Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court
by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying the City of Fort Smith's motion to compel class notice on Plaintiff's claims alleging illegal exaction and unjust enrichment against on the ground that the City waived notice by moving for summary judgment prior to class certification and notice, holding that the circuit court erroneously interpreted National Enterprises, Inc. v. Kessler, 213 S.W.3d 597 (Ark. 2005). Plaintiff alleged that the City misused public funds from the City's curbside residential recycling program. Twelve days after her complaint was filed Plaintiff moved for class certification. The City responded to the class certification motion and, separately, moved for summary judgment. The circuit court then certified the same class for both claims and, three months later, denied the City's motion for summary judgment. The City later filed its motion to compel class notice. The circuit court held that, under Kessler, the timing of the City's motion for summary judgment waived notice even though the motion was ultimately successful. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court's decision was premised on an erroneous interpretation of the Supreme Court's decision in Kessler. View "City of Fort Smith v. Merriott" on Justia Law

by
On interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court remanded this matter involving the circuit court's grant of Plaintiff's motion for class certification and denying, in part, Defendant's objections and motion for protective order, holding that the circuit court's order granting class certification failed to comply with the mandatory requirements contained in Ark. R. Civ. P. 23(b). The Supreme Court remanded the matter without addressing the merits of the class certification and, further, did not address Defendant's claim regarding the protective order. Specifically, the Court held (1) the circuit court's order did not comply with Rule 23(b)'s requirements to define the "class claims, issues or defenses"; and (2) because the order granting class certification failed to comply with Rule 23(b), the order was not a final, appealable order. The Court then remanded the matter with instructions to enter an order that complied with Rule 23. View "Agents Mutual Insurance Co. v. Benham" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting a motion for attorneys' fees filed by Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in granting Plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees to Plaintiff as the class representative. Plaintiff filed an illegal exaction lawsuit seeking to recover fees that City of Little Rock illegally imposed on traffic court defendants in Little Rock District Court over a certain period of years. Plaintiff moved for class certification of her claims under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act (ACRA), Ark. Code Ann. 16-123-101 to -108. The circuit court dismissed the illegal exaction claim and granted a motion to certify a class of defendants who had paid traffic court installment fees at least thirty days early. The circuit court ultimately found that the City violated ACRA in charging excessive installment fees in traffic court. Plaintiff then filed a motion seeking attorneys' fees in the amount of $225,000 and an enhancement of $10,000. The circuit court granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in awarding the attorneys' fees. View "City of Little Rock v. Nelson" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Appellant's complaint and class action allegations against FanDuel, Inc., holding that Appellant's complaint was devoid of facts upon which he may be entitled to relief. Plaintiff filed this class action lawsuit alleging that FanDuel ran illegal advertising. Plaintiff alleged violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and unjust enrichment on behalf of himself and the putative class. The circuit court dismissed both Plaintiff's complaint and the class allegations, concluding that the complaint failed to allege an actual loss and that the class allegations could no longer be maintained under the amended ADTPA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff's action was not cognizable under the ADTPA and that his unjust enrichment claim failed because Plaintiff did not actually allege that FanDuel was unjustly enriched. View "Parnell v. Fanduel, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal challenging the circuit court's order denying Appellants' motion for summary judgment and granting summary judgment for Appellees, holding that the circuit court's order was not a final order. Appellees filed a class-action complaint against Appellants, online travel companies (OTCs), alleging that the OTCs had failed to collect or collected and failed to remit the full amount of gross-receipts taxes imposed by government entities on hotel accommodations. The circuit court granted partial summary judgment for Appellees on the issue of liability. Appellants appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that where the circuit court stated that its order was preliminary and that it was retaining jurisdiction to determine the appropriate relief, and where the court did not enter an Ark. R. Civ. P. 54(b) certification, the order was not final. View "Hotels.com, L.P. v. Pine Bluff Advertising" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting class certification for nursing employer at a health and rehabilitation facility and the circuit court's rulings on Appellants' motions and objections, holding that Appellees met their burden to prove the class certification requirements and that the circuit court's class certification order was sufficient. Appellees, nursing employees at a health and rehabilitation facility, filed a putative class action alleging that the facility violated the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (AMWA), Ark. Code Ann. 11-4-210(a) - 211(a). Appellees then filed a motion for class certification. The circuit court granted class certification. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly determined that the requirements of Ark. R. Civ. P. 23 were satisfied and, in its class certification order, defined the class and sufficiently set forth the claims and defenses. View "Infinity Healthcare Management of Arkansas, LLC v. Boyd" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court certifying a class pursuant to Ark. R. Civ. P. 23, holding that the circuit court properly granted the class certification filed by Appellees. Appellees, employees of Appellant, filed their class-action complaint alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment based on Appellant's failure to compensate them for earned but unused vacation time. The circuit court entered an amended order granting class certification. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellees met their burden of proof as to the commonality requirement; (2) Appellees met their burden of proof as to the predominance requirement; and (3) a class action was a superior means of resolving the contractual dispute at the heart of this case. View "Industrial Welding Supplies of Hattiesburg, LLC v. Pinson" on Justia Law

by
In this case alleging unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and promissory estoppel the Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying Appellants' motion for class certification, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion in concluding that Appellants did not meet the Ark. R. Civ. P. 23 requirements for class certification. Appellants, former employees of Cooper Clinic, P.A., filed a class-action complaint against Cooper Clinic and the entities that acquired Cooper Clinic's assets (collectively, Mercy). Appellants sought to certify a class to consist of individuals who worked for Cooper Clinic and were terminated as part of the merger with Mercy without being paid for their unused vacation time. The circuit court denied the motion for class certification on the basis that all former employees had eventually been paid for their unused vacation time. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the class of individuals who were not paid for their unused vacation time at the time of the termination of their employment with Cooper Clinic still existed and that the circuit court abused its discretion by relying on Cooper Clinic's payments to employees with unused vacation-time balances to defeat Rule 23's requirements. View "Vaughn v. Mercy Clinic Fort Smith Communities" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the order of the circuit court denying motions to compel arbitration of a class-action complaint filed by Appellees, holding that Appellants failed to meet their burden of proving a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement with respect to certain agreements but that Appellants met their burden to prove the validity of the remainder of the arbitration agreements. Appellees filed a class-action complaint against Appellants, a nursing home and related entities, alleging that Appellants had breached their admission and provider agreements, violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, committed negligence and civil conspiracy, and had been unjustly enriched. Appellants' filed four motions to compel arbitration with respect to ten class members/residents. The circuit court denied the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) certain arbitration agreements contained deficiencies that prevented Appellants from meeting their burden of proving a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement; and (2) Appellants met their burden to prove the validity of the remainder of the arbitration agreements not already discussed. View "Robinson Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. Phillips" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellant's illegal-exaction complaint against the City of Blytheville, Arkansas, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the complaint. The City passed an ordinance calling for a special election to be held on a one-cent sales and use tax to be collected for fifteen months. The proposed tax was approved at the special election. Appellant later filed a class action complaint alleging that the excess revenue was an illegal exaction because the tax was approved in order to pay the City's debt to the federal government. The trial court dismissed the complaint, finding that, based on the wording of the ballot title, the City's use of the excess funds to pay payroll taxes was authorized and there was no illegal exaction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly utilized the enabling ordinance and ballot title in determining the approved uses for the excess funds. View "Carlock v. City of Blytheville" on Justia Law