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Motor Cars of Nashville, Inc. v. Chronister

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

August 27, 2014

MOTOR CARS OF NASHVILLE, INC., APPELLANT
v.
CHRIS ROY CHRONISTER, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE POPE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CV-2013-253. HONORABLE DENNIS C. SUTTERFIELD, JUDGE.

Brad Hendricks Law Firm, by: Lloyd W. Kitchens; and Brian G. Brooks, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brian G. Brooks, for appellant.

The Streett Law Firm, P.A., by: Alex G. Streett, James A. Streett, and Robert M. Veach, for appellee.

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge. GLADWIN, C.J., and PITTMAN, J., agree.

OPINION

Page 102

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, JUDGE.   

[¶1] This case involves a dispute over the attempted purchase of a car and the interpretation of District Court Rule 9. Appellant Motor Cars of Nashville, Inc., appeals the order of the Pope County Circuit Court granting appellee Chris Chronister's motion to dismiss Motor Cars's appeal from Pope County District Court. At issue on appeal is whether the circuit court correctly required strict compliance with District Court Rule 9, which governs appeals from district court to circuit court. We find no error and dismiss the appeal.

Chronister attempted to purchase a car from Motor Cars on eBay; Motor Cars, however, sold the car to another bidder despite having asserted to Chronister that he could purchase the car for a given price. Chronister then filed suit against Motor Cars in Pope County District Court. The district court set the matter for trial, but the trial was continued at the request of Motor Cars. Motor Cars subsequently sought a second continuance, asserting that its corporate representative was out of the country and unavailable to appear at trial. The district court denied this second motion for continuance, and the trial remained on the docket. Prior to the trial, however, the parties both signed a consent judgment whereby Motor Cars agreed to pay Chronister $9,620, plus attorney's fees and costs.

[¶2] Motor Cars then attempted to appeal the district-court case to Pope County Circuit Court by filing a certified copy of the district-court docket sheet in circuit court. Although it filed the certified docket sheet, Motor Cars did not serve it on Chronister or his attorney by any form of mail that required a signed receipt. Because of the method of service, Chronister filed a motion to dismiss the appeal in circuit court.[1] After a hearing, the circuit court granted Chronister's motion to dismiss.

At issue in this appeal is the interpretation of Arkansas District Court Rule 9(b). That rule sets out the means by which an

Page 103

appeal is taken from district court. At the time Motor Cars attempted to take its appeal, the rule provided as follows:

A party may take an appeal from a district court by filing a certified copy of the district court's docket sheet, which shows the awarding of judgment and all prior entries, with the clerk of the circuit court having jurisdiction over the matter. Neither a notice of appeal nor an order granting leave to appeal shall be required. The appealing party shall serve a copy of the certified docket sheet upon counsel for ...

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