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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The Houston 14th Court of Appeals presents the facts as follows: This case arose out of a post-divorce dispute between former spouses concerning their minor child. When Kenneth L. Richardson and Lisa Richardson divorced, the decree appointed Lisa as sole managing conservator of their minor son, K.A.R., and Kenneth as possessory conservator of K.A.R. Kenneth initially sued for modification of the divorce decree and ultimately nonsuited his claims, and the court of appeals presents a lengthy and complex set of facts ending with Kenneth and his trial counsel, H. Lynne Clark, not attending a mediation. Lisa filed a counter-petition for modification and a motion for sanctions against both Kenneth and Clarke, for not attending the mediation. The trial court granted Lisa the relief she sought in her counter-petition as well as attorney’s fees and expenses as a sanction against Kenneth and his counsel. Kenneth appealed. HOLDING:The court modifies the trial court’s judgment to delete the award of fees and expenses as child support and to make the award of appellate fees conditional on the ex-wife’s success on appeal. As modified, the court affirms the trial court’s judgment. The court holds that the trial court did not err in denying Kenneth’s motion for continuance. The court finds that Lisa’s counter-petition supports an award of appellate attorney’s fees. The court finds that there is legally sufficient evidence in the record to support the trial court’s determination that Kenneth and Clarke unilaterally canceled and failed to attend a court-ordered mediation without adequate notice. The court concludes that there is legally sufficient evidence that Kenneth and Clarke engaged in conduct that significantly interfered with the trial court’s legitimate exercise of one of its core functions, and, on this basis, the court rejects the challenge to the sanctions. The court determines that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in shortening the notice period to the sanctions hearing from six to four days; and therefore, the trial court did not violate Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 21 and 21a or constitutional guarantees of due process. The court finds that the evidence presented at the sanctions hearing is legally sufficient to show that the conduct by Kenneth and Clarke significantly interfered with the trial court’s exercise of one of its core functions. The court also holds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a new trial and in determining by implication that Kenneth and Clarke’s motion for new trial failed to present either facts showing that their failure to appear was not intentional or the result of conscious indifference, but was due to a mistake, accident or facts that in law would constitute a meritorious defense. Nonetheless, the court finds that Lisa concedes error as to the trial court’s failure to condition the award of appellate attorney’s fees on her success on appeal and as to the trial court’s awarding of attorney’s fees and expenses as child support. Accordingly, the court modifies the trial court’s judgment to condition all awards of appellate attorney’s fees on Lisa’s success on appeal, and strikes all parts of the judgment that allow enforcement of any amount as child support. As modified, the court then affirms the trial court’s judgment. OPINION:Frost, J.; Hedges, C.J., and Frost, JJ. DISSENT:Guzman, J., dissenting. “[T]he evidence in this case does not show that Clarke’s conduct significantly interfered with the trial court’s exercise of its core functions. . . . I would reverse the trial court’s sanctions order as applied to Clarke.”

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