On May 24, 2012, the Arkansas Supreme Court released the 2012 Arkansas civil procedure rule changes (2012 Ark. 236). The changes took effect on July 1, 2012, and they include the following:
- New “Proof of Service” Form - The “Proof of Service” section of the official summons form has been revised. The service form previously was not really intended to be used for service methods other than by sheriff or process server. The form now has language appropriate for most approved service methods, including by certified mail. Also the form now has check boxes for a process server or sheriff to indicate a specific method of service (e.g., by leaving it at the dwelling of the defendant with a resident who is at least 14 years old). (The various acceptable service methods are described in Ark. R. Civ. P. 4.)
At noon on Wednesday, April 25, 2012, I will be doing a 1-hour CLE webinar called “Developments in Arkansas Civil Procedure” for the Arkansas Bar Association.
During the talk, I will focus on significant Arkansas civil procedure appellate decisions and noteworthy rule changes from 2011 and 2012.
You’ll be able to see the PowerPoint presentation through the web. The written materials include a summary I prepared of 30 or so noteworthy civil procedure cases.
You can register at the link below.
In Kesai v. Almand, 2011 Ark. 207, — S.W.3d —-, decided on May 12, 2011, the plaintiff brought suit in Washington County Circuit Court seeking damages from a motor vehicle accident. The case proceeded to trial, and a jury was impaneled, selected, and sworn.
Just before the trial began, the plaintiff requested a voluntary dismissal. Because the jury had already been sworn, the circuit court entered an order charging the plaintiff with the costs of the court interpreter and with jury expenses. The order was amended to substitute the plaintiff’s counsel as the party responsible for paying the trial costs.
On appeal, the supreme court held that the circuit court order was in error.
This is a very significant mid-2011 case.
In the case, In re Estate of Stinnett, 2011 Ark. 278, — S.W.3d —-, decided on June 23, 2011, the supreme court held that an interlocutory order which is immediately appealable per Ark. R.App. P.–Civ. 2(a) can only be appealed within the time specified in Ark. R.App. P.–Civ. 4.
Appellant’s notice of appeal was filed within 30 days after the circuit court’s final distribution order, but appellant’s only point for reversal was a challenge to an earlier order striking a filing made by appellant.
The supreme court held that since the earlier order was immediately appealable, either as an order striking a pleading or as an immediately appealable probate order per A.C.A. § 28-1-116, the time frame in which it could have been appealed was 30 days. Appellant’s appeal was thus untimely.
This domestic relations court of appeals case from last fall highlights an important rule concerning judgments.
In Hayes v. Otto, 2011 Ark. App. 564 (decided September 28, 2011), a father appeals a circuit court order concerning overdue child support payments owed to him by the child’s mother. The appellant father contended that the circuit court erred in several ways in its ruling computing the amount of overdue child support payments owed.
However, the court of appeals determined that the case was not ripe for appeal due to lack of a final order because the judgment did not specific a specific monetary amount being awarded.