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Lion Antique Cars & Investments, Inc. v. Tafel

Court of Appeals of Georgia

July 8, 2015

LION ANTIQUE CARS & INVESTMENTS, INC.
v.
TAFEL

Cert. applied for.

Contempt. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Tusan.

Greenberg Traurig, Michael J. King, Andrew N. Capezzuto, for appellant.

Alston & Bird, William H. Hughes, Jr., Erica E. Harrison, for appellee.

MILLER, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and Branch, J., concur in judgment only.

OPINION

Page 192

Miller, Judge.

Lion Antique Cars & Investments, Inc. (" Lion" ) brought suit against its former business associate, Jim Tafel, to recover two Ferrari race cars. In the course of discovery, the trial court ordered Lion to produce documents relating to its use of the race cars and found Lion in contempt after it failed to produce the documents. Lion appeals from the trial court's denial of its motion to purge the contempt, contending tat it was unable to comply with the trial court's order. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

" The question of whether a contempt has occurred is for the trial court, and its determination will be overturned only if there has been a gross abuse of discretion." (Citation and punctuation omitted.) G. I. R. Systems v. Lance, 228 Ga.App. 329, 331 (4) (491 S.E.2d 530) (1997). If there is any evidence in the record to support a trial court's determination of contempt, the decision will be affirmed on appeal. See id.

Lion is a California corporation that buys, sells and trades vehicles, including race cars. Tafel is a Georgia resident and he served as CEO and CFO of Tafel Racing, Inc., a professional racing team.[1] In December 2007, Lion entered into an agreement with Tafel Racing to purchase two Ferrari race cars

Page 193

and loan them to Tafel Racing for the 2008 American LeMans series. In exchange, Pierre Ehret, the German president of Lion, would drive one of the race cars during the series. Tafel Racing was required to insure both race cars and, after the conclusion of the series, it was required to purchase or sell both cars. The race cars remained the property of Lion.

Tafel breached the race car agreement by failing to obtain insurance on the cars, and Lion filed suit against Tafel and Tafel [332 Ga.App. 825] Racing in the Superior Court of California. The parties stipulated to a judgment, equal to the purchase price of the race cars, in favor of Lion.

Lion thereafter filed a petition in the Superior Court of Fulton County to recover the race cars and to domesticate the California judgment. In January 2009, the trial court issued a turnover order directing Tafel and Tafel Racing to return the race cars to Lion and directing Lion to " immediately" market and sell the vehicles at the highest price obtainable. The sale price was then ...


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