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Ransom v. JMC Leasing Specialties, LLC

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

October 26, 2016

JOHN RANSOM d/b/a RED OAK AUTO CLINIC and DEMETRIUS ANDRE RANSOM APPELLANTS
v.
JMC LEASING SPECIALTIES, LLC APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND DIVISION [NO. 60CV-15-1411] HONORABLE CHRISTOPHER CHARLES PIAZZA, JUDGE

         AFFIRMED IN PART; DISMISSED IN PART

          John Ransom and Demetrius Andre' Ransom, pro se appellants.

          Danny R. Crabtree, for appellee.

          WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge

         John Ransom d/b/a Red Oak Auto Clinic, and his son and assignee, Demetrius Ransom, file this pro se appeal from a judgment declaring their lien on a 2006 Toyota Camry inferior to a lien held by appellee JMC Leasing Specialties, LLC ("JMC"). They also appeal from an order in which the court held John in contempt and denied their motion to vacate the judgment. We affirm the contempt citation and dismiss the remainder of the appeal.

         I. Facts

         JMC leased the Camry to Joseph Johnson in September 2013 for a period of three years. Mr. Johnson defaulted on the lease in November 2014, after which JMC was unable to locate him. Around this time, John Ransom came into possession of the vehicle. It is not clear from the record how he did so, but, according to him, he towed the vehicle to his auto shop in January 2015, performed repairs on it, and stored it.

         In February 2015, John sent JMC a notice advising that the vehicle would be sold on April 9, 2015, if his lien for towing, storage, and repairs was not paid. JMC did not pay the lien but instead sued John, asserting that it had a perfected automobile-vendors' lien on the Camry and was entitled to an order delivering the vehicle to its possession. John responded, inter alia, that his lien was superior to JMC's and that JMC owed him $3, 661 for repairs, towing, storage, and administrative costs. Demetrius was permitted to intervene in the case as John's assignee. At some point, John's business, Red Oak Auto Clinic, obtained a certificate of title on the Camry, based on its being an abandoned vehicle.

         A bench trial was held, and the court ruled that JMC had a superior lien on the Camry. The June 4, 2015 judgment directed both John and Demetrius Ransom to surrender possession of the vehicle to JMC and to "immediately" deliver the vehicle's certificate of title to JMC. The Ransoms delivered the Camry to JMC shortly after the entry of judgment but did not deliver the title at that time.

         On June 18, 2015, the Ransoms filed a motion to vacate the judgment and for a new trial. JMC responded with a motion for contempt, claiming that the Ransoms had not yet forwarded the Camry title. The court held a hearing on July 23, 2015, that addressed the Ransoms' posttrial motion and JMC's contempt petition. In an order entered August 11, 2015, the court denied the Ransoms' motion to vacate and for a new trial, held John in contempt, and ordered him to pay $555 to JMC for its costs and fees occasioned by the delay in forwarding the certificate of title.

         On September 10, 2015, the Ransoms filed a notice of appeal from the June 4, 2015 judgment and the August 11, 2015 order.

         II. Lien Priority

         The Ransoms argue first that the circuit court erred in its lien-priority ruling. We cannot reach this argument because the Ransoms did not file a timely notice of appeal from the June 4, 2015 order or the denial of their posttrial motion.

         A notice of appeal must be filed within thirty days from the entry of the judgment, decree, or order appealed from.[1] This deadline may be extended if a motion for a new trial or any other motion to vacate, alter, or amend the judgment is filed no later than ten days after the judgment.[2] When that occurs, the following timetable governs the filing of a notice of appeal:

The notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty (30) days from entry of the order disposing of the last motion outstanding. However, if the circuit court neither grants nor denies the motion within thirty (30) days of its filing, the motion shall be deemed denied by operation of law as of the thirtieth day, and the notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty (30) days from that date.[3]

         In this case, the Ransoms filed their motion to vacate and for a new trial on June 18, 2015-ten business days after the June 4, 2015 order.[4] The circuit court did not rule on the motion within thirty days, and the motion was therefore deemed denied on Monday, July 20, 2015. Under the terms of Rule 4(b)(1), quoted above, the Ransoms' notice of appeal was then due thirty days later, on August 19, 2015. However, the Ransoms did not file their notice of appeal until September 10, 2015. Their notice was therefore untimely as to the June 4, 2015 judgment and the denial of their ...


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