Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court
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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

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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

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In this class action, the Supreme Court affirmed the class certification order and the supplemental order of the circuit court, holding that the certified class satisfied the requirements of commonality, predominance, typicality, superiority, and ascertainability. The circuit court's order certified the class as individuals who attended C-1 Truck Driving School in North Little Rock through Driver Solutions' "company-paid training" during a certain time period and did not complete one year of employment with the carrier. The circuit court then entered a supplemental order explaining the phrase "company-paid training." The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in determining that each requirement for class certification was satisfied in this case. View "Driver Solutions, LLC v. Downey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting Plaintiffs' motion for class certification in this action alleging that Defendant, which leased with Plaintiffs to drill and sell hydrocarbons from the leased property, improperly suspended royalty payments, holding that the requirements of numerosity and superiority were met. The complaint alleged that the royalty payments were suspended in an effort by Defendant to recoup improper deductions. Plaintiffs moved for class certification, which the trial court granted. Defendant appealed, arguing that Plaintiffs failed to satisfy the numerosity and superiority requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the numerosity and superiority requirements were satisfied in this case. View "Stephens Production Co. v. Mainer" on Justia Law

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In this appeal from the circuit court's order certifying a class action lawsuit filed by Employees against Employer, the Supreme Court remanded the case with instructions to enter an order that complies with Ark. R. Civ. P. 23, holding that the order must reflect the circuit court's analysis to determine whether the Rule 23 requirements have been met. Employees filed this suit pursuant to the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act, Ark. Code Ann. 11-4-201 et seq., for unpaid overtime. After filing their complaint Employees moved to certify a class of individuals who were, are, or will be employed by Employer as hourly paid employees. The circuit court granted Employees' motion for class certification. The Supreme Court remanded the case with instructions, holding that, in conformity with Industrial Welding Supplies of Hattiesburg, LLC v. Pinson, 530 S.W.3d 854 (Ark. 2017), the class certification order was deficient. View "Koppers, Inc. v. Trotter" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying Appellant’s third amended motion for class certification and remanded for further proceedings, holding that the trial court abused its discretion by not providing Appellants with specific findings of fact and conclusions of law thereon in its order denying class certification. After filing a third amended motion for class certification, Appellant filed a request pursuant to Ark. R. Civ. P. 23 and Ark. R. Civ. P. 52 for specific findings of fact and conclusion of law with respect to his request for class certification. The circuit court denied class certification without speaking to adequacy, predominance or superiority. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit court’s order did not satisfy Rule 52’s requirements of “specific findings of fact and conclusions of law”; and (2) it would be advisory to address the parties’ remaining arguments at this juncture. View "Conley v. Boll Weevil Pawn Co., Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court in this dispute over reimbursement for costs arising out of a settlement, holding that some of the circuit court’s findings were proper and that others were inconsistent with this Court’s remand order. The circuit court granted the State’s petition for reimbursement for costs of care out of funds received by Appellant in connection with the settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed against a city and a county. The Supreme Court remanded and directed the circuit court to enter findings that were statutorily mandated before disbursing funds to the State pursuant to the State Prison and Inmate Care and Custody Reimbursement Act, Ark. Code Ann. 12-29-501 to -507. After the circuit court issued its findings, Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court held (1) neither restitution nor attorney’s fees were owed by Appellant, and Appellant’s previous claims were not subject to further review; (2) the circuit court’s findings with respect to the amounts of money owed to Appellant, as well as Appellant’s entitlement to an offset for liens and obligations were inconsistent with this Court’s remand order; and (3) the circuit court’s finding that Appellant’s father had a legally enforceable right to support was uncontested and therefore affirmed. View "Harmon v. State" on Justia Law

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Appellant filed a notice of appeal from a circuit court’s grant of the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s motion to modify support and for judgment for past due child support. The court of appeals reversed the judgment. The Supreme Court granted Appellant’s petition for review, but Appellant then failed timely to file a brief for the court’s consideration. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ decision, dismissed the appeal, and reinstated the decision of the circuit court, holding that because Appellant failed to timely file a brief for the court’s consideration, there was no argument for reversal on the merits. View "Harley v. Dempster" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court in denying Appellants’ motion to certify two classes in litigation against Appellee. Appellee opposed certification, arguing that no class could be certified because no class existed and that the requirements of Ark. R. Civ. P. 23 were not satisfied. The trial court agreed and denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, as in Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages, Inc. v. Pipkin Enterprises, Inc., 198 S.W.3d 115 (Ark. 2004), the definitions of the proposed classes were not based on objective criteria, and therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to certify the classes. View "Walker v. Wilmoe Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order certifying a class in this action filed by Appellees alleging that Appellants’ business practices violated the anti-usury language of amendment 89 to the Arkansas Constitution and of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The circuit court’s order defined the class as any and all “persons who have owed, currently owe or will incur debts” arising out of transactions with Appellants. For the reasons set forth in Arch Street Pawn Shop, LLC v. Gunn, 2017 Ark. 341, also decided today, the Supreme Court held that the circuit court abused its discretion in certifying the class. View "Pawnderosa Pawn Shops, Inc. v. Conley" on Justia Law