ARNOLD L. MOODY, APPELLANT
MARY A. TARVIN, JIMMY D. TARVIN, RICHARD D. CHRISTIE, AND MARY A. TARVIN AND JIMMY D. TARVIN D/B/A TARVIN TRAILER PARK, APPELLEES
FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 26CV13-897-1.
HONORABLE JOHN HOMER WRIGHT, JUDGE.
Offices of J. Brent Standridge, P.A., by: J. Brent
Standridge, for appellant.
Donovan & Tilley P.A., by: Richard N. Watts and Staci Dumas
Carson, for appellees.
R. ABRAMSON, Judge. GRUBER and VAUGHT, JJ., agree.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge
appeal, Arnold Moody contends that the trial court erred in
granting summary judgment in favor of appellees, Mary Tarvin,
Jimmy Tarvin, Richard Christie, and Mary Tarvin and Jimmy
Tarvin, d/b/a Tarvin Trailer Park (collectively " the
Tarvins" ). We disagree and affirm.
November 22, 2008, Arnold Moody and Richard Christie were
involved in a physical altercation at the Tarvin Trailer Park
in Lonsdale, Arkansas. Both men were tenants of the trailer
park. On November 21, 2013, Moody filed a complaint for
breach of contract in the Garland County Circuit Court,
alleging that he had entered into a written landlord-tenant
contract on September 18, 2008, with appellee Mary Tarvin and
Jimmy Tarvin, d/b/a Tarvin Trailer Park. In his complaint,
Moody alleged that he sustained serious physical injuries
caused by Richard D. Christie, who worked as a maintenance
person for the Tarvins at the trailer park. Mary Tarvin was
served with the complaint; Jimmy Tarvin is deceased. Richard
Christie was never served. Moody contended that the Tarvins
had a duty to provide him with a safe living environment as a
result of their landlord-tenant relationship. Moody argues
that the Tarvins knew or should have known of Christie's
alleged violent tendencies.
discovery was completed, including the taking of several
witnesses' depositions, the Tarvins moved for summary
judgment on December 10, 2014. The Tarvins maintained that
Moody's claims were for assault and battery and/or
negligence, both of which were time-barred when Moody filed
his complaint. The Tarvins further argued that Moody could
not avoid statute-of-limitations defenses simply by calling
his claim one for breach of contract rather than one for
assault and battery and/or negligence. Moreover, the Tarvins
argue that even if Moody's claims were not barred by the
statute of limitations, they would fail because the Tarvins
owed no legal duty to protect Moody from criminal acts. Moody
responded that his claim was one for breach of contract
because the Tarvins' duty to protect should be implied.
trial court held a hearing on the motion for summary judgment
on April 20, 2015. An order granting the motion for summary
judgment was entered on April 22, 2015. Moody timely filed a
notice of appeal, and the matter is now before this court.
standard of review for summary-judgment cases is well
established. Mitchell v. Lincoln, 366 Ark. 592, 237
S.W.3d 455 (2006). On appeal, we determine if summary
judgment was appropriate based on whether the evidentiary
items presented by the moving party in support of the motion
leave a material question of fact unanswered. Madden v.
Mercedes-Benz USA, Inc., 2016 Ark.App. 45, 481 S.W.3d
455 . This court views the evidence in the light most
favorable to the party against whom the motion was filed,
resolving all doubts and inferences against the moving party.
Meadors v. Still, 344 Ark. 307, 40 S.W.3d 294
(2001). Summary judgment should be granted only when it is
clear that there are no genuine issues of material fact to be
litigated, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Ginsburg v. Ginsburg, 353 Ark. 816,
120 S.W.3d 567 (2003). We no longer refer to summary judgment
as a drastic remedy and now simply regard it as one of the
tools in the trial court's efficiency arsenal.
Id. Once a moving party has established prima facie
entitlement to summary judgment, the opposing party must meet
proof with proof and demonstrate the existence of a material
issue of fact. Id.
appellate review, we determine if summary judgment was
appropriate based on whether the evidentiary items presented
by the moving party in support of its motion leave a material
question of fact unanswered. Laird v. Shelnut, 348
Ark. 632, 74 S.W.3d 206 (2002). Our review is not limited to
the pleadings, as we also focus on the affidavits and other
documents filed by the parties. Id. 
the evidentiary items presented by the Tarvins do not leave
material questions of fact unanswered. The trial court's
granting of summary judgment was appropriate because the
gravamen of Moody's claim is for assault and battery
and/or negligence, not breach of contract. There is a
one-year statute of limitations applicable to actions for
assault and battery. See Ark. Code Ann. §
16-56-104(2)(A) (Repl. 2015). The altercation between Moody
and Christie occurred on November 22, 2008. Moody filed his
complaint on November 21, 2013--four years after the statute
had run. There is a three-year statute of limitations
applicable to negligence and other claimed obligations not
expressed in writing. See Ark. Code Ann. §
16-56-105. That statute of ...