Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and affirmed as modified in part the decision of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission awarding benefits to Employee for injuries that arose out of and in the course and scope of Employee’s employment with Employer. As pertinent to this appeal, the Commission found (1) Employee was entitled to a permanent anatomical-impairment rating of twenty-nine percent for his brain injury and twenty-four percent for his left-eye injury, both to the body as a whole; and (2) Employee was not entitled to benefits based on a permanent anatomical-impairment rating based on pain. Employer appealed, and Employee cross-appealed. The Supreme Court held (1) the Commission’s decision that Employee was entitled to a permanent anatomical-impairment rating of twenty-nine percent for his brain injury to the body as a whole for his brain injury was supported by substantial evidence; (2) the Commission’s finding of 100 percent impairment to Employee’s left eye was proper, but the award is modified to reflect that it is a scheduled injury; (3) the Commission’s decision denying twenty-four percent whole-body impairment rating for cranial nerve V and trigeminal nerve damage was supported by substantial evidence. View "Multi-Craft Contractors, Inc. v. Yousey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s refund action pursuant to Ark. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(8) based on the doctrine of res judicata, holding that res judicata did not bar Plaintiff’s suit. After receiving the Faulkner County Assessor’s valuation of its personal property, Plaintiff challenged the assessments. The Faulkner County Board of Equalization upheld the assessments, as did the Faulkner County Court. The circuit court dismissed Plaintiff’s valuation appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. During the discovery process in the valuation appeal, Plaintiff learned of errors regarding the issues in the first complaint. Plaintiff then filed a claim in the Faulkner County Court for a refund of its 2012 ad valorem taxes under Ark. Code Ann. 26-35-901 based on an erroneous assessment of its personal property and on the taxation of its exempt intangible property. The county court dismissed the refund action under Ark. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(8) because the earlier case involved the same parties and arose out of the same occurrence. Plaintiff appealed. The circuit court dismissed the refund action, finding that the refund claims were precluded by res judicata. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because the valuation appeal was dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, there was no valid judgment in that case by a court with proper jurisdiction, and all of the required elements of claim preclusion were not satisfied. View "Desoto Gathering Co. v. Hill" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s refund action pursuant to Ark. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(8) based on the doctrine of res judicata, holding that res judicata did not bar Plaintiff’s suit. After receiving the Faulkner County Assessor’s valuation of its personal property, Plaintiff challenged the assessments. The Faulkner County Board of Equalization upheld the assessments, as did the Faulkner County Court. The circuit court dismissed Plaintiff’s valuation appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. During the discovery process in the valuation appeal, Plaintiff learned of errors regarding the issues in the first complaint. Plaintiff then filed a claim in the Faulkner County Court for a refund of its 2012 ad valorem taxes under Ark. Code Ann. 26-35-901 based on an erroneous assessment of its personal property and on the taxation of its exempt intangible property. The county court dismissed the refund action under Ark. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(8) because the earlier case involved the same parties and arose out of the same occurrence. Plaintiff appealed. The circuit court dismissed the refund action, finding that the refund claims were precluded by res judicata. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because the valuation appeal was dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, there was no valid judgment in that case by a court with proper jurisdiction, and all of the required elements of claim preclusion were not satisfied. View "Desoto Gathering Co. v. Hill" on Justia 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 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 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