DILLARD, C. J., MCFADDEN, P.J. and RICKMAN, J.
McFadden, Presiding Judge.
appeal challenges an award of attorney fees under OCGA §
9-15-14. Because the trial court failed to specify the
conduct upon which the award was based, we must vacate the
attorney fees award and remand the case for further
Facts and procedural posture.
September 28, 2017, the trial court ordered that Glen Bailey,
for a period of two years, cease competing as a salesman and
in other capacities with Maner Builders Supply Company, LLC.
On November 22, 2017, Maner filed a motion for contempt,
claiming that Bailey had violated the court's prior order
by failing to cease competing with Maner. In the motion,
Maner requested a contempt hearing and also asked for
attorney fees, although no statutory basis for such fees was
hearing on the contempt motion was held on February 2, 2018.
During closing arguments, counsel for Maner requested, among
other things, an award of attorney fees pursuant to OCGA
§ 9-15-14 (a) and (b) or OCGA § 13-6-11. Counsel
also submitted an affidavit claiming a total bill of $14, 327
in fees and $589 in costs. Counsel for Bailey challenged the
claims for contempt and the request for attorney fees during
his closing argument. At the end of the hearing, the trial
judge orally announced that she was inclined to find Bailey
in contempt for several, but not all, of the alleged
violations of the court's previous non-compete order and
that she would award the total amount of requested attorney
fees and costs, but not paralegal fees.
trial court subsequently entered its final order finding that
there was sufficient evidence to hold Bailey in contempt for
several violations of the prior court order, but that there
was not sufficient evidence to find him in contempt regarding
two other alleged violations. The court's final order
also awarded Maner all of the attorney fees and costs
requested in a lump sum of $13, 304 pursuant to OCGA §
9-15-14 (a) and (b). Bailey appeals.
Attorney fees award under OCGA § 9-15-14 (a) and
challenges the award of attorney fees under OCGA §
9-15-14 (a) and (b). We are unable to conduct any meaningful
review of the award because the trial court failed to make
necessary findings of fact.
Subsection (a) of OCGA § 9-15-14 requires an award of
attorney fees when a party asserts a claim, defense, or other
position with respect to which there existed such a complete
absence of any justiciable issue of law or fact that it could
not be reasonably believed that a court would accept the
asserted claim, defense, or other position. Subsection (b),
among other things, gives discretion to a trial court to
award attorney fees when a party brings or defends an action
that lacked substantial justification. We will affirm an
award under subsection (a) if there is any evidence to
support it, while we review subsection (b) awards for abuse
Shiv Aban, Inc. v. Ga. Dept. of Transp., 336 Ga.App.
804, 814-815 (2) (784 S.E.2d 134) (2016) (citations and
punctuation omitted). Before awarding attorney fees under
OCGA § 9-15-14, "[t]he trial court must conduct a
hearing on a motion for attorney fees and make findings of
fact that specify the conduct upon which the award is
made." DeRossett Enterprises v. General Electric
Capital Corp., 275 Ga.App. 728, 731 (4) (621 S.E.2d 755)
(2005) (citation omitted). When a trial court makes an
award [of] such attorney fees and costs, it is incumbent upon
the court to specify the conduct upon which the award is
made. To permit meaningful appellate review of an award of
fees and expenses, the trial court's order cannot be too
vague and conclusory, such as where it fails to cite examples
of conduct that authorize the award. The trial court need not
cite specific testimony, argument of counsel, or any other
specific factual reference in its order awarding fees under
OCGA § 9-15-14; it is only required to specify the
conduct upon which the award is made.
Cohen v. Rogers, 341 Ga.App. 146, 152 (2) (b) (798
S.E.2d 701) (2017) (citations and punctuation omitted).
the trial court's award of attorney fees failed to
specify the conduct upon which the award was made under
either subsection (a) or (b) of OCGA § 9-15-14. Rather
than citing examples of the specific conduct which authorized
the award under each of those subsections, the trial court
merely made conclusory findings that there was "an
absence of justiciable issue of law or fact and that Bailey
willfully disregarded and disobeyed the [c]ourt's order
without substantial justification[.]" When the trial
court fails to make the required findings specifying the
conduct upon which the award was based, "the fees ...