Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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A nonlawyer may not appeal a tax assessment to a county court on behalf of a corporation. Appellants appealed the county assessor’s tax assessment, and the letters were signed by Appellants’ representative, a nonattorney. The county court upheld the assessments. Appellants appealed, and the notice of appeal was filed by a licensed attorney. Appellees filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction because the notice of appeal constituted the unauthorized practice of law, rendering the petition to appeal a nullity and depriving the circuit court of jurisdiction. The circuit court granted the motion. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that, because a nonlawyer invoked the process of a court, the county court never acquired jurisdiction over Appellants’ appeal, thus depriving the circuit court of jurisdiction. View "USAC Leasing LLC v. Hill" on Justia Law

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In this case challenging a county board of equalization tax assessment, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellants’ appeal, holding that the circuit court did not err in dismissing Appellants’ appeal when Appellants’ representative, a nonlawyer, initiated the appeal on behalf of Appellants. Specifically, the court held that the notices of appeal that Appellants’ tax manager filed on behalf of Appellants must be deemed a nullity because they were filed in violation of the prohibition of the unauthorized practice of law. Therefore, the petitions of appeal were a nullity, and the county and circuit courts lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeals. View "DeSoto Gathering Co. v. Hill" on Justia Law

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In this case concerning a county board of equalization tax assessment, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellants’ appeal, holding that the circuit court did not err in dismissing the appeal when Appellants’ tax manager, a nonlawyer, initiated the appeal on behalf of Appellants. Specifically, the notices of appeal that Appellants’ tax manager filed on behalf of Appellants must be deemed a nullity because they were filed in violation of the prohibition of the unauthorized practice of law. Therefore, the petitions of appeal were a nullity, the county court did not have jurisdiction, and the circuit court did not have jurisdiction. View "DeSoto Gathering Co. v. Hill" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court granting class certification for a group of Appellants’ customers, including Appellees. The class definition included all who “owe or will incur debts” springing from business with Appellants. On appeal, Appellants argued that certification was improper because no class was “ascertainable” under Ark. R. Civ. P. 23. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the class as defined was not ascertainable as a threshold matter, and therefore, the circuit court abused its discretion by proceeding to a Rule 23 analysis and granting certification. The court remanded the case with instructions to decertify the class. View "Arch Street Pawn Shop LLC v. Gunn" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by Appellant challenging the circuit court’s order dismissing her case with prejudice based on the statute of limitations. The circuit court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss with prejudice because Appellant’s various complaints, including Appellant’s fourth amended complaint, were time-barred. In her complaints, Appellant named different defendants, and none of the amended complaints stated that they were incorporating Appellant’s earlier complaints. The Supreme Court held that Appellant’s appeal was not final because not all defendants were dismissed, and therefore, there were still claims pending against some Defendants. View "Henson v. Cradduck" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from the denial of multiple pro se motions he filed in connection with a pro se civil-rights action he filed in the circuit court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, which rendered his two petitions for writ of certiorari, two amended petitions for certiorari, and multiple motions connected with the appeal moot. Appellant filed a complaint alleging that Appellees violated his civil rights. In addition to his civil complaint, Appellant filed multiple motions. The circuit court denied the motions and other pleadings on the basis that Appellant had failed to provide proof of service with respect to the complaint and the related pleadings. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction because there was no final order on the merits. View "Nooner v. Kelley" on Justia Law

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The circuit court imposed upon the City of Little Rock a fine for violations of Ark. R. Civ. P. 11 and found the City in contempt for failure to timely pay the time. The City appealed, arguing that the imposition of Rule 11 sanctions and the finding of contempt constituted a plain, manifest, and gross abuse of discretion. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed in part, holding (1) the City’s payment of the penalty rendered an appeal from the circuit’s court’s order imposing the fine moot; and (2) the finding of contempt was not clearly against the preponderance of the evidence. View "City of Little Rock v. Circuit Court of Pulaski County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Statutory postjudgment interest on attorney’s fees accrues when the fees were actually quantified in dollars and cents rather than when the right thereto was first established. Plaintiff was granted judgment on her claim for retaliation under the Arkansas Whisteblower Protection Act. The circuit court entered judgment “plus costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to be determined by the court.” Three months later, the court entered a second order quantifying attorney’s fees. Defendant paid postjudgment interest on the attorney’s fees from the date that the award was entered. Plaintiff argued that she was entitled to attorney’s fees when the underlying judgment was entered. The circuit court granted the Department’s motion to compel entry of complete satisfaction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that postjudgment interest on an attorney’s-fee award accrues from the order setting the fee amount in dollars and cents. View "Daniel v. Arkansas Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

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Cynthia Frazier, an employee of Baptist Medical Center, was fatally injured when she was struck by a car driven by a fellow Baptist employee as she walked across the Baptist campus. Frazier’s estate sued Baptist for wrongful death. The case was submitted to the jury on interrogatories that asked the jury to both apportion fault and determine damages. The jury found, and the circuit court copied verbatim, the jury’s response to the interrogatories wherein its apportionment of fault and the damages was expressed. In Ford Motor Co. v. Washington, the Supreme Court held that a judgment is not a final order for appellate purposes when it requires interpretation based on information not manifest on the face of the judgment. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal because there existed on the face of the judgment an ambiguity as to whether the jury had apportioned the fault in making its damages award or whether the apportionment had yet to be done. View "Williamson v. Baptist Health Medical Center" on Justia Law

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Sam Perroni filed a complaint with the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission and its former executive director (collectively, Commission) against Circuit Judge Tim Fox, alleging that Judge Fox violated several provisions of the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct. A three-member panel of the Commission found no probable cause on the complaint filed against Judge Fox and dismissed the complaint. Perroni then filed a second complaint with the Commission alleging that Judge Fox violated several laws and abused the prestige of his office. The Commission dismissed the second judicial complaint. Thereafter, Perroni filed an original complaint, an amended complaint, and a second amended complaint against the Commission. The circuit court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court dismissed Perroni’s appeal, holding that the circuit court properly dismissed Perroni’s complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction because a review of the Commission’s decision lies exclusively with the Supreme Court. View "Perroni v. Sachar" on Justia Law