Justia Arkansas Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Business Law
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This case began as a criminal action filed by the City of Clinton against Southern Paramedic Services, alleging that Southern Paramedic violated two of the City ordinances prohibiting an entity from engaging in the ambulance business within the City without first obtaining a franchise from the City Council. At issue was whether Southern Paramedic qualified for an exemption under Arkansas's Municipal Ambulance Licensing Act as an ambulance service provider who is "not-for-hire on a fee-for-service basis." The City filed a declaratory-judgment action seeking an interpretation of the statute. The circuit court eventually found that Southern Paramedic remained "not for hire" to the general public within the City. The City appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal as moot, as the issue of whether Southern Paramedic was "not-for-hire on a fee-for-service basis" and not subject to the City's regulation was moot because the ordinances under which the City sought to regulate Southern Paramedic had been repealed. View "City of Clinton v. S. Paramedic Servs., Inc." on Justia Law

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Appellants were retired police officers who did not receive the benefit of all the monthly benefit increases for retired members of a municipal police pension and relief fund. The increases were authorized by the fund's Board of Trustees. Appellants mounted a multi-pronged challenge to the increase in benefits. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the Board. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in (1) ruling that the additional payments were authorized by Ark. Code Ann. 24-11-102(a); (2) finding that the statute did not constitute an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority; (3) finding that the Board did not breach its fiduciary duties by increasing benefits to current retirees and not to future retirees, an action that was expressly authorized by statute; and (4) in ruling that the statute, as applied, did not violate the equal protection clause of the state Constitution as there was a rational basis for the Board's disparate treatment of current and future retirees.

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Appellant bank sued Appellees, a corporation and its members, after loans granted to Appellees went into default and Appellees transferred certain property into a trust. After a jury rendered its verdicts, the circuit court (1) granted foreclosure against the property securing the debts, (2) dismissed Appellant's claim to avoid the transfer of one of the properties in the trust and ruled that the deed of another property in the trust was void, and (3) denied Appellant's various post-trial motions. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded on direct appeal and affirmed on cross-appeal, holding (1) the circuit court erred in submitting Appellant's foreclosure and fraudulent-transfer claims to the jury because they were equitable in nature; and (2) the circuit court properly granted Appellant's motion for a directed verdict on Appellee's abuse-of-process claim. Remanded.

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Ross Systems contracted with advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies (AERT) to provide a new software system to manage business functions. AERT filed suit against Ross, alleging deceit, deceptive trade practices, and breach of contract. Ross counterclaimed for breach of contract. During the discovery process, AERT filed a motion for sanctions based on Ross's alleged failure to comply with a circuit court order to provide complete responses to AERT's requests for admission, interrogatories, and production of documents. During a hearing on the motion for sanctions, the circuit court struck Ross's answer. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in imposing the sanction because the sanction was imposed only after the court considered all of the circumstances surrounding Ross's conduct, including the failure to obey the court's order.

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Appellant Kim Crockett appealed the circuit courtâs order in favor of Appellee C.A.G. Investments, Inc. (CAG). CAG was created as an investment vehicle to provide funds to Omni Holding and Development Corporation (Omni). Omni operated a crop-dusting and farm-equipment export business. CAG purchased equipment and land for Omniâs operations and a house for Omniâs manager. Ms. Crockett became Omniâs sole stockholder, president and chairman of the board in 2005. CAG made a series of loans to Omni. The loans were secured by the property Omni used in the businessâ operation, and by the house in which Ms. Crockett lived. In late summer 2003, Omni suffered numerous financial difficulties, resulting in the deterioration of the business relationship between the management of CAG and Omni. While Omni contemplated filing for bankruptcy protection, CAG sought to recover the collateral pledged for the loans it had made to Omni. CAG asked Omni to remove all personal property Omni owned from the premises, and demanded to take possession of the real property. Omni refused to comply, and CAG sued for possession, believing the property to be unlawfully detained. The circuit court entered an order against Omni for unlawful detainer, and found that CAG was entitled to a writ of possession. Omni did not vacate the premises, and appealed the circuit courtâs order. The appellate court dismissed Omniâs appeal. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the circuit and appellate courts.