Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court reversed and remanded this case to the Workers’ Compensation Commission for further proceedings, holding that the evidence indicating that Deputy Cleon Morgan was an independent contractor and, therefore, there was not substantial evidence to support the Commission’s decision that Morgan was an employee at the time of his injury. The Commission found that, at the time of his injury, Deputy Morgan had two employers, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and Brookshire Grocery Company. The Commission concluded that both were liable for Deputy Morgan’s workers’ compensation benefits as “joint employers.” Brookshire appealed. The Supreme Court reversed the Commission’s decision, holding that where all the factors that are to be considered in determining if Deputy Morgan was an employee or an independent contractor indicate that Deputy Morgan was an independent contractor, the case must be remanded for further proceedings for a determination as to whether Brookshire was indeed liable for workers’ compensation benefits. View "Brookshire Grocery Co. v. Morgan" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed and dismissed the appeal brought by the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) appealing the circuit court’s denial of its motion to dismiss a complaint alleging violations of the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (AMWA) based on sovereign immunity. Appellees, former employees of the ADVA, brought this complaint alleging that ADVA failed to compensate them for working overtime in violation of the AMWA. ADVA filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that AMWA’s abrogation of sovereign immunity violates Ark. Const. art. V, 20. The circuit court denied the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s denial of ADVA’s motion to dismiss on sovereign immunity, holding that Board of Trustees of University of Arkansas v. Andrews, 535 S.W.3d 616 (Ark. 2018), in which the Court struck the provision of the AMWA that provided this action could be brought against the state, controlled. View "Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs v. Mallett" on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court reversed an order of the circuit court denying Defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint on the grounds that it was barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. In her complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant, Arkansas Community Correction (ACC), terminated her in violation of the Arkansas Whistle-Blower Act (AWBA). Defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings on the grounds that it was an agency of the State and that the General Assembly could not validly waive the State’s sovereign immunity under the AWBA. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that to the extent the legislature subjected the State to liability in the AWBA, it was prohibited by Ark. Const. art. V, 20. View "Arkansas Community Correction v. Barnes" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and affirmed as modified in part the decision of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission awarding benefits to Employee for injuries that arose out of and in the course and scope of Employee’s employment with Employer. As pertinent to this appeal, the Commission found (1) Employee was entitled to a permanent anatomical-impairment rating of twenty-nine percent for his brain injury and twenty-four percent for his left-eye injury, both to the body as a whole; and (2) Employee was not entitled to benefits based on a permanent anatomical-impairment rating based on pain. Employer appealed, and Employee cross-appealed. The Supreme Court held (1) the Commission’s decision that Employee was entitled to a permanent anatomical-impairment rating of twenty-nine percent for his brain injury to the body as a whole for his brain injury was supported by substantial evidence; (2) the Commission’s finding of 100 percent impairment to Employee’s left eye was proper, but the award is modified to reflect that it is a scheduled injury; (3) the Commission’s decision denying twenty-four percent whole-body impairment rating for cranial nerve V and trigeminal nerve damage was supported by substantial evidence. View "Multi-Craft Contractors, Inc. v. Yousey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and affirmed as modified in part the decision of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission awarding benefits to Employee for injuries that arose out of and in the course and scope of Employee’s employment with Employer. As pertinent to this appeal, the Commission found (1) Employee was entitled to a permanent anatomical-impairment rating of twenty-nine percent for his brain injury and twenty-four percent for his left-eye injury, both to the body as a whole; and (2) Employee was not entitled to benefits based on a permanent anatomical-impairment rating based on pain. Employer appealed, and Employee cross-appealed. The Supreme Court held (1) the Commission’s decision that Employee was entitled to a permanent anatomical-impairment rating of twenty-nine percent for his brain injury to the body as a whole for his brain injury was supported by substantial evidence; (2) the Commission’s finding of 100 percent impairment to Employee’s left eye was proper, but the award is modified to reflect that it is a scheduled injury; (3) the Commission’s decision denying twenty-four percent whole-body impairment rating for cranial nerve V and trigeminal nerve damage was supported by substantial evidence. View "Multi-Craft Contractors, Inc. v. Yousey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission that one-half of Oscar Gerard’s attorney’s fees must be paid by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AG&F). Gerard sustained a compensable injury, and AG&F accepted the injury as compensable and paid medical and indemnity benefits. After three surgeries related to his injury, Gerard sought additional benefits. The administrative law judge (ALJ) awarded Gerard additional benefits. Gerard then requested that the ALJ find AG&F responsible for his one-half of attorney’s fees. The ALJ ordered AG&F to deduct Gerard’s one-half of attorney’s fees from the additional benefits awarded and to pay that amount to his attorneys. The full Workers’ Compensation Commission affirmed and adopted the ALJ’s findings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission correctly found that one-half of Gerard’s attorney’s fees must be paid by the AG&F. View "Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. Gerard" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission finding that, at the time of his injury, Deputy Cleon Morgan, Sr., had two employers, Brookshire Grocery Company and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, and holding that all the factors to be considered in determining if Deputy Morgan was an employee or an independent contractor indicated that Morgan was an independent contractor. On appeal, Brookshire argued that Deputy Morgan, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, was an independent contractor when he was injured while working part-time for Brookshire, and therefore, Brookshire was not responsible for Deputy Morgan’s workers’-compensation coverage and claims. The Supreme Court reversed after considering the factors set out in section 220 of the Restatement (Second) of Agency and remanded the case to the Commission for further proceedings. View "Brookshire Grocery Co. v. Morgan" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission finding that, at the time of his injury, Deputy Cleon Morgan, Sr., had two employers, Brookshire Grocery Company and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, and holding that all the factors to be considered in determining if Deputy Morgan was an employee or an independent contractor indicated that Morgan was an independent contractor. On appeal, Brookshire argued that Deputy Morgan, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, was an independent contractor when he was injured while working part-time for Brookshire, and therefore, Brookshire was not responsible for Deputy Morgan’s workers’-compensation coverage and claims. The Supreme Court reversed after considering the factors set out in section 220 of the Restatement (Second) of Agency and remanded the case to the Commission for further proceedings. View "Brookshire Grocery Co. v. Morgan" on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying the motion filed by Appellant, the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas, to dismiss an action brought by Appellee for violations of the overtime of the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (AMWA), Ark. Code Ann. 11-4-201 to -222. On appeal, Appellant argued that the doctrine of sovereign immunity applied, and therefore, the circuit court erred in denying the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the circuit court erred as a matter of law in denying Appellant’s motion to dismiss because it lacked jurisdiction over Appellee’s AMWA claim pursuant to the doctrine of sovereign immunity. View "Board of Trustees of University of Arkansas v. Andrews" on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying the motion filed by Appellant, the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas, to dismiss an action brought by Appellee for violations of the overtime of the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (AMWA), Ark. Code Ann. 11-4-201 to -222. On appeal, Appellant argued that the doctrine of sovereign immunity applied, and therefore, the circuit court erred in denying the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the circuit court erred as a matter of law in denying Appellant’s motion to dismiss because it lacked jurisdiction over Appellee’s AMWA claim pursuant to the doctrine of sovereign immunity. View "Board of Trustees of University of Arkansas v. Andrews" on Justia Law