Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court
Rhodes v. The Kroger Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's order granting judgment on the pleadings and dismissing Appellants' cause of action against the Kroger Company, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in granting judgment on the pleadings.In their complaint, Appellants alleged that Kroger had violated Ark. Code Ann. 4-75-501(a)(2) through its Kroger Plus Card policies and procedures. Thereafter, the General Assembly passed a bill that was signed into law (Act 850) that defined that parameters of section 4-75-501 in a way that was not previously set forth in the statute. Kroger moved for judgment on the pleadings, which the circuit court granted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Act 850 cannot be given retroactive application; (2) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by applying the "functional availability" doctrine in dismissing the complaint; and (3) the absence of any factual allegation regarding the mens rea was fatal to this cause of action. View "Rhodes v. The Kroger Co." on Justia Law
Arch Street Pawn Shop LLC v. Gunn
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court granting class certification for a group of Appellants’ customers, including Appellees. The class definition included all who “owe or will incur debts” springing from business with Appellants. On appeal, Appellants argued that certification was improper because no class was “ascertainable” under Ark. R. Civ. P. 23. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the class as defined was not ascertainable as a threshold matter, and therefore, the circuit court abused its discretion by proceeding to a Rule 23 analysis and granting certification. The court remanded the case with instructions to decertify the class. View "Arch Street Pawn Shop LLC v. Gunn" on Justia Law
CACH, LLC v. Echols
CACH, LLC filed a complaint against William Echols alleging that Echols breached his contract with a bank when he defaulted on his obligation to pay for charges incurred on a credit card and that, as current owner of the account, CACH was entitled to payment of the balance due on the credit card. Echols filed a class action counterclaim alleging that CACH violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the common law when it demanded payment from and filed suit against Echols and other Arkansas residents. The circuit court entered an order granting class certification. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in granting class certification. View "CACH, LLC v. Echols" on Justia Law
Hartness v. Nuckles
Ashley Hartness entered into an oral agreement with Restoration Plus, which was owned by Rick Nuckles, for the restoration of his 1968 Pontiac Firebird. Dissatisfied with the restoration, Hartness filed suit against Nuckles, alleging breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, money had and received (unjust enrichment), conversion, fraud, deceit, and false representation. The circuit court entered judgment for Nuckles, finding that Hartness failed to comply with the notice requirement of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which requires a party bringing suit on a warranty to notify the breaching party before filing suit. The court also rejected the remaining claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) if breach of warranty claims exist for a contract that is exclusively for services, the UCC notice requirements apply, and the circuit court did not err in ruling that Hartness’s claims for breach of warranty failed for lack of notice; and (2) the circuit court did not err in ruling that Hartness could not recover for unjust enrichment or conversion. View "Hartness v. Nuckles" on Justia Law
Kersten v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.
State Farm filed a complaint for negligence against Appellant, alleging that Appellant was at fault in an automobile accident with State Farm's insured. Appellant counterclaimed, alleging that State Farm was unjustly enriched as a result of having engaged in the deceptive and unlawful business practice of causing collection-style letters to be mailed in an attempt to collect unadjudicated, potential subrogation claims as debts. Appellant's counterclaim identified two putative classes. State Farm filed a motion to strike the class allegations. Rather than granting the motion to strike class allegations, the circuit court denied class certification "for the reasons stated in State Farm's motion." The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court acted without due consideration of the Court's foregoing case law on typicality, commonality, and predominance and therefore abused its discretion in prematurely denying class certification at the early pleading stage of this case. Remanded. View "Kersten v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Holbrook v. Healthport, Inc.
Appellant requested her medical records from a medical clinic. Pursuant to its contract with Appellant's medical care provider, Healthport, Inc., a private company that fulfills such requests for medical records, obtained and sold Appellant the copies of her requested medical records. Healthport collected sales tax on charges for services rendered in retrieving and copying the medical records. Appellant subsequently filed a class-action complaint against Healthport for violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA), unjust enrichment, and a declaratory judgment that Healthport illegally collected the sales tax. Healthport impleaded the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DF&A) by filing a counterclaim and a third-party complaint seeking declaratory judgment on whether the State's tax statutes require the collection of sales tax on labor and copy charges associated with the production of medical records. The circuit court granted Healthport's and DF&A's motions for summary judgment, finding that sales tax applied to the sale of copies of medical records and that this conclusion rendered Appellant's additional claims moot. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant's appeal without prejudice for lack of a proper Ark. R. Civ. P. 54(b) certificate, as the circuit court's Rule 54(b) certificate failed to comply with Rule 54(b). View "Holbrook v. Healthport, Inc." on Justia Law
Ford Motor Co. v. Washington
Johnny Washington and his son were traveling in their 1994 Ford Explorer when their vehicle was struck by a driver (Karah Williams) who had run a stop sign. The Explorer rolled over twice, fatally injuring Johnny. Paulette Washington, individually and as administratrix of Johnny's estate, filed a complaint against Ford Motor Company for negligence, strict liability, failure to warn, and breach of warranties. The jury returned a verdict finding that Ford and Williams, in equal measure, had been the proximate cause of Johnny's death. The jury awarded $4,652,125 in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages. Ford appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the judgment was not final because it did not set forth a specific dollar amount owed by Ford. View "Ford Motor Co. v. Washington" on Justia Law
DIRECTV, Inc. v. Murray
Appellee initiated this putative class-action lawsuit against DIRECTV, seeking damages for herself individually and on behalf of other former DIRECTV subscribers who paid an early cancellation fee to DIRECTV after they terminated DIRECTV's service. Appellee alleged that DIRECTV's enforcement and collection of its early cancellation fee was deceptive and unconscionable in violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Appellee moved to certify the litigation as a class action. DIRECTV moved to compel Appellee to arbitration in accordance with the arbitration provision in the customer agreement that DIRECTV alleged had been mailed with Appellee's first billing statement. The circuit court denied the motion to compel arbitration and granted Appellee's motion for class certification. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court correctly denied DIRECTV's motion to compel Appellee to arbitration on the basis that Appellee cancelled her service so quickly she did not assent to the arbitration agreement by her continued use of service; and (2) there was no merit to DIRECTV's arguments for reversal of the class-certification order. View "DIRECTV, Inc. v. Murray" on Justia Law
McMillan v. Live Nation Entm’t, Inc.
Corey McMillan, individually and on behalf of a purported class, filed a complaint against Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster (collectively Ticketmaster), alleging that Ticketmaster charged fees in excess of the printed ticket price to musical or entertainment events in Arkansas and asserting that the additional charges violated Ark. Code Ann. 5-63-201(a)(1)(B), which makes it unlawful for any person, corporation, firm, or partnership to offer for sale any ticket to any music entertainment event at a greater price than that printed on the ticket or the advertised price of the ticket. The Arkansas Supreme Court accepted certification from the U.S. district court to answer a question of Arkansas law and held that section 5-63-201 by its plain and unambiguous language applies to a person, corporation, firm, or partnership and does not exclude exclusive ticket agents of public facilities who sell music entertainment tickets that include in the price of the ticket additional fees, resulting in the price of the ticket being more than the face value and advertised price of the ticket. View "McMillan v. Live Nation Entm't, Inc." on Justia Law
Grand Valley Ridge LLC v. Metropolitan Nat’l Bank
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