Justia Arkansas Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Class Action
by
The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal challenging the circuit court's order denying Appellants' motion for summary judgment and granting summary judgment for Appellees, holding that the circuit court's order was not a final order. Appellees filed a class-action complaint against Appellants, online travel companies (OTCs), alleging that the OTCs had failed to collect or collected and failed to remit the full amount of gross-receipts taxes imposed by government entities on hotel accommodations. The circuit court granted partial summary judgment for Appellees on the issue of liability. Appellants appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that where the circuit court stated that its order was preliminary and that it was retaining jurisdiction to determine the appropriate relief, and where the court did not enter an Ark. R. Civ. P. 54(b) certification, the order was not final. View "Hotels.com, L.P. v. Pine Bluff Advertising" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting class certification for nursing employer at a health and rehabilitation facility and the circuit court's rulings on Appellants' motions and objections, holding that Appellees met their burden to prove the class certification requirements and that the circuit court's class certification order was sufficient. Appellees, nursing employees at a health and rehabilitation facility, filed a putative class action alleging that the facility violated the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (AMWA), Ark. Code Ann. 11-4-210(a) - 211(a). Appellees then filed a motion for class certification. The circuit court granted class certification. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly determined that the requirements of Ark. R. Civ. P. 23 were satisfied and, in its class certification order, defined the class and sufficiently set forth the claims and defenses. View "Infinity Healthcare Management of Arkansas, LLC v. Boyd" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court certifying a class pursuant to Ark. R. Civ. P. 23, holding that the circuit court properly granted the class certification filed by Appellees. Appellees, employees of Appellant, filed their class-action complaint alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment based on Appellant's failure to compensate them for earned but unused vacation time. The circuit court entered an amended order granting class certification. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellees met their burden of proof as to the commonality requirement; (2) Appellees met their burden of proof as to the predominance requirement; and (3) a class action was a superior means of resolving the contractual dispute at the heart of this case. View "Industrial Welding Supplies of Hattiesburg, LLC v. Pinson" on Justia Law

by
In this case alleging unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and promissory estoppel the Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying Appellants' motion for class certification, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion in concluding that Appellants did not meet the Ark. R. Civ. P. 23 requirements for class certification. Appellants, former employees of Cooper Clinic, P.A., filed a class-action complaint against Cooper Clinic and the entities that acquired Cooper Clinic's assets (collectively, Mercy). Appellants sought to certify a class to consist of individuals who worked for Cooper Clinic and were terminated as part of the merger with Mercy without being paid for their unused vacation time. The circuit court denied the motion for class certification on the basis that all former employees had eventually been paid for their unused vacation time. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the class of individuals who were not paid for their unused vacation time at the time of the termination of their employment with Cooper Clinic still existed and that the circuit court abused its discretion by relying on Cooper Clinic's payments to employees with unused vacation-time balances to defeat Rule 23's requirements. View "Vaughn v. Mercy Clinic Fort Smith Communities" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the order of the circuit court denying motions to compel arbitration of a class-action complaint filed by Appellees, holding that Appellants failed to meet their burden of proving a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement with respect to certain agreements but that Appellants met their burden to prove the validity of the remainder of the arbitration agreements. Appellees filed a class-action complaint against Appellants, a nursing home and related entities, alleging that Appellants had breached their admission and provider agreements, violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, committed negligence and civil conspiracy, and had been unjustly enriched. Appellants' filed four motions to compel arbitration with respect to ten class members/residents. The circuit court denied the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) certain arbitration agreements contained deficiencies that prevented Appellants from meeting their burden of proving a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement; and (2) Appellants met their burden to prove the validity of the remainder of the arbitration agreements not already discussed. View "Robinson Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. Phillips" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellant's illegal-exaction complaint against the City of Blytheville, Arkansas, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the complaint. The City passed an ordinance calling for a special election to be held on a one-cent sales and use tax to be collected for fifteen months. The proposed tax was approved at the special election. Appellant later filed a class action complaint alleging that the excess revenue was an illegal exaction because the tax was approved in order to pay the City's debt to the federal government. The trial court dismissed the complaint, finding that, based on the wording of the ballot title, the City's use of the excess funds to pay payroll taxes was authorized and there was no illegal exaction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly utilized the enabling ordinance and ballot title in determining the approved uses for the excess funds. View "Carlock v. City of Blytheville" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action
by
In this class action, the Supreme Court affirmed the class certification order and the supplemental order of the circuit court, holding that the certified class satisfied the requirements of commonality, predominance, typicality, superiority, and ascertainability. The circuit court's order certified the class as individuals who attended C-1 Truck Driving School in North Little Rock through Driver Solutions' "company-paid training" during a certain time period and did not complete one year of employment with the carrier. The circuit court then entered a supplemental order explaining the phrase "company-paid training." The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in determining that each requirement for class certification was satisfied in this case. View "Driver Solutions, LLC v. Downey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting Plaintiffs' motion for class certification in this action alleging that Defendant, which leased with Plaintiffs to drill and sell hydrocarbons from the leased property, improperly suspended royalty payments, holding that the requirements of numerosity and superiority were met. The complaint alleged that the royalty payments were suspended in an effort by Defendant to recoup improper deductions. Plaintiffs moved for class certification, which the trial court granted. Defendant appealed, arguing that Plaintiffs failed to satisfy the numerosity and superiority requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the numerosity and superiority requirements were satisfied in this case. View "Stephens Production Co. v. Mainer" on Justia Law

by
In this appeal from the circuit court's order certifying a class action lawsuit filed by Employees against Employer, the Supreme Court remanded the case with instructions to enter an order that complies with Ark. R. Civ. P. 23, holding that the order must reflect the circuit court's analysis to determine whether the Rule 23 requirements have been met. Employees filed this suit pursuant to the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act, Ark. Code Ann. 11-4-201 et seq., for unpaid overtime. After filing their complaint Employees moved to certify a class of individuals who were, are, or will be employed by Employer as hourly paid employees. The circuit court granted Employees' motion for class certification. The Supreme Court remanded the case with instructions, holding that, in conformity with Industrial Welding Supplies of Hattiesburg, LLC v. Pinson, 530 S.W.3d 854 (Ark. 2017), the class certification order was deficient. View "Koppers, Inc. v. Trotter" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying Appellant’s third amended motion for class certification and remanded for further proceedings, holding that the trial court abused its discretion by not providing Appellants with specific findings of fact and conclusions of law thereon in its order denying class certification. After filing a third amended motion for class certification, Appellant filed a request pursuant to Ark. R. Civ. P. 23 and Ark. R. Civ. P. 52 for specific findings of fact and conclusion of law with respect to his request for class certification. The circuit court denied class certification without speaking to adequacy, predominance or superiority. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit court’s order did not satisfy Rule 52’s requirements of “specific findings of fact and conclusions of law”; and (2) it would be advisory to address the parties’ remaining arguments at this juncture. View "Conley v. Boll Weevil Pawn Co., Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action