In the Spring of 2015, a local business man and commercial real estate owner/manager retained John Hein, Grant Mabie and J. Adam Stockberger to represent him and certain of his companies and business partners in a series of ongoing lawsuits pending in St. Louis County. Among the matters and issues they were retained to address was a prior Order and Judgment of Civil Contempt that had previously been entered against the client for allegedly interfering with the closing of the sale of a multi-million dollar apartment complex. After reviewing the underlying documents and transcripts upon which the Judgment was based, John and Grant filed an Appeal asking the Appellate Court to invalidate the Judgment based on several defects—including the absence of a proper Order sufficient to support a civil judgment for contempt. Following the briefing and oral argument, the Court of Appeals issued its Opinion invalidating the Judgment for the reasons argued in our Briefs. The Appellate Court further held that the Respondents’ attempt to characterize the judgment as one for sanctions, rather than one for contempt lacked any support in the record. Thus, the Court was “unwilling to allow Respondents to transmute the trial court’s civil contempt judgment into a sanctions judgment after the fact”.
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