Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, April 11, 2022


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Court Criticizes Celebrity Chef Cat Cora

Gilbert Says Second Motion for Modification of Support Obligations Requires Showing of Something New Since Last Hearing


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Court of Appeal for this district has bristled at the brazenness of celebrity chef Cat Cora in moving for a modification of child and spousal support just four months after a like motion had been denied.

“Is the trial court’s order denying a motion to modify spousal and child support meaningless?” Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert queried, rhetorically, in an unpublished opinion filed Thursday, continuing:

“Appellant thinks it is. Four months after the trial court denied appellant’s motion to modify support, appellant filed a new motion to modify support. Her evidence covered the same period as the motion the court denied. The court denied the new motion on the ground appellant failed to show a change of circumstances since the last motion.

“Appellant believes she need only show a change of circumstances since the original support order. She is wrong.”

Cora—who was the “Iron Chef” on the Food Network and appeared on various other programs—litigated under her formal name of Catherine Ann Cora in her court battles with her former wife, Jennifer Cora.



Celebrity chef


Successive Motions

She unilaterally reduced payments, then made her first motion for a modification, citing her restaurants’ losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Thomas P. Anderle denied the motion on June 6, 2020, saying that the cuts the chef sought would leave Jennifer Cora, who is unemployed and has custody of the former couple’s four children, homeless.

In denying the second motion for a modification of support obligations, Anderle observed that it was a collateral attack on the first ruling.

He remarked that the new motion “only reiterates, revisits and seeks reconsideration of the prior ruling; there is no compliance with meeting the procedural rules; the unrelenting prosecution of a meritless motion directly impacts fees and costs; contributes to contentious and acrimonious interchange between lawyers, experts and clients” and furthers the litigant’s “efforts to evade compliance with the Court’s support orders.”

Novel Contention

Gilbert commented:

“No authority supports Catherine’s novel contention that the trial court [could] ignore its prior order denying modification and proceed as if it never happened. It is one thing to appeal a decision, but quite another to simply file another motion for modification. There would be no limit to the expense and harassment one can cause to the opposing party.

“At a prior hearing, Catherine’s counsel expressed dismay that the trial court found Catherine not to be credible. A frivolous motion to reduce support payments and this frivolous appeal do nothing to enhance Catherine’s credibility. This appeal barely escapes sanctions.”

The case is Marriage of Cora, B311237.

Dec. 14 Opinion

In an unpublished opinion filed Dec. 14, Gilbert wrote for Div. Six in affirming Anderle’s order appointing a receiver who would attempt to secure past-due payments by Cat Cora of $20,590 in child support, $47,500 in spousal support, and $50,000 in attorney fees. Gilbert said:

“…Jennifer attempted less intrusive collection methods. She made a motion to hold Catherine in contempt and unsuccessfully tried a bank levy….Jennifer and the children need support. They cannot afford to wait while Jennifer tries various collection measures against a party who is willing and able to frustrate those attempts.”

That case is Cora v. Cora, B308834.


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