Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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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

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In this garnishment proceeding, the clerk of court issued a writ of garnishment against Cardinal Health. The circuit court set a hearing for June 1, 2015. Cardinal Health did not receive notice of the hearing and did not appear at the hearing. After the hearing, the circuit court issued an order to pay for $26,874. Cardinal Health filed a motion for relief or, in the alternative, an extension of the time to appeal. The circuit court denied the motion. Cardinal Health then appealed. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s denial of Cardinal Health’s motion for relief from the order to pay and vacated the proceedings in the garnishment action that occurred since the defective notice, holding that Cardinal Health’s due process rights were violated when the circuit court entered an order to pay against it during the June 1, 2015 hearing for which Cardinal Health received no notice. View "Cardinal Health v. Beth's Bail Bonds Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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After Tony Havner was injured in a motorcycle accident involving an overhead communications cable, Havner and his wife, Tina Havner, filed a negligence action against Northeast Arkansas Electric Cooperative (NAEC) and other defendants. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of NAEC. Havner subsequently filed a motion for entry of judgment and an Ark. R. Civ. P. 54(b) certificate with the circuit court. The court entered a judgment and a Rule 54(b) certificate, which was stamped as ‘presented’ and ‘recorded.’ The case was then submitted to the court of appeals. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal without prejudice for lack of a final order, concluding that because the judgment and 54(b) certificate was recorded but never filed, it was not entered as required by court rules. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals opinion, holding that, in light of In re Administrative Order No. 2(b)(2), the circuit court’s summary-judgment order was a final, appealable order. Remanded. View "Havner v. Northeast Arkansas Electric Cooperative" on Justia Law

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Ethel Long filed a complaint against Simon Property Group and later filed an amended complaint substituting McCain Mall Company Limited Partnership as the actual defendant. Long served McCain Mall’s registered agent, but McCain Mall did not file a timely answer. The circuit court granted Long’s motion for default judgment. McCain later filed its answer. Long responded by filing a motion to strike the answer on the ground that a default judgment had already been entered. The circuit court granted Long’s motion. McCain Mall appealed, but one day before lodging the record in its appeal, McCain Mall filed a petition for writ of certiorari, arguing that the circuit court acted without jurisdiction because the summons was fatally defective, as it listed the wrong defendant. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding that McCain Mall had another adequate remedy through the interlocutory appeal it filed. View "McCain Mall Co. Ltd. P'ship v. Pulaski County Circuit Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Respondent Cindy Clough, as personal representative of the estate of Joyce Vinson, filed an amended complaint against Petitioners Capital SeniorCare Ventures, LLC, et al. (Capital SeniorCare) alleging the same claims as the original complaint she filed in this case and later voluntarily dismissed. Clough did not file a new civil cover sheet or pay a filing fee, and no new summonses were issued to Capital SeniorCare. The circuit court concluded that the case was closed. Clough subsequently filed a new complaint as a new case. Capital SeniorCare filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint for lack of service. The circuit court denied the motion to dismiss, finding that the amended complaint was void because it had been filed in a closed case. Capital SeniorCare filed the instant petition for a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court denied the petition for the writ on the ground that Capital SeniorCare had an adequate remedy in the form of an appeal. View "Capital SeniorCare Ventures LLC v. Circuit Court of Pulaski County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Appellant Gerber Products Company d/b/a Nestle Infant Nutrition d/b/a Nestle Nutrition USA d/b/a Nestle Nutrition USA-Infant Nutrition d/b/a Nestle Nutrition USA-Performance Nutrition (“Gerber”) appealed a circuit court order granting partial summary judgment in favor of appellees in their case alleging Gerber’s liability for failure to pay certain overtime wages in violation of the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (“AMWA”). Appellees were employed by Gerber at its baby food processing and manufacturing facility located in Fort Smith. Specifically, the employees alleged that Gerber failed to compensate the employees for their time spent donning and doffing clothing and protective gear, sanitizing clothing and equipment, washing their hands, and walking to and from their work stations. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The employees argued that there was no genuine issue of material fact that Gerber did not pay the employees for their time spent donning, doffing, washing, walking, and waiting. Both parties’ motions for summary judgment were initially denied. However, a hearing was held on the cross-motions for summary judgment, and the circuit court orally announced from the bench that it was changing its earlier order in favor of the employees, finding that the AMWA required Gerber to “treat the time required by employees to complete the mandatory donning and doffing activities at issue in this lawsuit as compensable work time, notwithstanding any contrary custom or practice under a collective bargaining agreement applicable to those employees or any express agreement.” On appeal, Gerber argued that the circuit court erred in granting the employees’ motion for partial summary judgment. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the grant of partial summary judgment. View "Gerber Prods. Co. v. Hewitt" on Justia Law

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Convent Corporation brought an interlocutory appeal of a circuit court’s order denying Convent’s motion for class certification; dismissing without prejudice Convent’s trespass claim and its federal and state statutory claims; and denying Convent’s motion for judgment on the pleadings or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment, after concluding that there remained genuine issues of material fact. Of these findings, however, only the circuit court’s denial of Convent’s motion for class certification was appealable on an interlocutory basis. On that issue, the circuit court found that because Convent did not present any evidence at a hearing, there was no basis on which to determine whether Convent met the requirements set forth by Rule 23 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure for class certification. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s decision and remanded for further proceedings. The Court found that the circuit court abused its discretion in denying Convent’s motion solely on Convent’s failure to present evidence at the hearing without considering the evidence in the record, which would have included any admissible evidence submitted as exhibits by the parties in support of their contentions that the motion for class certification should have been granted or denied. View "Convent Corp. v. City of N. Little Rock" on Justia Law