Monday, August 13, 2012
Court of Appeal Affirms Order to Pay Ex-Wife $350,000
Dissenter Says Ability to Pay All at Once Not Demonstrated
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal in Orange County has affirmed an order to a dentist to make a lump-sum payment to his ex-wife of $350,000 to compensate her for attorney’s fees and costs incurred in their dissolution action—with a dissenting justice protesting that there had been no determination of the ex-huband’s ability to pay that much all at once.
The majority, in an opinion by Acting Presiding Justice William F. Rylaarsdam of the Fourth District’s Div. Three, dismissed the contention of Dr. Robert H. Gregg II that the financial burden cast upon him was unbearable. After finding that the total amount of the award to Janna Jean McConnell by Orange Superior Court Judge Theodore R. Howard was reasonable, Rylaarsdam wrote:
“Finally, husband challenges the order he pay the fees forthwith, claiming this puts him ‘in immediate practical contempt’ and will interfere with his ability to pay his own lawyer. Again, this portion of the order is based on and supported by the court’s disbelief in husband’s claim he could not pay the fees.”
Justice William W. Bedsworth concurred.
Justice Richard M. Aronson said that he agreed with his colleagues, except as to immediate delivery of the funds. Aronson said:
“Substantial evidence supports the amount of the order, but I do not see the basis for the trial court’s conclusion Gregg has the means to immediately pay $350,000. The majority opinion offers no factual support for its cursory two-sentence rejection of Gregg’s claim, and merely cites the trial court’s disbelief of Gregg’s claim he lacked the ability to pay any fees at all.…This hardly addresses Gregg’s claim that he had no ability to immediately pay a $350,000 lump sum.
“There is simply insufficient evidence Gregg had the necessary liquidity to make a forthwith payment of $350,000….I would remand the matter for the trial court to consider installment payments consistent with Gregg’s income.”
The opinion, filed late Thursday, was not certified for publication.
Huntington Beach lawyer Jeffrey Doeringer represented Gregg and Beverly Hills attorney Lionel Levin of Levin & Margolin acted for McConnell.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company