Elkachbendi v. Elkachbendi is an unpublished September 2014 opinion from the South Carolina Supreme Court. It reversed a previous unpublished 2012 opinion from the South Carolina Court of Appeals and the finding of the family court that Mr. Elkachbendi’s motion to reconsider the family court’s determination on attorney’s fees was untimely.

Mr. Elkachbendi retained me on May 19, 2010 to seek reconsideration of a May 6, 2010 family court order requiring him to contribute $100,000 to his wife’s attorney’s fees. Under Rule 59, SCRCP, one only has “10 days after the receipt of written notice of the entry of judgment” to file a motion to reconsider. Believing that Mr. Elkachbendi’s trial counsel had received the written notice of the entry of the order on May 10, 2010, we filed and served his motion to reconsider on May 20, 2010. However Ms. Elkachbendi’s trial counsel argued that Mr. Elkachbendi’s trial counsel had received the order on May 7, 2010, which would make his motion untimely. The family court found the motion to be untimely but denied Ms. Elkachbendi her fees for defending the motion.

The Court of Appeals found the motion to reconsider was untimely, which made Mr. Elkachbendi’s appeal untimely. It therefore dismissed his appeal. It further reversed the family court and awarded Ms. Elkachbendi her attorney’s fees for defending the motion to reconsider. We petitioned the Supreme Court of a writ of certiorari pursuant to SCACR 242.

The Supreme Court granted the writ and found Mr. Elkachbendi’s motion to reconsider was timely. It therefore reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision, and remanded the case to the family court to rule on Mr. Elkachbendi’s motion for reconsideration. By arguing–ultimately unsuccessfully–that Mr. Elkachbendi’s motion for reconsideration was untimely, Ms. Elkachbendi delayed resolution of his motion to reconsider for 4 ½ years. Meanwhile the appeal stayed the award of attorney’s fees.

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