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 Obtained 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.  

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.

Dismissal Obtained in Putative Class Action

Chad W. Pekron and R. Ryan Younger obtained the dismissal of a putative class action brought by customers of a major retail chain in December 2015.  Mr. Pekron and Mr. Younger defended the retailer and two of its district managers against claims that the company’s discount program violated the Arkansas Price Discrimination Act, which imposes a penalty of $200 to $1000 for every sale in violation of the statute.  Plaintiff filed the action in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas.  Mr. Pekron and Mr. Younger successfully removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act on the ground that the district managers were fraudulently joined to the complaint and could therefore be disregarded for purposes of diversity jurisdiction.  In so doing, Mr. Pekron and Mr. Younger 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, Mr. Pekron and Mr. Younger 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.

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 November 2015.  Mr. Shannon represented the owner of Tanglewood Shopping Center, a shopping center in north central Little Rock anchored by a grocery store, in the action which stemmed from an Arkansas State Highway Commission project to widen Cantrell Road (Arkansas Highway 10) in front the shopping center 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 shopping center and that just compensation should include only a value for the land taken.  Mr. Shannon assisted Tanglewood in proving that the land taken by the Commission resulted in a loss of 22 parking spaces crucial to the long-term success of the shopping center’s anchor tenant and that this caused significant damage to the overall value of the shopping center after the taking.  After approximately 30 minutes of deliberations, the jury awarded Tanglewood the exact amount requested by Mr. Shannon and Tanglewood’s appraisal witness:  $972,000.00.  This was more than six (6) times the $156,150 proposed by the Commission as just compensation.

Development of American Taekwondo Association International (“ATAI”) Complex in Little Rock, Arkansas

Timothy W. Grooms and J. Cliff McKinney II represent American Taekwondo Association International (“ATAI”) in the development of a $13.5 million complex in Little Rock, Arkansas, which will serve as the national headquarters for the association.   ATAI plans to lease space and be the anchor tenant in the building developed by Martial Arts Services, Inc.   In addition to serving as general corporate and real estate counsel for ATAI, the law firm also acts as development counsel, finance counsel and co-bond counsel on the project.  Construction on the 45,300 square-foot facility began in June 2015 and is expected to be completed in August 2016.   Plans call for a three-story office tower with one-story wings coming off the main building to house a training center, a gym for employees, and a museum featuring artifacts from the history of ATAI and from the martial arts culture.   ATAI, one of the world’s largest martial arts organizations dedicated to the discipline of Taekwondo, was formed in 1969 and has based its headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, since 1977.