Justia Government & Administrative Law 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 judgment of the circuit court dismissing Appellant's complaint challenging the certification of the House District 25 (HD 25) Republican primary race by the Crawford County Board of Election Commissioners (CBEC), holding that the circuit court erred in concluding that it lacked the authority to transfer this matter.Appellant filed a complaint challenging the CBEC's certification, claiming that the HD25 Republican primary election results were unreliable and praying that the circuit court void either the CBEC's certification of the HD25 race or void the HD25 election. The circuit court granted Appellees' motion to dismiss, finding that the complaint was not filed in the proper county, that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter, and that venue was improper. The circuit court further denied Appellant's oral motion to transfer the case to Crawford County. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the circuit court (1) properly ruled that Appellant incorrectly filed her postelection contest in Franklin County rather than in Crawford County; but (2) abused its discretion by denying Appellant's motion to transfer the case to Crawford County. View "Harris v. Crawford County Bd. of Election Commissioners" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court denying Appellant's petition for writ of mandamus against the City of Little Rock, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion.Appellant brought a complaint for declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and a writ of mandamus, arguing that Act 1024 of 2021 gave holders of an enhanced concealed carry license the right to carry a concealed weapon in municipal buildings. Appellant then brought this action seeking a writ of mandamus seeking to enforce the laws allowing enhanced concealed carry licensees to enter municipal buildings. The circuit court denied the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant could not demonstrate that the circuit court abused its discretion in denying his mandamus petition. View "Corbitt v. City of Little Rock" on Justia Law

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In this case concerning the medical marijuana licensing and regulatory process the Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed in part this interlocutory appeal from the circuit court's denial of Defendants' motion to dismiss this action on the basis of sovereign immunity, holding that the circuit court erred in its ruling.Plaintiff brought this complaint seeking a writ of mandamus and declaratory relief to compel Defendants - the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission - to revoke a cultivation facility license granted to another company and instead award it to Plaintiff. The circuit court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss on the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The Supreme Court remanded the action, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in denying the motion to dismiss the writ of mandamus on the basis of sovereign immunity; (2) the circuit court erred in denying gate State's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's claim of declaratory relief; and (3) to the extent that Appellants were seeking relief under the APA the case must be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration v. 2600 Holdings, LLC" on Justia Law

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Legal Aid submitted an Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Division of Workforce Services (DWS) seeking information about how DWS and its third-party vendors determined eligibility for applicants of the Unemployment Insurance and/or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs. Item 10 sought “[a]ll public records, including communications, created by, sent by, sent to, or otherwise provided to DWS employees between March 1, 2020, and present that contain the words ‘algo’ or ‘algorithm’ in singular or plural form.” Legal Aid did not request confidential information about any claimant.After DWS failed to provide a timeline for the production of the documents, Legal Aid filed suit. DWS’s representative testified that the records responsive to Item 10 were expected to comprise more than 42,000 pages of emails that had to be printed, reviewed, and redacted. The circuit court ordered DWS to submit an estimated timeline for production and to provide records on a weekly basis in accordance with its timeline. Legal Aid subsequently claimed that DWS redacted information that concerned algorithms, or factors, that the agency uses in its processes to determine benefit eligibility. DWS cited ongoing fraud investigations. The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed an order that the unredacted documents be produced, and that access to and management of the documents be limited. The court found that neither the law enforcement nor the competitive advantage FOIA exception applied. View "Arkansas Department of Commerce, Division of Workforce Services v. Legal AId of Arkansas" on Justia Law

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In this case related to a medical marijuana dispensary license the Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the circuit court denying the State's motion to dismiss a complaint seeking temporary and permanent injunctive relief and an injunction enjoining the State form issuing replacement dispensary-facility licenses, holding that the circuit court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the complaint.In its complaint, Plaintiff, a corporation, alleged that the Medical Marijuana Commission had violated its own rules, the constitution, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The State moved to dismiss on the grounds of sovereign immunity, lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, mootness, and failure to plead facts indicating a cause of action related to equal protection. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the complaint under either section 207 or 212 of the APA. View "Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration v. Carroll County Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court reversed and dismissed in part and dismissed in part this appeal from the judgment of the circuit court in a dispute centering on the Attorney General's spending on television commercials and legal filings in out-of-state federal litigation, holding that dismissal was warranted.In this lawsuit, Plaintiffs alleged that Attorney General Leslie Rutledge exceeded her authority and should be enjoined from continuing to act in excess of her authority and that she had spent funds in excess of her authority in an illegal exaction. The Attorney General asserted various immunity defenses, which the circuit court denied. The Supreme Court reversed and dismissed in part and dismissed in part, holding (1) as to the first claim for relief, the Attorney General had sovereign immunity and could not be enjoined; and (2) as to the second allegation, Rutledge as an individual was entitled to statutory immunity. View "Rutledge v. Remmel" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission denying Appellant's claim for additional medical benefits, holding that the Commission erred in determining that Appellant's claim for additional medical benefits was barred by the statute of limitations.In 2015, Appellant was injured while working for Liberty Trailer and sustained a compensable right-shoulder injury. In 2019, Appellant requested additional benefits. An administrative law judge found that the claim was barred by the statute of limitations. The Commission affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, under a plain reading of Ark. Code Ann. 11-9-702(b)(1), Appellant's claim for additional medical benefits was timely. View "Wynne v. Liberty Trailer" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court denying Appellants' motion for an emergency injunction that sought the removal of three members of the Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission (CAPC), holding that there was no error.On appeal, Appellants argued (1) Carol Wright's appointment to the CAPC violated Ark. Const. art. 19, 3, and (2) the appointments of Melissa Green and Harry Meyer to the CAPC violated Ark. Code Ann. 14-4-107(a)(2). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court correctly concluded that Wright's CAPC appointment was not constitutionally prohibited; and (2) the circuit court did not err when it determined that Green and Meyer were qualified to serve as CAPC commissioners despite being sitting council members at the time of their appointments. View "Johnson v. Wright" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court granting a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiffs, holding that the grounds on which the trial court relied in entering the preliminary injunction had become moot.Plaintiffs were five Arkansas residents who had been receiving pandemic-related unemployment benefits through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation prior to the State's termination of its participation in these programs. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that Defendants - Governor Asa Hutchison and Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Director Charisse Childers - lacked the authority under Ark. Code Ann. 11-10-312 to terminate the State's participation in the programs. The trial court granted Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction ordering Defendants to reengage in the terminated programs. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the grounds for the preliminary injunction had been rendered moot by the General Assembly's passage of Act 1 of the First Extraordinary Session of 2021. View "Hutchinson v. Armstrong" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the circuit court denying the State's motion to dismiss and granting a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiff, holding that the preliminary injunction was granted erroneously.Plaintiff, a hearing-instrument dispenser whose license was not renewed, brought this action against the Arkansas Department of Health, the Secretary of Health, and Arkansas Board of Hearing Instrument Dispensers, and the Executive Director of the Board of Hearing Instrument Dispensers (collectively, the State), arguing that the Board's refusal to provide him a proper renewal notice and a hearing violated his due process and equal protection rights and was an arbitrary and capricious abuse of the Board's power. The circuit court granted Plaintiff's request for a temporary injunction and declaratory relief. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) Plaintiff adequately pleaded a due process claim; (2) Plaintiff's equal protection claim was barred by sovereign immunity; and (3) because the preliminary injunction order contained no findings on irreparable harm or likelihood of success on the merits, the case must be remanded for findings in accordance with Ark. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(1). View "Arkansas Department of Health v. Solomon" on Justia Law