Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court
by
The Supreme Court reversed the vacated the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission affirming and adopting the findings of the administrative law judge (ALJ) awarding an additional-benefits claim to Bruce Menser, holding that Menser's additional-benefits claim was time barred by the statute of limitations. At the time Menser requested a hearing before the Commission, he was receiving workers' compensation benefits. The ALJ found that Menser sustained compensable brain and neuropathy injuries during the course and scope of his employment and that the statute of limitations did not bar Menser's claim for additional medical benefits because it had been tolled. The Commission affirmed and adopted the ALJ's decision. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Commission erred in determining that Menser's claim for additional medical benefits sufficiently tolled the statute of limitations, and to the extent that Arkansas case law does not comport with this holding, those cases are overruled. View "White County Judge v. Menser" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission concluding that parent companies of a direct employer are immune from tort liability under the exclusive remedy statute, Ark. Code Ann. 11-9-105(a), holding that the Commission's decision was supported by substantial evidence. Plaintiff filed a wrongful death suit against the parent companies of her deceased husband's employer. The Commission concluded that the parent companies were statutory employers as principals and stockholders of the direct employer under section 11-9-105(a). The Commissioner further held that the parent companies' statutory entitlement to immunity was consistent with Ark. Const. art. V, 32. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that article 5, section 32 permits workers' compensation laws to extend only to "actual" employers. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission's finding that the parent companies were immune under the exclusive remedy provision was supported by substantial evidence in the record; and (2) section 11-9-105(a) is constitutional because the parent companies had an employment relationship with Plaintiff's deceased husband. View "Meyers v. Yamato Kogyo Co." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's decision granting summary judgment for Dr. Martin T. Faitak and dismissing J. David John's complaint alleging claims of medical negligence and other torts, holding that Faitak was not entitled to quasi-judicial immunity in this case. John's claims concerned psychological and counseling treatment Faitak provided to John and Megan Bolinder, who were parties in a custody case involving John and Megan's child. The circuit court concluded that Faitak was entitled to quasi-judicial immunity. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that quasi-judicial immunity did not apply to the alleged acts upon which John's claims were based. View "John v. Faitak" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Appellant's wrongful death complaint as barred by the applicable statute of limitations, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion when it dismissed the complaint as being untimely filed. Appellant, as personal representative of the estate of David Henson, filed a pro se wrongful death complaint against the Benton County Jail, the Benton County Sheriff's Office and Kelly Cradduck, individually and in his official capacity. Appellant later abandoned certain claims and defendants. The circuit court found that Appellant's claims were time-barred by the applicable statutes of limitations and granted all motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the complaint was properly dismissed as time-barred. View "Henson v. Cradduck" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint filed against Arkansas prison officials under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act and state tort law for allegedly depriving him of a nutritionally adequate diet safe for consumption but reversed the circuit court's imposition of a strike for the dismissal of the underlying action, holding that dismissal was warranted but the strike was not. In dismissing the complaint, the circuit court concluded that Plaintiff's claims were barred by sovereign and statutory immunity and failed to state facts upon which relief could be granted. The court also issued a strike under Ark. Code Ann. 16-68-607. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) because Plaintiff's allegations failed to establish a constitutional violation Plaintiff failed to surmount sovereign and statutory immunity; and (2) the strike was unwarranted. View "Harmon v. Payne" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's order granting summary judgment to Defendant, Dr. Leslie Smith, based on quasi-judicial immunity, holding that Defendant was entitled to quasi-judicial immunity because the suit sought to hold him liable for his performance of functions integral to the judicial process. In 2011, Kenneth McFadden stabbed Virgil Brown to death in their shared apartment. At the time of the murder, McFadden was in custody of Greater Assistance to Those in Need, Inc. as part of his conditional release under Act 911 of 1989 and was serving psychiatric treatment by Dr. Smith. Plaintiff, Brown's daughter, filed this action against Dr. Smith on behalf of her father's estate, claiming that Dr. Smith's alleged failure to provide adequate treatment to McFadden rendered him liable for her father's death. The circuit court concluded that Dr. Smith was entitled to immunity because his treatment of McFadden arose solely from the conditional release order and was within the scope of that order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that to the extent Dr. Smith's actions fell within the scope of the court's order he was entitled to quasi-judicial immunity. View "Martin v. Smith" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's grant of summary judgment to Appellees on Appellant's negligence and civil rights claims, holding that summary judgment was properly granted. Appellant, as special administrator of the estate of his deceased son, filed a wrongful death action against the City of Little Rock and others over the City's alleged mishandling of a 911 call seeking rescue services for his son. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the City. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the City proved entitlement to municipal immunity under Ark. Code Ann. 21-9-301; and (2) the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment on Appellant's civil rights claims brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983. View "Yang v. City of Little Rock, Arkansas" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court dismissed Appellants' appeal from the order of the circuit court granting Appellees' motion for sanctions, holding that the order was not final. Appellant filed a personal injury complaint against Appellees. When Appellees discovered inconsistencies in Appellant's testimony and discovery responses, Appellees filed a motion for sanctions seeking dismissal of the complaint and an allocation of costs and fees. The circuit court granted the motion. Appellant and two attorneys filed a notice of appeal. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the Ark. R. Civ. P. 11 order was not final under the facts of this case. View "McHughes v. Wayland" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court entered on the jury's verdict finding that Davis Life Care Center (DLCC), a long-term care facility, was not entitled to charitable immunity and denying DLCC's motion for new trial, holding that the circuit court erred in submitting the charitable-immunity question to the jury. Plaintiff sued DLCC alleging negligence, medical malpractice, breach of an admission agreement, and other causes of action. DLCC filed a motion for summary judgment claiming entitlement to charitable immunity. The circuit court granted the motion. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for further proceedings, concluding that reasonable persons could reach different conclusions based on the undisputed facts presented. The circuit court submitted the question of charitable immunity to the jury, which returned a verdict against DLCC. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the issue of charitable immunity is a question of law for the court, rather than the jury, to decide. View "Davis Nursing Ass'n v. Neal" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellant's premises-liability suit against Simmons Sporting Goods, Inc. for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that Arkansas courts did not have jurisdiction to hear Appellant's claims against Simmons. Simmons, which was incorporated in Louisiana with its principal place of business in Louisiana, operated a retail sporting goods store in Louisiana. Appellant, a resident of Arkansas, broke her arm when entering the Simmons store. Appellant filed suit against Simmons in the Ashley County Circuit Court, arguing that personal jurisdiction because Simmons advertised in Arkansas, held a contest in Arkansas, and used an Arkansas printing company to produce advertisements for its store. The circuit court dismissed the case, finding that Arkansas lacked personal jurisdiction over Simmons. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Simmons' acts of advertising and conducting promotional activities in Arkansas was not sufficient for personal jurisdiction. View "Lawson v. Simmons Sporting Goods, Inc." on Justia Law