Ryan v. Vera
Because the defendant failed to show any reasonable cause for not attending a hearing on the plaintiff's motion, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion to open the resulting judgment. Following the dissolution of the marriage of the plaintiff, Ann Ryan, and the defendant, Walter Vera, the plaintiff filed a motion for contempt alleging the defendant's failure to refinance the marital residence and to remove her name from the mortgage and promissory note as ordered. The court entered an order by agreement of the parties. The plaintiff filed a second and third motion for contempt alleging that the defendant continued to refuse to cooperate with the home's sale. The defendant failed to attend the hearing on the motion. The court found the defendant in contempt and entered various orders including that title to the residence be transferred to the plaintiff to effectuate its sale without the defendant's interference. The defendant filed a motion to open and vacate the judgment. The court denied the motion. The court granted a motion to re-argue, vacated a portion of the judgment and issued an articulation. The defendant appealed claiming that the court abused its discretion in denying his motion to open and vacate and finding him in contempt. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Because the defendant filed his motion to open more than 20 days after the judgment, the Appellate Court granted the plaintiff's motion to dismiss the appeal except as to that portion of the appeal challenging the denial of the motion to open. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to open. The defendant did not represent to the court that he was prevented by mistake, accident or other reasonable cause from attending the hearing on the motion for contempt. He provided no reason whatsoever why he did not attend the hearing. Because the defendant failed to show any reasonable cause for not attending the hearing, the court did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion to open.