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2007-UP-535 - Piccirillo v. Piccirillo

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Jennifer Ann Marie Piccirillo, Respondent,

v.

Joseph Terrance Piccirillo, Appellant.


Appeal From Lexington County
 C. David Sawyer, Jr., Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2007-UP-535
Submitted November 1, 2007 – Filed November 20, 2007   


AFFIRMED


C. Lawrence Simmons, III, of West Columbia, for Appellant.

J. Michael  Taylor, of Columbia, and M. Gwyn DuBose-Schmitt, of Lexington, for Respondent.

Per Curiam:  Joseph T. Piccirillo (Husband) appeals from a family court order finding him in contempt for willfully  violating a prior order restraining  him from having contact with his estranged wife, Jennifer Piccirillo (Wife).  He contends the family court erred by: (1) denying his motion for a continuance and his request for a recess during the emergency hearing on the rule to show cause; (2) granting equitable relief when Wife had unclean hands; (3) finding Wife and her witnesses to be more credible than Husband and his witnesses; (4) failing to vacate its contempt order on Husband’s motion for reconsideration based on after-discovered evidence; (5) applying the reasonable doubt standard; and (6) awarding attorney’s fees and costs of $1,570 to Wife.

We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b)(2), SCACR, and the following authorities: S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1350 (Supp. 2006) (“An adult who willfully violates, neglects, or refuses to obey or perform a lawful order of the court . . .  may be proceeded against for contempt of court.  An adult found in contempt of court may be punished by a fine, a public work sentence, or by imprisonment in a local correctional facility, or any combination of them, in the discretion of the court, but not to exceed imprisonment in a local correctional facility for one year, a fine of fifteen hundred dollars, or public work sentence of more than three hundred hours, or any combination of them.”); Eaddy v. Oliver, 345 S.C. 39, 42, 545 S.E.2d 830, 832 (Ct. App. 2001) (explaining that a finding of contempt should be reversed on appeal only when the holding is based on findings without evidentiary support or there has been an abuse of discretion); Browning v. Browning,  366 S.C. 255, 263, 621 S.E.2d 389, 393 (Ct. App. 2005) (“An abuse of discretion occurs either when the court is controlled by some error of law or where the order, based upon findings of fact, lacks evidentiary support.”); and Poston v. Poston, 331 S.C. 106, 114, 502 S.E.2d 86, 90 (1998) (“In a civil contempt proceeding, a contemnor may be required to reimburse a complainant for the costs he incurred in enforcing the court’s prior order, including reasonable attorney’s fees.  The award of attorney’s fees is not a punishment but an indemnification to the party who instituted the contempt proceeding.”). 

Therefore, the family court’s order is

AFFIRMED. [1]

HEARN, C.J., and KITTREDGE and THOMAS, JJ., concur


[1]  We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.