In Unimeks, LLC v. Purolite, 2012 Ark. 20, — S.W.3d —-, decided on Jan. 26, 2012, a judgment debtor argued to Pulaski County Circuit Court that the default judgment entered against it should be set aside because of an invalid summons. The debtor argued that the summons did not meet the requirements of Rule 4(b) of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure because it did not bear a valid circuit clerk signature.
The circuit court denied the debtor’s motion to set aside. The debtor appealed, and the case was certified to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Continue reading SCOA: Summons with Official Court Seal Triggers Valid Signature Presumption
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.) Continue reading 2012 Arkansas Civil Procedure Rule Changes
In the case Advance Fiberglass, LLC v. Rovnaghi, 2011 Ark. 516 (decided December 8, 2011), the Arkansas Supreme Court held that service sent via certified mail with restricted delivery to the agent of the defendant limited liability company was proper even though the agent did not sign the mail receipt.
The certified mail, with “restricted delivery” requested, was addressed to Bryan S. Jeffrey, the LLC’s agent. But an employee of Mr. Jeffrey, rather than Mr. Jeffrey himself, signed the certified mail receipt.
The LLC sought dismissal on the basis of insufficient service of process. Continue reading SCOA: Certified Mail Service on LLC Valid Despite Postal “Restricted Delivery” Error
On June 2, the Arkansas Supreme Court released the 2011 changes to the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure (2011 Ark. 250).
The supreme court adopted most of the proposed rule changes that were announced back in March. They did not adopt the proposed new Service and Proof of Service forms.
The changes take effect on July 1, 2011. They include:
- 30-Day Answer Period for All Defendants in Circuit Court – Rule 12 will state that a defendant must file his or her answer to a complaint within 30 days. Currently, Arkansas defendants have 20 days to answer, and out-of-state defendants have 30 days. (Incarcerated defendants will still have 60 days.) The official Summons form is revised to reflect this. Continue reading 2011 Arkansas Civil Procedure Rule Changes
In the March 31, 2011 opinion Gatson v. Billings, 2011 Ark. 125, the Arkansas Supreme Court held that a summons stating it is from an individual rather than from the State of Arkansas is invalid.
Appellant Mizell Gatson brought a negligence suit against appellee Freddie Billings. The suit stemmed from a 2004 vehicle accident.
Billings answered the complaint and then filed a motion to dismiss asserting insufficient process. The summons stated it was from “MIZELL GATSON TO DEFENDANT” rather than from “STATE OF ARKANSAS TO DEFENDANT.”
The circuit court dismissed Gatson’s lawsuit without prejudice. The supreme court affirmed the dismissal. Continue reading SCOA: Only State Has Authority to Direct Summons