FROM THE ASHLEY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 02CV-15-51]
HONORABLE DON GLOVER, JUDGE
& Keith, PLLC, by: Paul W. Keith, for appellant.
Hudson, Potts & Bernstein, LLP, by: G. Adam Cossey¸
Carolyn Lawson ("Lawson") appeals from the Ashley
County Circuit Court's order granting appellee Simmons
Sporting Goods, Inc.'s ("Simmons") motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. On appeal, Lawson
contends that Simmons's contacts with Arkansas are
sufficient to subject it to personal jurisdiction in
Arkansas. We agree and therefore reverse and remand.
lawsuit stems from a premises-liability suit. The relevant
parties are Lawson and Simmons. Lawson is a resident of
Ashley County, Arkansas. Simmons operates a retail
sporting-goods store located in Bastrop, Louisiana. This is
the corporation's only store, and it has never operated a
store in Arkansas. It is a Louisiana corporation with its
principal place of business, registered office, and
registered agent in Bastrop, Louisiana. The corporation has
only two shareholders, both of whom are Louisiana residents.
however, Simmons advertises in Arkansas to draw Arkansas
residents to its store. Its advertising efforts include
inserting promotional catalogs and display ads into various
Arkansas newspapers, running promotional ads on television,
and running ads online with the Arkansas
Democrat-Gazette. The advertisements state that
customers can get the same deals by "shopping from
home" on its website. Of particular interest, Simmons
hosts a "Big Buck Contest" in which the store
awards a prize for the largest deer harvested in Arkansas. To
qualify, one must bring the deer to the store in Louisiana
and must live within 200 miles of Bastrop, Louisiana.
August 3, 2013, Lawson traveled from her home in Arkansas to
the Simmons store in Louisiana to shop at the "Annual
Tent Sale" event. Upon entering the store, she fell on a
rug located in the foyer and broke her arm. Lawson filed suit
against Simmons in the Ashley County Circuit Court seeking
damages for her pain and suffering, past and future medical
expenses associated with care and treatment of the injuries
sustained, and current and future restrictions upon her
activities imposed by her injuries. In response, Simmons
filed its motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction. A hearing was held on the matter, and the court
issued an order granting the motion to dismiss. From that
order, Lawson has timely appealed and presents one issue: the
circuit court erred in granting Simmons's motion to
dismiss based on personal jurisdiction.
matters outside the pleadings are presented and not excluded
by the circuit court in connection with a Rule 12(b) motion,
we treat the motion as one for summary judgment. Ark. R. Civ.
P. 12(b); Hotfoot Logistics, LLC v. Shipping Point Mktg.,
Inc., 2013 Ark. 130, at 4, 426 S.W.3d 448, 451. The
circuit court's order of dismissal states that the
court's findings were based on "the facts, law,
record, briefs, and arguments of counsel." Because it is
clear to this court that the circuit court considered
exhibits outside the pleadings in making its ruling, the
court's dismissal is converted to one for summary
is well settled regarding the standard of review used by this
court in reviewing a grant of summary judgment. Hotfoot
Logistics, LLC v. Shipping Point Mktg., Inc., 2014 Ark.
460, at 4, 447 S.W.3d 592, 595. A circuit court will grant
summary judgment only when it is apparent that no genuine
issues of material fact exist requiring litigation and that
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Id. The burden of proof shifts to the opposing party
once the moving party establishes a prima facie entitlement
to summary judgment, and the opposing party must demonstrate
the existence of a material issue of fact. Id. 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. Id. After
reviewing the undisputed facts, the circuit court should deny
summary judgment if, under the evidence, reasonable minds
might reach different conclusions from the same undisputed
facts. Id. This review is not limited to the
pleadings but also includes the affidavits and other
documents filed by the parties. Id.
there are no disputed facts as the parties agree on the
essential facts surrounding Simmons's contacts with
Arkansas. Thus, the question before this court is not whether
there were material facts in dispute concerning Simmons's
contacts with Arkansas, but whether the facts asserted form a
sufficient basis to subject Simmons to the personal
jurisdiction of Arkansas courts as a matter of law. Because
this is an issue of law, our review is de novo. Pritchett
v. Evans, 2013 Ark.App. 679, at 4, 430 S.W.3d 223, 226.
contends that personal jurisdiction over Simmons exists. We
begin our analysis with our long-arm statute, which provides
in pertinent part, "The courts of this state shall have
personal jurisdiction of all persons, and all causes of
action or claims for relief, to the maximum extent permitted
by the due process of law clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
of the United States Constitution." Ark. Code Ann.
§ 16-4-101(b) (Repl. 2010).
"the exercise of personal jurisdiction is limited only
by federal constitutional law." Hotfoot, 2014
Ark. 460, at 5, 447 S.W.3d at 595. In accordance
with the statute, we look to the Fourteenth Amendment
due-process jurisprudence when deciding an issue of personal
jurisdiction. Id. The seminal case on personal
jurisdiction and the Due Process Clause is International
Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945).
International Shoe provides that state courts may
exercise personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant
who has "certain minimum contacts with [the State] such
that the maintenance of the suit does not offend
'traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.'" Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations,
S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 923 ...