GARY HOWARD, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF ODIS HOWARD, DECEASED APPELLANT
LAUREN ADAMS, DON BRADY, TODD MAZZANTI, AND BRADY & JACKSON, PLLC APPELLEES
FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04-P2003-461-5]
HONORABLE XOLLIE DUNCAN, JUDGE
McDermott, for appellant.
Cochran, P.A., by: Tamra Cochran, for appellees.
J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge.
the fifth appeal in a dispute between appellant Gary Howard
and appellee Lauren Adams over attorney's
fees. In the most recent appeal,
Howard IV, we affirmed the circuit court's
decision to foreclose on forty-six acres of property in order
to satisfy Adams's attorney-fee lien and other matters.
While Howard IV was pending, the foreclosure sale
took place and was confirmed by the circuit court. The court
also awarded additional fees to Adams for the work of her
attorney Tamra Cochran, who has represented her throughout
this dispute. Gary now appeals from the order confirming the
sale and the order awarding additional attorney's fees.
lengthy history of this case is set forth in our earlier
opinions. To summarize past events, Adams represented Gary in
a lawsuit to recover forty-six acres of property that had
been owned by Gary's late father, Odis Howard. Adams
obtained a successful outcome, which resulted in the
forty-six acres being placed into the Odis Howard estate.
Gary was the administrator and sole beneficiary of the
estate, subject to the dower interest of his stepmother,
Adams sought a one-third contingency fee from Gary in
accordance with her representation contract. When Gary
refused to pay, Adams filed an attorney-fee lien on the
forty-six acres and a claim against the estate for
thirty-three percent of the property's value. Following a
lengthy period in which the forty-six acres remained unsold,
Adams began seeking foreclosure of her attorney-fee lien
through a judicial sale of the property.
November 2014, the circuit court ordered foreclosure and
public sale of the forty-six acres. The order provided that
Adams would receive one third of the sale proceeds in
satisfaction of her attorney-fee lien, less $110, 500
distributed to Mabel Howard for her dower interest; and that
Adams would receive another $18, 529.09 from the sale
proceeds for fees payable to her lawyer, Tamra Cochran. We
affirmed these rulings in Howard IV, supra.
the appeal in Howard IV was pending, the foreclosure
sale was held, and Adams and her law partner bought the
forty-six acres for $450, 000. The circuit court confirmed
the sale and awarded Adams additional fees of $69, 037.50 for
the Cochran firm's representation. Gary appeals and
raises five arguments for reversal.
Judicial Sale of the Property
argues that three errors occurred in connection with the sale
of the forty-six acres. As explained below, we find no error
in the sale process.
begin by recognizing that we accord great discretion to the
circuit court in matters pertaining to judicial sales. The
circuit court is the vendor in judicial sales, and, in the
exercise of sound judicial discretion, it may confirm or
refuse to confirm a sale made under its order. Williams
v. Hall, 98 Ark.App. 90, 250 S.W.3d 581 (2007). In
determining whether the circuit court abused its discretion,
we do not substitute our decision for that of the circuit
court; instead, we merely review the case to see whether the
circuit court's decision was within the latitude of
decisions that it could make in the particular case. See
Kellett v. Pocahontas Fed. Savings & Loan Ass'n,
25 Ark.App. 243, 756 S.W.2d 926 (1988).
argues first that notice of the sale was not published the
requisite number of times in the newspaper. The circuit