Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court

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Appellants were minority stockholders in First Community Bank of Crawford County (FBC). After First Bank reached an agreement to merge with FCB, First Bank filed an application with the Arkansas State Banking Board. The Board subsequently approved the merger. Appellants filed a complaint seeking review of the Board’s decision, arguing (1) the Board did not adequately fulfill its duties under administrative law in reaching its decision, and (2) the statues and regulations followed by the Board unconstitutionally infringe on the due process and property rights of minority stockholders. The circuit court concluded that Appellants failed to preserve their substantive objections due to their failure to present these objections before the Board. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Appellants’ claims, holding that Appellants’ arguments were not preserved for judicial review. View "Booth v. Franks" on Justia Law

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Developers purchased forty acres with the intent to develop it. Appellants secured a mortgage on the property with a bank. Later Developers formed a municipal property owners' district (the District). Law Firm was retained by the District as legal counsel for the proposed issuance of improvement bonds to finance public improvements in the development. At issue in this case were certain bonds issued by the District that were sold to several banks (Appellants). Developer defaulted on payment of the capital improvement use fees on the bonds and subsequently defaulted on the original mortgage, and the property was sold. Appellants sued Law Firm, alleging that Law Firm had a duty to inform Appellants of the mortgage on the real property and that it failed to inform them. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Law Firm. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding that the circuit court (1) correctly found Law Firm was not liable under the Arkansas Security Act; (2) erred in granting judgment on the issue of attorney malpractice; and (3) correctly found Law Firm had no duty to Appellants under contract, negligence, or breach of a fiduciary duty. View "First Ark. Bank & Trust v. Gill Elrod Ragon Owen & Sherman, P.A." on Justia Law

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This appeal was a companion to another case handed down on this same date, Chase Bank USA, N.A. v. Regions Bank. The appeal involved challenges only to postjudgment matters in the case. Subsequent to Chase Bank filing its notice of appeal of the circuit court's order granting summary judgment against it and posting a supersedeas bond, several parties in the case moved for attorneys' fees against Chase. The circuit court denied the motions. Additionally, one of the parties filed several additional posttrial motions, which Chase opposed. Appellants appealed, making several arguments. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that because the Court reversed the order granting summary judgment and judgment on the pleadings against Chase in Chase Bank USA, N.A. the arguments raised in the instant appeal were moot. View "Regions Bank v. Chase Bank USA, N.A." on Justia Law

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Wanda Stephens purchased property in Little Rock consisting of Tract A and Tract B. In 2001, Wanda executed a quitclaim deed to the Stephens Family Limited Partnership (SFLP) and mortgaged the property to Regions Mortgage. In 2002, Wanda executed a warranty deed conveying Tract A to herself for life with a remainder to Greg Stephens and his heirs. In 2005, Wanda mortgaged Tract B of the land to Chase Bank. Regions Bank (Region) subsequently made a loan to Wanda, taking as collateral a mortgage on Tract A and Tract B. Wanda defaulted on the first mortgage, and Regions Mortgage foreclosed on both tracts. $308,828 remained from the sale. Chase and Regions asserted claims to the monies, and SFLP and the Stephens heirs intervened. All parties claimed to be first in priority. The circuit court granted partial summary judgment against Chase, finding that the interests of Regions, SFLP, and the Stephens heirs were superior to Chase's. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that because the question of whether Chase had actual notice of the Stephens heirs' claim on the property was a question of fact, summary judgment was inappropriate. View "Chase Bank USA, N.A. v. Regions Bank" on Justia Law

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Appellant Crafton, Tull, Sparks & Associates (CTSA) appealed an order of the circuit court finding that CTSA's lien was second in priority to Appellee Metropolitan National Bank's lien on certain property. The circuit court filed an order titled "Final Judgment and Rule 65(b) certificate" stating that certain parties and actions remained unresolved. CTSA then brought this appeal. Although neither party raised the issue, the Supreme Court sua sponte raised the question of whether the order was final and subject to appeal. The Court dismissed the appeal without prejudice, holding that there was no final order or a sufficient Ark. R. Civ. P. 54(b) certificate, and therefore, the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal. View "Crafton Tull Sparks & Assocs. v. Ruskin Heights, LLC" on Justia Law

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LVNV Funding, LLC filed a complaint against Rae Nardi for an amount due on her credit card account with Citibank. LVNV claimed, as an assignee, it had a contractual relationship between Nardi and Citibank and a cause of action for recovery of the amount due on the account. Nardi filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that the failure to attach to the complaint a copy of the agreement between Nardi and Citibank constituted a violation of Ark. R. Civ. P. 10(d). The circuit court granted summary judgment for Nardi, finding that LVNV violated Rule 10(d), which requires that a copy of the "instrument or document" upon which the claim is based be attached to the complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that compliance with Rule 10(d) is mandatory, and therefore, entry of summary judgment was proper. View "LVNV Funding, LLC v. Nardi" on Justia Law

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Appellant Benefit Bank appealed from the circuit court's order finding that the mortgage it held to certain property was second and subordinate to the interest of Appellee Marilyn Rogers obtained in her divorce. Appellant appealed, arguing, among other things, that the circuit court erred in finding that Appellee's interest was prior to Appellant's interest because the divorce court lacked authority to impose a lien on real property to secure alimony payments. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's order, holding (1) the divorce court did not lack the authority to impose the lien as it did, where it was stipulated to by the divorcing parties; and (2) the circuit court did not err in finding that the lis pendens filed by Appellee created or perfected a lien. View "Benefit Bank v. Rogers" on Justia Law

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Metropolitan National Bank (MNB) loaned Grand Valley Ridge several million dollars for the completion of a subdivision. After Grand Valley failed to make its interest payments, MNB filed a petition for foreclosure. Grand Valley and Thomas Terminella, a member of Grand Valley (collectively, Appellants), filed an amended counterclaim alleging various causes of action. During the trial, the circuit court granted Appellants' motion to take a voluntary nonsuit of their claims of negligence and tortious interference with contract. The circuit court held in favor of MNB. The court subsequently granted MNB's petition for foreclosure and awarded a judgment against Appellants. Thereafter, Appellants filed a complaint alleging their original nonsuited counterclaims and adding additional claims. MNB moved to dismiss Appellants' complaint and filed a motion for sanctions. The circuit court granted both motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding, inter alia, (1) because Appellants brought claims clearly barred by the statute of limitations, the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in awarding sanctions; and (2) the circuit court properly granted summary judgment for MNB on Grand Valley's nonsuited issues based on the applicable statute of limitations. View "Grand Valley Ridge LLC v. Metropolitan Nat'l Bank" on Justia Law

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Gene Shields, an agent for State Farm Insurance Companies, opened an account with Bankcorp Bank. The owner of the account was State Farm. Shields's office manager subsequently diverted funds that were due to be deposited into the account, and Shields allegedly suffered at least $77,925 in losses as a result of over 100 overdrafts on the account. Shields sued Bancorp Bank for negligence in failing to notify him of overdrafts. Bancorp moved to compel arbitration based on the account's arbitration clause. The circuit court denied the motion to compel, and Bancorp appealed. At issue on appeal was whether the parties' 2005 agreement to modify the contract entered into by the parties in 1982 controlled when Shields signed the agreement but State Farm was not a party to the contract. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the 2005 agreement, which contained the arbitration provision, was not binding because the agreement was entered into in contravention of the rights of the account owner, State Farm.

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In 1990, Roy Sharpe executed an inter vivos trust and a will containing a testamentary trust. According to both trusts, Sharpe preferred his attorney, Charles Brown, to be employed to provide legal advice regarding trust administration and to choose a successor trustee if the need arose. Bank of America eventually served as trustee of both trusts. In 2009, Brown filed a petition to change trustees, asserting that in violation of the terms of the trusts, Bank of America intended to manage the trusts from a location outside the boundaries of Little Rock. The circuit court granted the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Brown lacked standing to bring the petition. Because the trusts did not provide a means for removing a trustee, Brown obtained no authority from the trusts to bring an action to change the trustees and had no interest in the trusts that granted him standing and permitted him to enforce the terms of the trusts. Remanded with directions to dismiss the case.