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In this case concerning a county board of equalization tax assessment, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellants’ appeal, holding that the circuit court did not err in dismissing the appeal when Appellants’ tax manager, a nonlawyer, initiated the appeal on behalf of Appellants. Specifically, the notices of appeal that Appellants’ tax manager filed on behalf of Appellants must be deemed a nullity because they were filed in violation of the prohibition of the unauthorized practice of law. Therefore, the petitions of appeal were a nullity, the county court did not have jurisdiction, and the circuit court did not have jurisdiction. View "DeSoto Gathering Co. v. Hill" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court granting class certification for a group of Appellants’ customers, including Appellees. The class definition included all who “owe or will incur debts” springing from business with Appellants. On appeal, Appellants argued that certification was improper because no class was “ascertainable” under Ark. R. Civ. P. 23. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the class as defined was not ascertainable as a threshold matter, and therefore, the circuit court abused its discretion by proceeding to a Rule 23 analysis and granting certification. The court remanded the case with instructions to decertify the class. View "Arch Street Pawn Shop LLC v. Gunn" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order granting Mother’s petition to relocate with the parties’ minor son, holding that the circuit court erred in applying the presumption in favor of relocation as set out in Hollandsworth v. Knyzewski, 109 S.W.3d 653 (Ark. 2003). In so holding, the Supreme Court clarified that the Hollandsworth presumption should be applied only when the parent seeking to relocate is not just labeled the “primary” custodian in the divorce decree but also spends significantly more time with the child than the other parent. The court proceeded to hold that the analysis set forth in Singletary v. Singletary, 431 S.W.3d 234 (Ark. 2013), governed Mother’s relocation petition rather than Hollandsworth and remanded for the lower court to apply this analysis to the facts in this case. View "Cooper v. Kalkwarf" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court held that the circuit court’s order certifying a class action filed by Employees failed to comply with Ark. R. Civ. P. 23(b). In their complaint, Employees alleged claims of breach of contract and unjust enrichment based on Employer’s failure to compensate Employees for earned but unused vacation time. The circuit court granted Employees’ motion for class certification. Appellants filed this interlocutory appeal arguing that Employees failed to demonstrate commonality, predominance, and superiority as to their breach of contract claim. The Supreme Court remanded the case, holding that the circuit court’s bare conclusion that “Plaintiffs have satisfied all elements of Rule 23 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure and class certification is appropriate in this case” was clearly insufficient for the Supreme Court to conduct a meaningful review. View "Industrial Welding Supplies of Hattiesburg, LLC v. Pinson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by Appellant challenging the circuit court’s order dismissing her case with prejudice based on the statute of limitations. The circuit court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss with prejudice because Appellant’s various complaints, including Appellant’s fourth amended complaint, were time-barred. In her complaints, Appellant named different defendants, and none of the amended complaints stated that they were incorporating Appellant’s earlier complaints. The Supreme Court held that Appellant’s appeal was not final because not all defendants were dismissed, and therefore, there were still claims pending against some Defendants. View "Henson v. Cradduck" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s pro se petition for writ of error coram nobis in which Appellant alleged that the State violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), suborned perjury, and breached the agreement he entered into with the State before entering a plea of guilty. The Supreme Court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by treating Appellant’s coram nobis petition as a petition raising claims of ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) Appellant did not demonstrate a Brady violation; (3) Appellant failed to establish that his plea was coerced; and (4) Appellant’s argument that he was actually innocent of the offense to which he pleaded guilty did not establish a ground for the writ. View "Williams v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Appellant’s pro se petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1. Appellant was convicted of kidnapping, rape, and aggravated robbery and was sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment. The Supreme Court affirmed on appeal. Appellant then filed a pro se Rule 37.1 petition alleging multiple claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied relief. Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was no error in the denial of Appellant’s motion for new trial in regard to some claims; (2) another claim raised by Appellant was waived on appeal; and (3) Appellant’s claim with respect to the trial court’s order in denying his motion for a new trial was not cognizable in a Rule 37.1 proceeding. View "Sylvester v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from the denial of multiple pro se motions he filed in connection with a pro se civil-rights action he filed in the circuit court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, which rendered his two petitions for writ of certiorari, two amended petitions for certiorari, and multiple motions connected with the appeal moot. Appellant filed a complaint alleging that Appellees violated his civil rights. In addition to his civil complaint, Appellant filed multiple motions. The circuit court denied the motions and other pleadings on the basis that Appellant had failed to provide proof of service with respect to the complaint and the related pleadings. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction because there was no final order on the merits. View "Nooner v. Kelley" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the State’s appeal from the circuit court’s use of three nonmodel jury instructions at Appellee’s resentencing hearing, holding that the State failed to demonstrate that the appeal involved the correct and uniform administration of the law or that this was a proper State appeal. Appellee was resentenced after his life sentence was vacated for failure to comport with Miller v. Alabama, 467 U.S. 460 (2012). During the resentencing hearing, the circuit court instructed the jury with three nonmodel instructions based upon the Miller decision. The jury returned a sentence of forty years’ imprisonment, and the circuit court entered an order reducing Appellee’s sentence accordingly. The State appealed, arguing that the use of the nonmodel jury instruction was error. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that this was not a proper State appeal. View "State v. Lasley" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s petition for writ of habeas corpus in which he alleged that his sentence was illegally enhanced pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. 5-64-408. The court held (1) the circuit court did not err in denying Appellant’s request for default judgment; (2) Appellant’s allegations failed to establish probable cause that the writ should issue; (3) the circuit court did not lack jurisdiction to sentence Appellant utilizing the enhancement in section 5-64-408; and (4) the circuit court did not err by failing to have an evidentiary hearing on the matter. View "Darrough v. Kelley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law