Successful Appeal In Licensing Matter

Joseph R. Falasco represented Storm Nolan and River Valley Production, LLC, on appeal after the Pulaski County Circuit Court entered a summary judgment that effectively stripped Nolan and River Valley of a license granted to them by the State of Arkansas.  On appeal, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the circuit court erred and reversed and remanded the matter while vacating the summary judgment order entered by the circuit court.

Successful Appeal In Contract Matter

Joseph R. Falasco was successful in securing the reversal of a significant judgment against his client in a contract matter.  The firm represents El Dorado Ammonia (“EDA”), El Dorado Chemical Co. (“EDC”), and their parent company, LSB Industries (“LSB”)  (collectively “LSB”) in a dispute arising from the dismantling and relocation of an ammonia plant in Louisiana and its reassembly, engineering, and construction in El Dorado, Arkansas.  LSB contracted with Leidos to perform the work and act as the general contractor on the project.  Leidos, in turn, contracted with multiple specialized subcontractors to complete the work.  Global Industrial, the primary piping subcontractor, brought suit against Leidos and LSB seeking to recover approximately $10 million in unpaid invoices.  LSB and Leidos brought cross-claims against each other.  Global’s claims were bifurcated and tried in a separate suit in 2018.  After that trial, the Circuit Court entered a total judgment for about $10 million to foreclose a lien on LSB’s real property connected with its Arkansas chemical plant.  LSB appealed, and, on October 18, 2023, the Arkansas Court of Appeals reversed the judgment.  Global’s petition for rehearing was denied by the Arkansas Supreme Court on January 25, 2024. 

Successful Verdict In Eminent Domain Action After Two-Day Jury Trial

Michael N. Shannon obtained a substantial verdict for his client in an eminent domain action after a two-day jury trial in September 2022.  Mr. Shannon represented Trinity Assembly of God, a church in west Little Rock, in the matter which stemmed from an Arkansas State Highway Commission project to widen Cantrell Road (Arkansas Highway 10) in front of the church and other businesses in that corridor.  The Highway Commission’s position was that the widening of the road did not damage the value of the remainder of the church property where the church building sits.  Mr. Shannon assisted Trinity Assembly of God in proving that the land taken by the Commission resulted in much more than a loss of nine parking spaces, namely crucial changes to an area used to hold outdoor events for the church, the necessity of relocating signage advertising church events and services, loss of area for future expansion, and substantial changes and impairment to the church’s access.   After approximately one hour of deliberation, the jury awarded Trinity Assembly of God the exact amount requested by Mr. Shannon and the church’s appraisal witness:  $2,593,000.00. 

Summary Judgment Granted In Employment Matter

Chip Chiles and Christoph Keller defeated a plaintiff’s federal-court claims against her former employer for sexual discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and breach of a collective bargaining agreement.  On summary judgment, the Eastern District of Arkansas held that plaintiff failed to make her prima facie case of discrimination and retaliation and also failed to show a genuine issue of fact as to whether the employer’s nondiscriminatory reason for terminating her employment was pretext.  The court rejected plaintiff’s claim regarding the collective bargaining agreement, holding that plaintiff failed to provide evidence that the union acted in bad faith despite the fact that the union admitted that plaintiff asked union officials to file grievances on her behalf and they failed to do so. 

Firm Wins Reversal of Default Judgment

Chip Chiles, Joe Falasco, and Philip Elmore won reversal of an order striking an untimely answer and entering a default judgment.  Bates v. Homan, 2021 Ark. App. 266.  Retained after the defendant was held in default, the firm’s team succeeded on appeal by arguing that the plaintiff’s complaint failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted and that the default was void as a result.  The Arkansas Court of Appeals agreed, holding that the social-host immunity statute barred the plaintiff’s wrongful-death claims and reversing the order striking the defendant’s answer and denying the defendants’ motion to set aside the default.  

Defense Verdict in Talcum Powder Exposure Case

Steven W. Quattlebaum and Brittany S. Ford, along with Julia Romano from King & Spalding LLP, achieved a defense verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson in a talcum powder asbestos exposure case held September 20-October 11, 2019, before the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.  After deliberating roughly one day following a three-week trial, the jury rejected the plaintiff’s claim that his pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs often associated with asbestos exposure, was caused by his use of Johnson’s Baby Powder.  Mr. Quattlebaum and Ms. Romano were named Legal Lions by LAW360 after the verdict.

Dismissal of Class Action Affirmed by U.S. Court of Appeals

Chad W. Pekron and R. Ryan Younger defended a major retail chain and two of its district managers in a putative class action alleging that the company’s discount program violates the Arkansas Price Discrimination Act.  Plaintiff sought a statutory penalty of $200 to $1000 for each sale allegedly in violation of the Act, in an amount exceeding $20 million.  Plaintiff filed the action in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas, and the case was successfully removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act on the grounds that the district managers were fraudulently joined to the complaint and could therefore be disregarded for purposes of diversity jurisdiction.  Attorneys for the defendants argued that the court could rely upon the affidavits of the district managers for purposes of establishing fraudulent joinder – an issue that is the subject of significant dispute.  Once the case remained in federal court, defendants argued that the court should apply the “functional availability” doctrine of the Robinson-Patman Act to the Arkansas statute.  In a matter of first impression, the district court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice.  The matter was appealed to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the judgment was affirmed.

Successful Appeal In Employment Matter

Michael B. Heister successfully represented a county-owned nursing home in the appeal of an employment matter.  Mr. Heister represented the client before the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System and prevailed, with the agency finding that the plaintiffs, all former employees of the county-owned nursing home, were not eligible for membership in one of the state’s employee pension plans.  The plaintiffs appealed the agency decision to the Pulaski County Circuit Court, which entered an order and judgment reversing the administrative decision.  The nursing home appealed the circuit court’s ruling and the Arkansas Court of Appeals agreed with our argument that the plaintiff’s failed to establish under the applicable statute that they should have been included in the state program.

Development of TheatreSquared Venue in Fayetteville, Arkansas

J. Cliff McKinney II served as lead real estate counsel for TheatreSquared in the development of the professional theater company’s new venue in northwest Arkansas.  The property where the project will be built is owned by the city of Fayetteville and a long-term lease to TheatreSquared was approved by the city council.  Construction on the new 50,000 square-foot facility began with a groundbreaking ceremony in June 2017 and is expected to be completed by 2019.  The $34,000,000 new facility will feature the company’s first dedicated rehearsal space, staff offices, education and community space, in addition to on-site design and building workshops, eight dedicated guest artist apartments, outdoor public spaces at three levels, and an open-all-day café.  The firm represented TheatreSquared in negotiations with the City to lease the property and to obtain partial funding from the City.  The firm also advised TheatreSquared during the due diligence process as well as assisted in the negotiation of the architectural service agreements and construction agreements.  Additionally, the firm assisted TheatreSquared in the negotiation of its financing arrangements.

Jury Verdict For Plaintiff Business On Six Claims

E. B. (Chip) Chiles IV, Joseph R. Falasco, and Sarah Keith-Bolden obtained a jury verdict on six causes of action in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas, in favor of a family-owned business engaged in commercial office-furniture sales.  The jury found that the former president of the firm’s client breached the restrictive covenants in her employment contract, breached her fiduciary duty to the firm’s client, and tortiously interfered with business expectancies​ of the firm’s client; that a former salesperson of the firm’s client breached the restrictive covenants in her employment contract and tortiously interfered with business expectancies of the firm’s client; and that the individual defendants’ new employer, a business owned by the former president of the firm’s client, tortiously interfered with business expectancies of the firm’s client.  The jury awarded $465,000 in favor of the firm’s client and against the individual defendants’ current employer.

Protest of Bid for State Contract Successful

Michael N. Shannon and R. Ryan Younger successfully represented a national client in a protest of an anticipation to award a contract by the state of Arkansas to manage dental benefits provided to Arkansas Medicaid recipients starting in 2018.   Four companies responded to the bid solicitation of the Department of Human Services.  The protest was sustained and two of the bidders were disqualified.  The ruling cleared the way for the client to be declared a successful bidder for a state contract worth more than $700 million.

Defense Verdict Obtained in Malicious-Prosecution Trial

E. B. (Chip) Chiles IV and Justice J. Brooks I successfully defended an owner/operator of convenience stores against a former employee’s malicious-prosecution claim in a three-day jury trial in the Circuit Court of St. Francis County, Arkansas.  Plaintiff alleged that her former employer terminated her employment as a store manager and maliciously caused criminal proceedings to be instituted against her without probable cause, resulting in damages.  In closing, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $500,000.  The jury resolved the claim in favor of the defendant, responding to a single interrogatory that plaintiff did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that she sustained damages.

Dismissal Affirmed In Claim For Fees For Representing Workers’ Compensation Claimants

E. B. (Chip) Chiles IV and Sarah Keith-Bolden obtained the dismissal of an attorney’s claim that a circuit court should award him attorney’s fees out of amounts collected by a medical provider whose bills were satisfied as part of a workers’ compensation award.  The attorney, who represented two successful workers’ compensation claimants, claimed that his services allowed the medical provider to collect amounts owed by the claimants.  He sought an attorney’s fee award of one-third of the amount collected by the medical provider.  Mr. Chiles and Ms. Keith-Bolden successfully argued that Arkansas’s workers’ compensation statute vests exclusive jurisdiction over attorney’s fees awards in workers’ compensation cases with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.  The Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the attorney could not establish unjust enrichment on the facts alleged.  

Summary Judgment Granted in Breach-of-Contract Matter

E. B. (Chip) Chiles IV and Thomas H. Wyatt successfully defended a bank against a breach-of-contract claim in the Circuit Court of Sharp County, Arkansas. The plaintiff, a partner in a partnership that had a deposit account with the bank, alleged that the bank did not provide him with proper notice that he had been removed as an authorized signer on the partnership’s account. The Court granted the bank’s motion for summary judgment.

Defense Verdict in Breach-of-Contract Case

Steven W. Quattlebaum, Chad W. Pekron, and R. Ryan Younger, along with attorneys from PPGMR Law, achieved a defense verdict in favor of BHP Billiton in a case claiming a breach of three oil and gas production contracts.  The plaintiffs alleged their leases should have been further developed and the failure of the defendant to drill additional wells on the leased properties violated the implied covenant of reasonable development in their leases.  A six-day jury trial in United States District Court in Little Rock, Arkansas, resulted in a defense verdict on all counts.