I filed a complaint for contempt in a probate case because the other side didn't provide releases for records that they were ordered to. Subsequently, after the contempt complaint was filed, they provided the releases, but they were time limited, meaning that instead of all records, they authorized third parties to release only a few months of records to me. They have now defied a court order, and a stipulated agreement in the first contempt hearing on the matter. The hearing on the contempt is in a week. I have gotten several communications indicating that they don't understand why the contempt hearing is still on. The case is very contentious and every word I say is twisted. THEREFORE: I can 1) not respond and say "see you in Court," where I can show the Judge why they have not complied with the order to produce releases for all records; or 2) I can file an Amended Complaint, adding that after the Contempt Complaint was filed I received releases, but they are not fully responsive to the Court's Order as they are date limited in scope. What to do???
Country relating to Question: United StatesState (if USA): MassachusettsWhat have you tried so far?: Pondered.
Hi there and thanks for contacting JustAnswer.
You will want to appear to be reasonable in the courtroom, and if you are non-responsive to the other side re: the releases and wait to address this particular issue in court, that could end up backfiring on you with the judge. For example, if you go into court and tell the judge that while they provided you with releases, the releases were too restrictive, the judge could very well ask you whether you had notified them of this problem prior to the hearing to give them the chance to correct the problem (especially if the other side gets up and claims that if they had known this was an issue prior to court, they would have provided you with other, acceptable releases).
Once you have communicated to them, in writing (to prove to the court that you made an effort to resolve this issue prior to having to seek relief from the court), that the releases are not acceptable and why, then you have given them the opportunity to fix the problem. If they do not fix the problem, and still owe you the less restrictive releases, then they may still be found in contempt for failing to fully comply with the court order and you can show that you made every reasonable effort to try to resolve this prior to having to come in front of the judge.
I hope that this helps answer your question, and wish you the best. Thanks again!
Is there a reason to do that in a letter rather than an Amended Complaint? I know it sounds obtuse, but I am trying to avoid a back and forth and limit the amount of interactions as literally every word for some time has been distorted. In an amended complaint of a page or a page and a half, I can lay out the issues. What do you think?? (Your advice was clear and sensible; thanks!)
PS The other reason for the Amended Complaint is that if we end up in Court I want to get it clearly in front of the Judge that there were release but not responsive to the Order, and that my daughter was just hospitalized again last week (this is a dispute over the adequacy of her care and it's the reason I need the records.) Thanks.
Thanks for the follow up.
I understand your concern; unfortunately when parties are in litigation, words can tend to be twisted. In your situation, it does seem as though an Amended Complaint could be the way to resolve the issue of letting the other side know what the problem is (they'll get a copy of the Amended Complaint so can't then later claim in court that they didn't know what the problem was) and being honest and forthright with the Court as the facts in your initial complaint have changed.
Thanks again for contacting JustAnswer and I hope this helps answer your question. I wish you the best of luck with this!
If I wasn't able to get documents under a court order in discovery, and the trial is tomorrow, would I be better off for an appeal letting the case be decided for the Defendant, or withdrawing with predjudice if it came to that? BL
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