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Civil Practice – Rule 11 – Contempt – Sanctions

Ward v. Jett Properties, LLC.  (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-16-0828, 6 pp.) (Cheri Beasley, J.) Appealed from Forsyth County Superior Court (Denise S. Hartslfield, J.) N.C. App. Unpub.

Holding: The trial court did not err when it found the plaintiff in willful contempt of an order to pay sanctions and when it found that the plaintiff had the ability to pay the sanctions.


The plaintiff was sanctioned under Rule 11 and ordered to pay the defendant $2,000. The plaintiff was thereafter held in contempt and ordered to be held in the custody of the sheriff until he purged himself of the contempt.

After paying the $2,000 to the clerk of court, the plaintiff was released.

The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision holding him in contempt. He also argued that the court’s findings of fact did not support its conclusion that he had the ability to pay the monetary judgment.

Finally, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in refusing to assign counsel to represent him at trial.


Based on its findings of fact, the trial court appropriately found that the plaintiff willfully failed to comply with an order requiring him to pay Rule 11 sanctions to the defendant. Thereafter, the trial court concluded that the plaintiff was to “remain in custody [of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department] until such time as he purges himself of contempt of this Court or until … [he] is otherwise released according to law.”

The trial court’s contempt order complied with statutory requirements.

We conclude that the trial court’s findings of fact support its conclusion that the plaintiff, as a matter of law, had the ability to comply with the order that required him to pay the Rule 11 sanctions, as evidenced by his payment of the amount to the clerk within one day of his detention.

The plaintiff argues that the trial court erroneously failed to assign him counsel at his contempt proceeding. However, because the plaintiff fails to cite any authority in support of this argument, it is abandoned on appeal.


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