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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation in this negligence action filed by Robert Duran. Duran alleged that Southwest had failed to exercise ordinary care for his safety and to warn against any unusually hazardous conditions, leading to his electrical-shock injury while working near or inside an energized pad-mounted electrical transformer owned by Southwest. Duran was an employee of an independent contractor that was hired to perform utility-trenching services for Southwest. In granting summary judgment, the circuit court concluded that Southwest did not owe Duran a duty of care and that questions of material fact remained regarding whether that duty was breached. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Southwest owed Duran no duty to warn him of obvious dangers, to provide Duran with a reasonably safe work environment, and to act with reasonable care in the delivery of services. View "Duran v. Southwest Arkansas Electronic Cooperative Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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In this complaint alleging claims of invasion of privacy and outrage against the hospital who treated Patricia Cannady’s daughter before her death and a doctor and hospital employees, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center and dismissed the cross-appeal brought by St. Vincent, Jay Holland, and Candida Griffin of the denial of their motions for summary judgment as to Cannady’s outrage claim. Cannady’s daughter, Anne Pressly, died five days after being assaulted in her home. Pressly was treated at St. Vincent. Cannady filed suit against Defendants, alleging claims of invasion of privacy and outrage for the hospital’s employees’ acts of accessing Pressly’s medical record without reason and St. Vincent’s failure to restrict access to medical records. On remand from the Supreme Court, the circuit court denied Defendants’ motions as to the outrage claim but granted St. Vincent’s motion as to its vicarious liability. The Supreme Court held (1) St. Vincent was not liable for its employees’ actions; and (2) because the circuit court made no final decision on the merits of Cannady’s outrage claim, there was no final judgment to review, and therefore, the cross-appeal must be dismissed. View "Cannady v. St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Appellant’s pro se petition for writ of error coram nobis without a hearing. In the petition, Appellant claimed that he was coerced by trial counsel into pleading guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated assault and that the State’s evidence against him was insufficient to support the charges. The trial court concluded that Appellant failed to support his claim of coercion with a factual basis and that the petition was without merit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant’s allegations in the form of misrepresentations by counsel was the type of claim that should have been raised under Ark. R. Crim. P. 37 and not in coram nobis proceedings; and (2) Appellant’s final claim did not establish a ground for the writ. View "Ramirez v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Appellant’s petition for writ of habeas corpus, in which Appellant argued that he should be reentenced because his sentence of life imprisonment imposed for an offense committed when he was a juvenile violated the Eighth Amendment pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, 467 U.S. 460 (2012). Appellant pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and other crimes stemming from offenses Appellant committed when he was fifteen years old. Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s habeas petition, holding that because a recent statutory amendment by the Arkansas General Assembly created the possibility of parole for Appellant, Appellant’s sentence did not violate the requirements of Miller. View "Lohbauer v. Kelley" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the circuit court’s judgment and decree of foreclosure finding in favor of Bank and against Appellant on his counterclaims against Bank and his third-party complaint against the former vice president of commercial lending at Bank (“VP”). The court held (1) the circuit court erred in failing to submit Appellant’s legal counterclaims and third-party claims to the jury; (2) the circuit court erred in granting Bank and VP’s motion to strike Appellant’s jury trial demand based on a predispute jury-waiver clause contained in the loan agreement; and (3) Marvell Light & Ice Co. v. General Electric Co., 259 S.W. 741 (1924), is overruled to the extent that it holds that there is a per se new business rule preventing lost profits unless the business is an old business. View "Tilley v. Malvern National Bank" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of aggravated burglary. On appeal, Appellant argued that the circuit court erroneously denied his motion for a directed verdict because the State did not prove that he entered or remained in another person’s residence with the specific intent to commit a criminal offense and that he entered or remained in another person’s residence while armed with a deadly weapon. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction, and therefore, the circuit court did not err in denying appellant’s motion for directed verdict. View "Marshall v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed as moot Appellant’s appeal of the circuit court’s dismissal of his complaint challenging the constitutionality of Act 36 of 2011. The act amended Ark. Code Ann. 17-19-402 to authorize the Arkansas Professional Bail Association (APBA) to establish continuing education programs and fee schedules for bail bondsmen. The circuit court concluded that Appellant lacked standing to bring his claims and dismissed his complaint with prejudice. After the circuit court dismissed the complaint, section 17-19-402 was amended in 2017, removing the involvement of the APBA from the statute. The Supreme Court held that, in light of the 2017 amendment to section 17-19-402, Appellant received all of the relief he requested, and the arguments he raised on appeal with respect to the APBA were moot. View "Kiesling v. Arkansas Professional Bail Ass’n" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s dismissal of Appellant’s pro se civil complaint and amended complaint, which alleged that Appellees, acting under color of state law, had engaged discrimination in violation of the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993, Ark. Code Ann. 16-123-101 to -108, engaged in a civil conspiracy, and committed the tort of outrage. The circuit court dismissed the complaint without prejudice based on the grounds set forth in Appellees’ motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed on the ground that the claims were barred by the statute of limitations and therefore did not reach the other grounds on which Appellant’s complaint was dismissed. View "Hutchinson v. Rutledge" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal of the trial court’s denial of his pro se petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1, in which Appellant alleged grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, trial court error, and ineffective assistance of counsel. The dismissal of the appeal rendered moot the motion Appellant filed for extension of time to file his brief. The Supreme Court held (1) to the extent Appellant attempted to raise a claim of prosecutorial misconduct, it was not cognizable; (2) Appellant’s allegation of trial court error was not the basis for Rule 37.1 relief; and (3) Appellant’s allegations of deficient performance by trial counsel did not support an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. View "Ortega v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal brought by the State challenging the circuit court’s grant of Defendant’s motion to dismiss first-degree-murder charges against him on the basis that the speedy-trial rules as stated in the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure had not been followed. On appeal, the State argued, among other things, that the circuit court’s “mechanical” application of Ark. R. Crim. P. 28.1 and 30.1 in resolving the speedy-trial issue did not comport with the more flexible approach recognized by the United States Supreme Court in Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972). The Supreme Court held that this was not a proper State appeal because, while purporting to raise purely an issue of law, the legal issue could not be separated by the unique facts of the case. View "State v. Owens" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law