Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission that one-half of Oscar Gerard’s attorney’s fees must be paid by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AG&F). Gerard sustained a compensable injury, and AG&F accepted the injury as compensable and paid medical and indemnity benefits. After three surgeries related to his injury, Gerard sought additional benefits. The administrative law judge (ALJ) awarded Gerard additional benefits. Gerard then requested that the ALJ find AG&F responsible for his one-half of attorney’s fees. The ALJ ordered AG&F to deduct Gerard’s one-half of attorney’s fees from the additional benefits awarded and to pay that amount to his attorneys. The full Workers’ Compensation Commission affirmed and adopted the ALJ’s findings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission correctly found that one-half of Gerard’s attorney’s fees must be paid by the AG&F. View "Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. Gerard" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission finding that, at the time of his injury, Deputy Cleon Morgan, Sr., had two employers, Brookshire Grocery Company and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, and holding that all the factors to be considered in determining if Deputy Morgan was an employee or an independent contractor indicated that Morgan was an independent contractor. On appeal, Brookshire argued that Deputy Morgan, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, was an independent contractor when he was injured while working part-time for Brookshire, and therefore, Brookshire was not responsible for Deputy Morgan’s workers’-compensation coverage and claims. The Supreme Court reversed after considering the factors set out in section 220 of the Restatement (Second) of Agency and remanded the case to the Commission for further proceedings. View "Brookshire Grocery Co. v. Morgan" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order granting summary judgment for the City of Blytheville and against Mississippi County. The court held (1) the circuit court erred by defining “prisoners of municipalities” as only those detainees who are charged with violating a municipal ordinance because the term includes those offenders who are arrested by municipal law enforcement officers and delivered to the county jail for incarceration, from the point of intake until they are charged, sentenced, and released; and (2) the circuit court erred by applying an offset on the amount of taxes paid under the 1995 “exclusive jail tax” that support only the County jail by residents of the City to the calculation of “reasonable expenses” under Ark. Code Ann. 12-41-506(a)(2). View "Mississippi County, Arkansas v. City of Blytheville" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission’s denial of Appellant’s claim that she sustained a compensable brain injury while working in a Kroger store. The Commission found that Appellant’s injury was the result of a syncope, which was caused by an arrhythmic heart condition, rather than a slip and fall or an unexplained fall. On appeal, Appellant argued that substantial evidence did not support the Commission’s finding. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that substantial evidence supported the Commission’s stated reason for denying benefits that Appellant’s injury was caused by an idiopathic condition and not an unexplained, compensable fall. View "Asking v. Kroger Limited Partnership I" on Justia 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