DANIEL T. MORGAN
SHERI A. MORGAN Appellant DANIEL T. MORGAN Appellant
SHERI A. MORGAN DANIEL T. MORGAN Appellant
SHERI A. MORGAN
from the Order Entered September 27, 2016 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Franklin County Civil Division at No(s):
BEFORE: OTT, J., DUBOW, J., and STRASSBURGER [*] , J.
these consolidated cross appeals, Sheri A. Morgan
("Wife") and Daniel T. Morgan ("Husband")
both appeal from the September 27, 2016 Order, which,
inter alia, reduced Husband's alimony
obligation. Husband also appeals the January 12, 2017 Order
that denied his Motion to Strike the September 27, 2016
Order. After careful review, we vacate the September 27, 2016
Order and remand this case with instructions.
AND FACTUAL HISTORY
and Wife were married on May 18, 1984, and have three adult
children; the youngest suffers from autism and requires
supervision and care. During the marriage, Husband earned
various advanced degrees, including a Law Degree, Masters in
Business Administration, Masters of Laws in Taxation, and a
Certified Public Accountant certification; Wife earned her
Bachelors of Science in Nursing. At the time of the
parties' separation, Husband earned a salary of $144,
March 18, 2003, the parties entered into a Marital Settlement
Agreement ("Agreement") on the record, which
provided that Husband would pay Wife $5, 000 per month in
alimony until at least June 30, 2007. After July 1, 2007,
either party could petition the Court to modify the amount of
alimony, restricted only by the provision that the trial
court could not reduce alimony below $1, 000 until July 1,
2007 or later.
March 20, 2003, the parties were divorced pursuant to a
Judgment of Divorce entered in Montgomery County, Maryland,
which incorporated, but did not merge, the parties'
3, 2007, Husband filed a certified copy of the Divorce Decree
in Franklin County, PA. On May 4, 2007, Husband filed a
Petition to Modify Alimony to $1000 per month. Wife filed a
cross-petition to increase alimony above $5000 per month.
December 5, 2007, the trial court granted Husband's
Petition and reduced Husband's alimony obligation to
$1000 per month. Wife timely appealed. On appeal, this Court
vacated a portion of the Order, remanded the case, and
instructed the trial court to require Husband to demonstrate
"a substantial change in circumstances that justify
reducing the award" and then analyze the requisite
factors set forth at 23 Pa.C.S. § 3701(b)(1)-(17).
Morgan v. Morgan, No. 50 MDA 2008, unpublished
memorandum at 11 (Pa. Super. filed November 13,
January 14, 2011, after a hearing, the trial court issued an
Order again granting Husband's Petition to Modify Alimony
and reducing alimony to $1000 per month retroactive to July
1, 2007. ("January 2011 Hearing"). Wife timely
appealed the trial court's order.
Wife's appeal was pending, Wife discovered that at the
January 2011 Hearing, Husband produced to the court false
documentation and testimony regarding his income, including
two sets of false tax returns. Wife filed in this Court a
Motion to Supplement the Record and a Motion for Immediate
Interim Relief. Superior Court denied these motions and
affirmed the decision of the trial court. See Morgan v.
Morgan, 40 A.3d 194 (Pa. Super. 2011) (unpublished
January 24, 2012, Wife filed with the trial court a Petition
to Modify Alimony based on Husband's fraud. At the
hearing, the parties stipulated that Husband's income
was, in fact, higher than Husband had presented at the
January 2011 Hearing. The parties also stipulated that
Wife's 2015 annual income was $43, 200.
parties further stipulated that 1) the hourly rates that
Wife's attorneys charged were reasonable; 2) Husband
would not challenge line-item charges from Wife's
attorneys; and 3) it was not necessary for Wife to call an
expert witness to testify as to the services provided.
the trial court acknowledged that Husband willfully presented
false evidence of his income at the January 2011 Hearing and
characterized Husband's conduct as
"despicable," the trial court determined that it
was bound by the factors listed in 23 Pa.C.S. § 3701 and
issued the same Order that it had issued at the January 2011
Hearing. See Order, dated 9/27/16. Husband's
alimony obligation remained at $1000 per month from July 1,
2011, through June 30, 2022.
parties had stipulated that attorney's fees that Wife
incurred were reasonable. The trial court, however, only
required Husband to reimburse Wife for 75% of those fees.
Moreover, the trial court only required Husband to reimburse
Wife for those fees Wife incurred from the date she
discovered Husband's fraud, not from the date he
committed the fraud.
filed a timely Notice of Appeal. Wife and the trial court
complied with Pa.R.A.P 1925. Husband filed a timely cross
appeal, but failed to serve the appeal on the trial court.
Consequently, the trial court did not order Husband to file a
Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) Statement.
January 11, 2017, Husband filed a Motion to Strike the
September 27, 2016 Order. On January 12, 2017, the trial
court denied Husband's Motion to Strike. Husband timely
appealed. Both Husband and the trial court complied with
Pa.R.A.P. 1925. Upon Motion from Husband, this Court
consolidated the above-captioned appeals.
RAISED ON APPEAL
raises the following issues on appeal:
I. Did the trial court abuse its discretion and err as a
matter of law in concluding that an inequitable result would
occur if it applied the doctrine of unclean hands to preclude
analysis of the alimony factors, despite the trial court
finding that the doctrine was applicable to the case and that
[Husband]'s fraudulent conduct was within the purview of
II. Did the trial court abuse its discretion and err as a
matter of law in determining that the amount of counsel fees
to be considered for reimbursement were only the fees
accumulated subsequent to the discovery of [Husband]'s
fraud, therefore denying any consideration of the counsel
fees accumulated while [Husband] perpetrated his fraud,
despite determining that [Husband] was not entitled to a
reduction in his alimony for the same period due to his
fraud, and in arbitrarily awarding only 75% of the counsel
fees incurred subsequent to the discovery of [Husband]'s
III. Did the trial court abuse its discretion and err as a
matter of law where it correctly recognized the applicability
of the falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus doctrine
where [Husband]'s fraud was material to the alimony
modification determination, but declined to apply the
doctrine to any of the likely and necessarily fraudulent
testimony and production of [Husband], and in finding any of
[Husband]'s testimony credible where in every instance
where there was a way to check the veracity of
[Husband]'s testimony, it was proven to be false?
IV. Did the trial court abuse its discretion and err as a
matter of law in concluding that despite [Husband]'s
fraud, [Husband] established a substantial and continuing
change to meet the ...