Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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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 assessor’s ad valorem tax assessments, the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order granting the motion to dismiss filed by Appellees on the grounds that Appellants’ representative, a nonattorney, committed the unauthorized practice of law by signing a petition to appeal the tax assessment to the county court.The Supreme Court agreed with the circuit court for the reasons expressed in its opinion issued today in DeSoto Gathering Co., LLC v. Hill, 2017 Ark. 326, holding that the petitions for appeal were null and void because a corporation or its nonattorney officers or employees on its behalf are not authorized to practice law in Arkansas. View "USAC Leasing LLC v. Hill" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order dismissing Appellant’s pro se petition for judicial review of an adjudication made by the Arkansas Parole Board pursuant to the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act. In his petition, Appellant alleged that the Board unconstitutionally denied his transfer eligibility to the Department of Community Correction for one year in violation of Arkansas’s parole statutes and the Board’s own regulations. In affirming the dismissal of the petition, the Supreme Court held that Appellant failed to allege sufficient facts that would entitle him to review of the Board’s decision to deny transfer. View "Kennedy v. Arkansas Parole Board" on Justia Law

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Appellant, an inmate of the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC), was part of a class-action lawsuit brought against the City of Helena-West Helena and Phillips County. The lawsuit settled, and the ADC received a settlement check that was deposited into Appellant’s inmate trust-fund account. Appellant then initiated a series of unsuccessful grievances alleging that ADC had confiscated the funds without his permission by depositing the check into his inmate account and that the ADC had improperly refused his withdrawal request to pay legal fees. The State later filed a petition for reimbursement of costs of care and a motion for leave to deposit Appellant’s funds with the court. The circuit court granted the State’s petition and directed that the settlement funds be deposited into the State treasury. The Supreme Court remanded to the circuit court for an evidentiary hearing, holding that the circuit court failed to make findings mandated by statutory authority. View "Harmon v. State" on Justia Law

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Appellants were minority stockholders in First Community Bank of Crawford County (FBC). After First Bank reached an agreement to merge with FCB, First Bank filed an application with the Arkansas State Banking Board. The Board subsequently approved the merger. Appellants filed a complaint seeking review of the Board’s decision, arguing (1) the Board did not adequately fulfill its duties under administrative law in reaching its decision, and (2) the statues and regulations followed by the Board unconstitutionally infringe on the due process and property rights of minority stockholders. The circuit court concluded that Appellants failed to preserve their substantive objections due to their failure to present these objections before the Board. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Appellants’ claims, holding that Appellants’ arguments were not preserved for judicial review. View "Booth v. Franks" on Justia Law

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Appellant filed a petition for declaratory relief and a writ of mandamus regarding a decision made by the Arkansas Board of Parole rescinding a finding that Appellant was eligible for transfer and a subsequent decision denying Appellant’s transfer eligibility for an additional two-year period. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding (1) the Board did not without statutory authority in denying Appellant’s transfer eligibility based on a disciplinary action taken by the Arkansas Department of Correction; but (2) the Board acted outside its authority in denying Appellant’s transfer eligibility by taking into consideration a Sex Offender Community Notification Assessment that was implemented in accordance with the Sex Offender Registration Act. View "Lenard v. Kelley" on Justia Law

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Appellant, an inmate, filed a petition seeking judicial review of a decision of the Arkansas Parole Board that denied Appellant’s application for parole. In his petition, Appellant contended that the Board had deprived him of liberty without due process and had retroactively applied a parole statute in violation of the ex-post-facto prohibition in the United States and Arkansas Constitutions. Appellant filed a petition to proceed in forma pauperis in connection with his petition for judicial review. The circuit court summarily denied Appellant’s petition to proceed in forma pauperis on the basis that Appellant had not stated a colorable claim. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded, holding that Appellant failed to state a colorable claim based on the allegation that the denial of his parole eligibility constituted a violation of his right to due process but did state sufficient non-conclusory facts to assert a colorable claim for judicial review of an alleged violation of the ex-post-facto prohibition, and therefore, Appellant was entitled to proceed in forma pauperis. View "Ruiz v. Felts" on Justia Law

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Sarah Gildehaus filed a liquor-permit application for her store. The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted unanimously to issue a permit to Gildehaus. Christopher Moore appealed, arguing that the Board’s decision to grant the application violated a statutory prohibition of a permit holder either having an interest in more than one permit or directly or indirectly financially benefiting from the sale of liquor at more than one location. The circuit court affirmed, holding that Appellant had standing as a permit holder to challenge the Board’s actions, that there was sufficient evidence to support the Board’s decision, and that the Board’s actions were not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in its judgment. View "Moore v. Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board" on Justia Law

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Michelle Jameson received a conditional permit for a liquor store in Rogers, Arkansas. After Jameson sold one bottle of liquor, the Board granted approval to place Jameson’s permit on inactive status. Jameson subsequently applied to the Board to transfer her inactive permit to Christopher Moore at a new location in Rogers. The Board unanimously approved the transfer of the permit to Moore. Sarah Gildehaus filed a petition for judicial review. The circuit court dismissed the petition, finding that Gildehaus lacked standing to challenge the Board’s decision and that, even if she did have standing, there was substantial evidence to support the Board’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court erred in dismissing Gildehaus’s petition based on a lack of standing; but (2) the circuit court did not err in finding that the Board’s decision was supported by substantial evidence. View "Gildehaus v. Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board" on Justia Law

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The City of Russellville created the City Corporation to operate, maintain, and improve the city’s municipal waterworks system. The City Corporation managed a water treatment plant that provided potable drinking water to the residents of Russellville. In 1998, Carrothers Construction Company of Arkansas, LLC (Carrothers) constructed an expansion of the water-treatment plant. Carrothers purchased several items of machinery and equipment for the project. Carrothers installed this machinery and equipment for an extensive three-phase water treatment process at the Russellville plant. In 2004, the auditor for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) conducted an audit of Carrothers’s records pertaining to its activities and purchases in 1999 and 2000 in performing its contractual obligations to expand the Russellville water treatment plant. The auditor determined that Carrothers purchased personal property from out-of-state vendors and that these purchases were subjected to Arkansas’s state and local use taxes, plus interest. Carrothers objected to the assessments, resulting in a lawsuit to challenge the tax assessments, and to demand refund of additional use taxes paid. Carrothers filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that there were no genuine issues of material fact and that, as a matter of law, it qualified for a manufacturing exemption. In 2015, the circuit court granted Carrothers’s motion for summary judgment and ruled that Carrothers was entitled to the manufacturing exemption. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded: "Carrothers acquired materials and constructed a facility to treat and clean the water, but it did not manufacture the water. Thus, Carrothers is not entitled to the manufacturing exemption," and therefore not entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. View "Walther v. Carrothers Constr. Co. of Ark." on Justia Law