Articles Posted in Contracts

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A jury found for Plaintiff on her claim for breach of contract and on her promissory-estoppel claim. The jury rendered verdicts against Defendants on their counterclaims. Defendants filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or for a new trial. The trial court granted the motion, concluding that the jury verdicts were improper and inconsistent and that they should be set aside in favor of granting a new trial. The circuit court denied Plaintiff’s motion to reconsider. Plaintiff appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction because Defendants’ motion for JNOV or a new trial was filed prior to the entry of the judgment. Therefore, the circuit court’s order granting a new trial was a nullity, and the posttrial motion was deemed denied thirty days after its filing date. Because neither party filed a notice of appeal after the judgment was entered the court had no timely or effective notice of appeal from the disposition of the posttrial motion. View "Worsham v. Day" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The circuit court determined that appropriations made by ordinances or resolutions of the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock (Appellants) to the cities’ chambers of commerce and related economic development entities were in violation of article 12, section 5 of the Arkansas Constitution. The court concluded that Appellants had appropriated city funds to private corporations using “service contracts” that violated article 12, section 5 and were invalid due to lack of consideration and absence of benefits to the taxpayers. The court permanently enjoined Appellants from passing such ordinances or resolutions. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the circuit court with instructions to lift the injunction and dismiss Appellees’ complaint, holding that an amendment to article 12, section 5 rendered the basis for the circuit court’s injunction moot. View "Stodola v. Lynch" on Justia Law

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In 2013, Felicia Farris filed an amended complaint alleging that, in 2005, she entered into a contract with Cynthia Conger, d/b/a Conger Wealth Management (Conger), entitled “Wealth Management Agreement.” In 2008, Farris sought to have Conger transfer sufficient funds from Farris’s Fidelity Investment Account to Farris’s personal checking account so that Farris could purchase certain property prior to a foreclosure sale. Conger failed to transfer the funds, and the property was sold to a third party. Farris ultimately obtained the parcel at additional costs. Farris brought this action against Conger in 2013. Conger moved for dismissal and for summary judgment, asserting that the cause of action sounded in the tort of negligence and, therefore, was barred by the three-year statute of limitations for tort actions. Farris argued that her cause of action was for breach of contract, and thus the five-year statute of limitations applied. The circuit court granted summary judgment, finding that Farris’s complaint sounded in negligence and, consequently, was time-barred. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in failing to apply the five-year statute of limitations for contract claims, making Farris’s cause of action timely. View "Farris v. Conger" on Justia Law

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Drew May worked for Integrated Direct Marketing, LLC (IDM) as an executive vice president until his termination. May later began working for Merkle, Inc., a competitor of IDM. IDM filed a complaint against May and Markle alleging breach of contract and conversion, among other claims. The federal district court granted summary judgment for Defendants on all claims except conversion. The court then certified to the Supreme Court the question whether, under Arkansas’s tort of conversion, intangible property such as electronic data, standing alone and not deemed a trade secret, can be converted. The Supreme Court answered the question in the affirmative, holding that, under Arkansas law, intangible property such as electronic data, standing alone and not deemed a trade secret, can be converted “if the actions of the defendant are in denial of or inconsistent with the rights of the owner or person entitled to possession.” View "Integrated Direct Mktg. Inc. v. May" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Injury Law

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Appellants sued Appellees in circuit court, alleging causes of action for civil conspiracy, intentional interference with a contractual relationship or business expectancy, fraud and fraudulent inducement, and violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA). Appellants later voluntarily dismissed their intentional interference and ADPTA claims. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Appellees on the remaining claims. Appellants appealed, arguing that there remained genuine issues of material fact that precluded summary judgment in this case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellees failed to present sufficient proof to raise a question of fact with regard to the claims before the trial court on summary judgment. View "Muccio v. Hunt" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Injury Law

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Appellants filed a complaint for breach of contract, non-disclosure, rescission, damages, and negligence against Appellees. Appellants obtained a default judgment. Appellees moved to set aside the default judgment on the grounds that the summons was defective on its face. The circuit court granted the motion and set aside the default judgment due to the defective summons and resulting lack of personal jurisdiction over Appellees. Appellees then filed a motion to dismiss the case with prejudice on the grounds that service was never completed and that the savings statute did not apply. The circuit court granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the circuit court’s ruling setting aside the default judgment, as the summons failed strictly to comply with the requirements of Ark. R. Civ. P. 4(b); and (2) reversed the dismissal with prejudice, holding that Appellants were entitled to the benefit of the savings statute. View "Jones v. Douglas" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case were three different versions of an account agreement between Appellees, who are customers of Bank of the Ozarks, and Ozarks, which holds the accounts. The agreements included an arbitration provision. Appellees filed a class-action complaint against Ozarks, and Ozarks filed a motion to compel arbitration. The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that the arbitration provision in the account agreement was unconscionable. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for a determination as to whether there was a valid agreement to arbitrate. On remand, the circuit court determined that there was not a valid agreement to arbitrate. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in finding that the agreement lacked mutuality of obligation and in thus denying Ozarks’s motion to compel arbitration. View "Bank of the Ozarks, Inc. v. Walker" on Justia Law

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Appellees, former residents of certain nursing homes and special administrators, guardians, or attorneys-in-fact of former residents, filed a class action complaint against Appellants, GGNSC Holdings, LLC and related entities and employees. GGNSC moved to compel arbitration of claims asserted by five particular residents who, at the time of their admission into nursing homes, entered into arbitration agreements. The circuit court ultimately denied arbitration, finding that three of the five arbitration agreements were invalid because they were signed by individuals who lacked authority to agree to arbitrate and that the remaining two agreements were not enforceable to compel arbitration based on the defenses of impossibility of performance and unconscionability. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred by refusing to enforce the valid arbitration agreements based on the defenses of impossibility of performance and unconscionability. Remanded for the entry of an order compelling arbitration. View "GGNSC Holdings, LLC v. Lamb" on Justia Law

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Jessie and Annie Bullock were residents of Courtyard Gardens, a nursing-home facility. Linda Gulley, the Bullocks’ daughter, entered admission agreements and optional arbitration agreements on behalf of each parent. After Jessie died, Malinda Arnold, as personal representative of Jessie’s estate and as attorney-in-fact of Annie, filed a complaint against Courtyard Gardens, alleging, inter alia, negligence and medical malpractice. Courtyard Gardens moved to dismiss the complaint and compel arbitration. The circuit court denied the motion to compel arbitration, concluding that the arbitration agreement was impossible to perform because it selected the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) to serve as arbitrator, and the NAF was no longer in business. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the NAF term was merely an ancillary logistical concern and was severable; and (2) therefore, the circuit court erred in denying Courtyard Gardens’ motion to compel arbitration based on impossibility of performance. View "Courtyard Gardens Health & Rehab. LLC v. Arnold" on Justia Law

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Appellants brought a breach of contract action against Appellees, both in his and her representative capacity as trustee of two trusts. The lawsuit arose from a contract dispute over the purchase of real property in White County. The trial court awarded Appellants damages and an attorney fee award greatly reduced from the amount requested. Appellants appealed the reduced attorney-fee award, and Appellees cross-appealed, challenging the entry of judgment against them in their individual capacities. The court of appeals reversed and remanded on cross-appeal and dismissed the direct appeal as moot. Appellants filed a petition for review in the Supreme Court, alleging that the court of appeals’ decision was in conflict with prior holdings of published opinions of the Court. The Supreme Court denied the petition for review, holding that no conflict exists. View "Crenshaw v. McFalls" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts