMrs.Keesee
thatultimatelyresultedintheKeesees'separation.
On24November2009,PlaintifffiledanactionagainstDefendantinBrunswickCounty
SuperiorCourtstatingclaimsforalienationofaffection,criminalconversation,and
intentionalinflictionofemotionaldistress.On24February2010,Defendantfiledan
answerdenyingthematerialallegationsofthecomplaintandassertingcounterclaims
againstPlaintiffforelectroniceavesdropping,invasionofprivacy,defamation,and
defamationperse.

FourteenthJudicialDistrict.
April14,2005
...InWatersv.QualifiedPersonnel,Inc.,294
N.C.200,240S.E.2d338at340(N.C.1978),
theSupremeCourtofNorthCarolinaruled
that[i]fanappealingpartyhasnorightof
appeal,anappellatecou...
SeeMoreBriefs

TrialCourtDocuments
JonathanBLITZ,onbehalfofhimself
andallotherssimilarlysituated,
Plaintiff,v.XPRESSIMAGE,INC.,
Defendant.
2007WL1238359
JonathanBLITZ,onbehalfofhimselfandall
otherssimilarlysituated,Plaintiff,v.XPRESS
IMAGE,INC.,Defendant.
SuperiorCourtofNorthCarolina,Durham
County
April13,2007
...TheMargulisLawGroupbyMaxG.
MargulisandJ.BlakeNormanAttorneyat
LawbyJ.BlakeNormanforPlaintiffJonathan
Blitz,onbehalfofhimselfandallothers
similarlysituated.Cranfill,Sumner&...

Rpr&Associates.Inc.v.TheStateof
NorthCarolina
1999WL34987322
Rpr&Associates.Inc.v.TheStateofNorth
Carolina
SuperiorCourtofNorthCarolina,Wake
County
May20,1999
...Thismatterwasheardbytheundersigned
SuperiorCourtJudgepresidingoverthe
September4,1998andtheOctober7,1998,
sessionsofWakeCountyCivilSuperior
Court,onmotionoftheplaintiff,RPR...

RPR&ASSOCIATES,INC.,aSouth
CarolinaCorporation,Plaintiff,v.The
StateofNorthCarolina,theUniversity
ofNorthCarolinaChapelhillandthe
NorthCarolinaDepartmentof
Administration,Defendants.
1999WL34795302
RPR&ASSOCIATES,INC.,aSouthCarolina
Corporation,Plaintiff,v.TheStateofNorth
Carolina,theUniversityofNorthCarolina
ChapelhillandtheNorthCarolinaDepartment
ofAdministration,Defendants.
SuperiorCourtofNorthCarolina,Wake
County
May20,1999
...Thismatterwasheardbytheundersigned
SuperiorCourtJudgepresidingoverthe
September4,1998andtheOctober7,1998,
sessionsofWakeCountyCivilSuperior
Court,onmotionoftheplaintiff,RPR...
SeeMoreTrialCourtDocuments

DefendantservedhisfirstsetofinterrogatoriesandrequestfordocumentsonPlaintiffon
1March2010.Plaintiffsubmittedhisresponsesandobjectionson11May2010.
Defendantfiledamotiontocompelon4June2010andanamendedmotiontocompel
on14September2010.
Defendant'smotiontocompelwasheardon14February2011.On16March2011,the
HonorableJamesF.Ammons,Jr.enteredanorder(theDiscoveryOrder)providing,in
pertinentpart,asfollows:
2.Withinten(10)days,PlaintiffistoprovidetocounselfortheDefendantfulland
completeresponsestothefollowingdiscoveryrequests:
a.PlaintiffshallproduceortenderforinspectionacompleteresponsetoDefendant's
requestsforproduction#4and5,whichshallcomprisecopiesofanyandallaudio,
video,digitalorotherformofrecordingcontainingthecommunicationsoractivities,
orfeaturinginanyway,theDefendant...and/or[Mrs.Keesee],aswellasanyand
alltranscripts,photographs,orotherdocumentsreferencingorrecountingthe
contentoftheabovedescribedaudio,video,orotherrecordings

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c.[sic]Plaintiffshallproduceortenderforinspectionacompleteresponseto
Defendant'srequestforproductionnumber11,whichshallcomprisecopiesofanyand
alldocuments,includingbutnotlimitedtostatements,invoices,quotes,writtenor
electroniccorrespondence,brochures,photographs,reportsorotherinformationfrom
aprivateinvestigatororanyindividualwithwhomPlaintiffconsultedregardingthe
monitoringandrecordingoftheactivitiesof[Defendant]and/or[Mrs.Keesee.]
PlaintifffiledanoticeofappealastotheDiscoveryOrderandamotionforastayon15
April2011.On20December2012,DefendantfiledamotiontodismissPlaintiff'sappeal
oftheDiscoveryOrderbasedonhisfailuretotimelyprosecutetheappeal.Plaintiff's
appealwasdismissedbytheHonorableReubenF.Youngbyorderentered11January
2013.
Defendantalsofiledamotiontoshowcause,askingthetrialcourttoholdPlaintiffin
contemptforhisfailuretocomplywiththeDiscoveryOrder.On4March2013,
Defendant'sshowcausemotioncameonforhearingbeforetheHonorableW.Russell
Duke,Jr.DuringPlaintiff'stestimonyattheshowcausehearing,headmittedthathewas
inpossessionofaudiorecordings,videotapes,*248andwrittenreportsfromaprivate
investigatorallofwhichwereencompassedwithintheDiscoveryOrderbuthadnot
beenprovidedbyhim.Hetestifiedthathedidnotknowwherethesematerialswere
specificallylocatedbutconcededthathehadfailedtomakeanyeffortstocomplywith
theDiscoveryOrderwhichhadbeenineffectforalmosttwoyearsatthetimeofPlaintiff's
testimonybyattemptingtolocatethem.
On8March2013,thetrialcourtenteredanorder(theContemptOrder)findingPlaintiff
inwillfulcivilcontemptandremandedhimtothecustodyoftheBrunswickCounty
Sheriff'sOffice.IntheContemptOrder,thetrialcourtmadethefollowingrelevantfindings
offact:
4.ThePlaintiffhasfailedtoabidebyandtoobeytheDiscoveryOrderissuedbythis
SuperiorCourt.
5.ThePlaintiffappearedbeforethisCourtandfailedtoshowcauseastowhyhe
shouldnotbeheldincivilcontemptoftheDiscoveryOrder.
6.ThePlaintiffhasthematerialsorderedtobeproducedinhispossession,custodyor
control.
7.ThePlaintiffhasmadenodemonstrableeffortstogatherandproducethe
recordingsandotherdocuments,materialsandinformationsubjecttotheDiscovery
Orderandhasnotsoughttoobtainanyhelptodownloadelectronicallystored
informationorrecordings.
8.ThePlaintiffhasfailedandrefusedtoproducethematerialssubjecttotheDiscovery
Order.
Basedonthesefindingsoffact,thetrialcourtordered,inpertinentpart,asfollows:
4.Priortohisreleasefromcustody,andasaconditionofpurginghiscontempt,the
Plaintiffisorderedtofullyandcompletelyproducethefollowing:
a.PlaintiffshallproduceortenderforinspectionacompleteresponsetoDefendant's
requestsforproduction#4and5,whichshallcomprisecopiesofanyandallaudio,
video,digitalorotherformofrecordingcontainingthecommunicationsoractivities,
orfeaturinginanyway,theDefendant...and/or[Mrs.Keesee],aswellasanyand
alltranscripts,photographs,orotherdocumentsreferencingorrecountingthe
contentoftheabovedescribedaudio,video,digitalorotherrecordings
b.PlaintiffshallproduceortenderforinspectionacompleteresponsetoDefendant's
requestforproductionnumber11,whichshallcomprisecopiesofanyandall
documents,includingbutnotlimitedtostatements,invoices,quotes,writtenor
electroniccorrespondence,brochures,photographs,reportsofotherinformation
fromaprivateinvestigatororanyindividualwithwhomPlaintiffconsultedregarding
themonitoringandrecordingoftheactivitiesandcommunicationsof[Defendant]
and/or[Mrs.Keesee.]
5.ThePlaintiffisorderedtopaytotheDefendanttheadditionalsumof$1,928.50,for
thereasonableattorney'sfeesincurredbytheDefendantinprosecutingthe
Defendant'sMotiontoshowcause...priortothePlaintiff'sreleasefromcustodyasan

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additionalconditionofpurginghiscontemptand
6.TheCourtretainsjurisdictionoverthepartiesandthesubjectmatterofthisactionto
enforcecompliancewiththisorder.
AftertheentryoftheContemptOrder,counselforPlaintiffbegantenderingcertain
documentstoDefendant'scounselinanefforttopurgePlaintiffofcivilcontempt.
Defendant'scounselpreparedadetailedlistofthedeficienciesinPlaintiff'sresponses
andprovidedacopytobothPlaintiff'scounselandthetrialcourt.Aroundthissametime,
itbecameapparentthatanumberofassertionspreviouslymadebyPlaintiffinhis
testimonyattheshowcausehearinghadbeenfalse.Recordstenderedfromtheprivate
investigativefirmhiredbyPlaintiffandaffidavitsfromeyewitnesseswerenotedtodirectly
conflictwithPlaintiff'spriortestimonyinseveralrespects.
First,Plaintiff,whileadmittingtohavingpurchasedsurveillanceequipmentviathe
Internet,haddeniedplacingaGPStrackingdeviceonDefendant'svehicle.However,
recordsfromPlaintiff'sprivateinvestigatorshowedthatsuchadevicehad,infact,been
placedonDefendant'svehicle.
*249Second,Plaintiffhaddeniedthatheevermadewrittentranscriptsofaudio
recordingsofDefendantandMrs.Keesee.However,counselforPlaintiffbegan
producingsuchtranscriptswithin48hoursoftheshowcausehearingatwhichPlaintiff
testifiedthattheydidnotexist.
Third,whenaskedifhehadeverbroughtanyrecordingsortranscriptsfromhis
surveillanceofDefendantandMrs.Keeseewithhimtopriorcourtproceedings,Plaintiff
haddeniedeverdoingso.However,severalwitnessessubmittedaffidavitsstatingthat
theyhadwitnessedPlaintiffwithsuchmaterialswhileincourt.
On8March2013andagainon12March2013,JudgeDukepresidedovertelephonic
hearingsarrangedbyPlaintiff'scounselinconnectionwithPlaintiff'srequestthatthetrial
courtreleasehimfromjailsothathecouldassistintheeffortstobringhimselfinto
compliancewiththeContemptOrder.Duringthesehearings,counselforDefendant
requestedthatthetrialcourtsanctionPlaintiffpursuanttoRule37oftheNorthCarolina
RulesofCivilProcedureforhiscontinuingfailuretoprovideadequatediscovery
responsesandhisfailuretocomplywithpriorcourtordersrequiringhimtoproduce
responsivedocumentsasaconditionofpurginghiscontempt.
ThetrialcourtdeniedPlaintiff'srequestforreliefandenteredanorder(theSanctions
Order)on18March2013sanctioningPlaintiffbydismissinghiscomplaintwithprejudice
andenteringadefaultjudgmentinfavorofDefendantonhiscounterclaims.Plaintiffgave
timelynoticeofappealtothisCourt.
Analysis
I.InterlocutoryAppeal
WefirstnotethattheSanctionsOrderleftunresolvedthequestionofDefendant's
entitlementtomonetarydamagesonhiscounterclaims.Therefore,theorderis
interlocutory.SeeDuncanv.Duncan,102N.C.App.107,111,401S.E.2d398,400
(1991)(holdingthatappealofdefaultjudgmentorderingsubsequenthearingon
damageswasinterlocutory).
1 Aninterlocutoryordermaybeappealed,however,iftheorderimplicatesa
substantialrightoftheappellantthatwouldbelostiftheorderwasnotreviewedpriorto
theissuanceofafinaljudgment.GuilfordCty.exrel.Gardnerv.Davis,123N.C.App.
527,529,473S.E.2d640,641(1996).ThisCourthaspreviouslyheldthatwhereaparty
isfoundincontemptfornoncompliancewithadiscoveryorderorhasbeenassessedwith
certainothersanctions,theorderisimmediatelyappealablesinceitaffectsasubstantial
rightunder[N.C.Gen.Stat.]1277....Cochranv.Cochran,93N.C.App.574,576,378
S.E.2d580,581(1989).Assuch,wehavejurisdictionoverPlaintiff'sappeal.
II.SubjectMatterJurisdictionofTrialCourtOverTelephonicHearings
2 Plaintiff'sfirstargumentonappealisthatthetrialcourtlackedsubjectmatter
jurisdictiontopresideoverthetelephonichearingsthattookplaceon8Marchand12
March2013andtoenterthesubsequentSanctionsOrder.Wedisagree.
Wereviewquestionsofsubjectmatterjurisdictiondenovo.McKoyv.McKoy,202
N.C.App.509,511,689S.E.2d590,592(2010).Pursuanttothedenovostandardof
review,thecourtconsidersthematteranewandfreelysubstitutesitsownjudgmentfor

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thatofthetrialcourt.Trivettev.Yount,217N.C.App.477,482,720S.E.2d732,735
(2011)(citation,quotationmarks,andbracketsomitted),aff'dinpart,rev'dinparton
othergrounds,andremanded,366N.C.303,735S.E.2d306(2012).
JudgeDukewascommissionedtopresideoveraspecialsessionofBrunswickCounty
SuperiorCourtatthetimeDefendant'smotiontoshowcausewasheardon4March
2013.Thepartiesdonotdisputethat,byitsterms,hiscommissionwastolastforone
dayoruntilthebusinessiscompleted.Fourdaysafterthe4March2013hearing,
JudgeDukeenteredtheContemptOrder,concludingasamatteroflawthat[t]heCourt
hasjurisdictionofthesubjectmatterofthisactionandoverthepersonofthePlaintiff
andthat[t]heCourtretainsjurisdictionoverthe*250partiesandthesubjectmatterof
thisactiontoenforcecompliancewiththisorder.
PlaintiffarguesthatalthoughJudgeDukepossessedjurisdictiontoentertheContempt
Order,helackedjurisdictiontotakeanyactionthereafter.Plaintiffcontendsthatonce
JudgeDukeenteredtheContemptOrder,therewasnofurtherbusinessleftforhimto
conduct,andthat,assuch,thelimitedjurisdictionconferreduponhimbyhiscommission
hadended.
InrejectingPlaintiff'sargument,wefindinstructiveourdecisioninHockadayv.Lee,124
N.C.App.425,477S.E.2d82(1996).InHockaday,thisCourtheldthatasuperiorcourt
judgecommissionedtopresideoveraspecialsessionofsuperiorcourtsettolastfortwo
weeksoruntilthebusinessofthecourtwascompletedpossessedjurisdictiontoenter
anordertaxingcostsandfeesoutsideofthetwoweekperiodbecausethebusinessof
thecourtwasnotcompleteduntiltheexecutionofthejudgmentandthesettlingofthe
costs.Id.at428,477S.E.2dat84(quotationmarksandbracketsomitted).
Similarly,inthepresentcase,JudgeDuke'scommissiongrantedhimauthoritytopreside
overaspecialsessionofBrunswickCountySuperiorCourtforonedayoruntilthe
business[was]completed.JudgeDuke'sjurisdictiondidnotexpiresimplybyvirtueof
himenteringtheContemptOrderbecauseenforcementissuesrelatedtothatordercould
and,infact,didarise,leavingthebusinessofthatsessionofcourtunfinished.
ThepresentcaseisdistinguishablefromInreDelk,103N.C.App.659,406S.E.2d601
(1991),whichPlaintiffcitesinsupportofhisjurisdictionalargument.InDelk,weheldthat
anoutofdistrictjudgeassignedtopresideoveraspecialsessionofsuperiorcourtdid
nothavejurisdictiontoenterashowcauseorder.Id.at661,406S.E.2dat602.
However,thetrialjudgeinDelkenteredtheshowcauseorderpriortothe
commencementofthespecialsession.Id.Here,conversely,thetelephonichearingsand
SanctionsOrdertookplaceafterthespecialsessionhadbegunandwhilethebusinessof
thecourtwasnotyetfinished.
Thus,JudgeDukehadjurisdictiontopresideoverthetelephonichearingsandto
subsequentlyentertheSanctionsOrderbaseduponhiscontinuingjurisdictiontoensure
compliancewiththeContemptOrder.Accordingly,Plaintiff'sargumentonthisissueis
overruled.
III.SanctionsOrder
Plaintiff'sfinalargumentisthattheSanctionsOrdercontainserroneousfindingsand
mustthereforebevacated.Wedisagree.
3 Rule37authorizesatrialcourttoimposesanctions,includingtheentryofadefault
judgment,againstapartywhofailstocomplywithadiscoveryorder.N.C.R.Civ.P.37(b)
(2),(d).Sanctions[imposed]underRule37arewithinthesounddiscretionofthetrial
courtandwillnotbeoverturnedonappealabsentashowingofabuseofthatdiscretion.
Hurseyv.HomesbyDesign,Inc.,121N.C.App.175,177,464S.E.2d504,505(1995).
Atrialcourtmaybereversedforabuseofdiscretiononlyuponashowingthatitsruling
wassoarbitrarythatitcouldnothavebeentheresultofareasoneddecision.Id.seeIn
rePedestrianWalkwayFailure,173N.C.App.237,246,618S.E.2d819,826(2005)
(holdingthattrialcourt'sdecisiontoimposesanctionsmayonlybeoverturnedifthereis
norecordwhichindicatesthat[a]defendantactedimproperly,orifthelawwillnot
supporttheconclusionthatadiscoveryviolationhasoccurred),disc.reviewdenied,360
N.C.290,628S.E.2d382(2006).
Althoughatrialcourtmustconsiderlessersanctionspriortodismissinganactionwith
prejudiceforfailuretocomplywithdiscovery,itisnotrequiredtoexpresslylistandreject
eachlessersanctionthatitconsideredinitsorder.Badillov.Cunningham,177N.C.App.
732,735,629S.E.2d909,911,aff'dpercuriam,361N.C.112,637S.E.2d538(2006).

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Here,inFindingofFact12oftheSanctionsOrder,JudgeDukestatedthathehad
consideredlessersanctionsbeforedecidingtoimposethesanctionscontainedtherein.
4 PlaintiffarguesthatthetrialcourtabuseditsdiscretionbyfindingintheSanctions
*251OrderthatPlaintiffwasincontinuingcivilcontemptatthetimeoftheshowcause
hearing.Specifically,hepointstoaprovisionintheSanctionsOrderstatingthatthetrial
courtmadeitsfindingsoffactsafter
havingreviewedthefileinthismatter,havingpresidedoverthehearing
onDefendant'sMotiontoShowCauseinwhichthePlaintiffwasfoundto
beincontinuingcivilcontemptforfailuretomakediscovery,having
presidedoveratelephonichearingonMarch8,2013,havingpresided
overatelephonichearingonMarch12,2013,andhavingotherwiseheard
argumentsofcounselforbothpartiesandbeingfullyadvisedinthis
matter[.]
(Emphasisadded.)Plaintiffclaimshecouldnothavebeenincontinuingcivilcontemptat
thetimeoftheshowcausehearingbecausetheContemptOrderhadnotyetbeen
issued.Plaintiffarguesthatthismischaracterizationmayhaveinfluencedthetrialcourt's
decisiontoimposemorestringentsanctionsagainsthim.
PursuanttoN.C.Gen.Stat.5A21,failuretocomplywithacourtorderconstitutes
continuingcivilcontemptaslongas
(1)Theorderremainsinforce
(2)Thepurposeoftheordermaystillbeservedbycompliancewiththeorder
(2a)Thenoncompliancebythepersontowhomtheorderisdirectediswillfuland
(3)Thepersontowhomtheorderisdirectedisabletotakereasonablemeasuresthat
wouldenablethepersontocomplywiththeorder.
N.C.Gen.Stat.5A21(a)(2013).
AtthehearingonDefendant'smotiontoshowcauseandasmemorializedintheensuing
ContemptOrder,thetrialcourtmadetherequisitefindingsnecessarytoholdPlaintiffin
continuingcivilcontempt.Specifically,thetrialcourtfound,inpertinentpart,asfollows:
4.ThePlaintiffhasfailedtoabidebyandtoobeytheDiscoveryOrderissuedbythis
SuperiorCourt.
5.ThePlaintiffappearedbeforethisCourtandfailedtoshowcauseastowhyhe
shouldnotbeheldincivilcontemptoftheDiscoveryOrder.
6.ThePlaintiffhasthematerialsorderedtobeproducedinhispossession,custodyor
control.
7.ThePlaintiffhasmadenodemonstrableeffortstogatherandproducethe
recordingsandotherdocuments,materialsandinformationsubjecttotheDiscovery
Orderandhasnotsoughttoobtainanyhelptodownloadelectronicallystored
informationorrecordings.
8.ThePlaintiffhasfailedandrefusedtoproducethematerialssubjecttotheDiscovery
Order.
9.TheDiscoveryOrderremainsinforce.
10.ThepurposeoftheDiscoveryOrdermaystillbeservedbycompliancewiththe
same.
11.ThePlaintiff'snoncompliancewiththeperformanceobligationsoftheDiscovery
Orderiswillful.
12.ThePlaintiffisabletocomplywiththeperformanceobligationsoftheDiscovery
Orderorisabletotakereasonablemeasuresthatwouldenablehimtocomplywiththe
performanceobligationsoftheDiscoveryOrder.
Thus,thetrialcourtdidnoterrbyusingthephrasecontinuingcivilcontemptwhenit
enteredtheSanctionsOrder.However,evenassumingarguendothatthetrialcourt'suse
ofthephrasewasinaccurate,Plaintiffhasfailedtoofferanypersuasiveargumentasto
whyanysucherrorwouldrequirethattheSanctionsOrderbevacatedasanabuseof

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thetrialcourt'sdiscretiongiventheabundantevidencesupportingthecourt'sdecision
toimposesanctionsonPlaintiff.
5 Finally,PlaintiffallegesthatFindingofFact6oftheSanctionsOrderconstitutesan
erroneousfindinguponwhichthetrialcourtreliedindeterminingthesanctionstobe
imposed.Specifically,PlaintiffreferstothefactthatFindingofFact6mistakenlystates
thatPlaintifftestifiedatahearingon6March2013thathehadnotmadewritten
transcriptsoftheaudiorecordingsofDefendantandMrs.Keeseewhen,inactuality,this
testimonytookplaceatahearingheldon4March2013.Plaintiffarguesthatthetrial
court'suseoftheincorrecthearingdateintheSanctionsOrderrosetothelevelof*252
prejudicialerrorbecauseitcontributedtoJudgeDuke'sultimatedecisiontoimposethe
harshestsanctionspossible.
NothingintheSanctionsOrder,however,supportsaconclusionthatJudgeDuke
consideredtheprecisedateonwhichPlaintiffgavethistestimonytoberelevantinhis
decisionmakingprocessregardingtheimpositionofsanctions.Rather,astheSanctions
Ordermakesclear,theimpositionofthesanctionsatissuewasbasedonthefactthat
Plaintiffengagedinconductsuchasproducingtranscriptsthathehadpreviouslytestified
didnotexist.GiventhewealthofevidencetosupporttheentryoftheSanctionsOrder,
weconcludethatanyclericalerrorastothedateofthehearingwasnotmaterialtothe
trialcourt'sdecisiontoimposesanctionsand,therefore,anysucherrorwasharmless.
Conclusion
Forthereasonsstatedabove,weaffirm.
AFFIRMED.
JudgesCALABRIAandSTROUDconcur.

Footnotes
1

ThisisthedateofseparationallegedbyPlaintiffinhiscomplaint.
Defendant'scounterclaimliststhedateofseparationas10October2010.

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