FROM THE HOT SPRING COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 30CV-15-115-2]
HONORABLE EDDY EASLEY, JUDGE
Wallace, Martin, Duke & Russell, PLLC, by: Valerie L.
Goudie, for appellant.
Walthall Law Firm, P.A., by: Cecilia Ashcraft, for appellees.
W. GRUBER, Chief Judge
Price appeals the order of the Circuit Court of Hot Spring
County that denied her petition to quiet title in a strip of
land in Malvern, Arkansas, along a property line separating
her lot from the lot of Patrick and Danna Carver. Ms. Price
contends (1) that the circuit court's ruling was clearly
erroneous because she proved her claim by adverse possession
and (2) that she was denied due process because the court
failed to provide a language interpreter for one of her
witnesses. We dismiss the appeal for lack of a final order
because the Carvers' counterclaim has not been resolved.
response to Ms. Price's petition, the Carvers filed an
answer and counterclaim. They stated in the counterclaim that
the lawsuit was baseless and that they had suffered damages
by being forced to hire counsel and to expend more than $2,
000 to defend the property line. They prayed for dismissal of
Ms. Price's cause of action, for judgment for
"attorney's fees and costs and mental anguish
experienced and expended as a result of the filing and
initiation of this frivolous lawsuit, " and for an order
imposing sanctions for Ms. Price's "obvious abuse of
Price then filed an amended complaint. The Carvers filed a
motion to dismiss her petition and an answer to her amended
complaint, and Ms. Price filed a response to their motion to
dismiss. At the conclusion of a hearing, the court converted
the motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment and
postponed a decision so that Ms. Price could respond to a
pretrial brief the Carvers had filed the same morning. The
court denied the summary-judgment motion by written order on
January 26, 2016, finding that there were material issues of
fact to be determined at trial.
case proceeded to a bench trial. In an oral ruling at the
trial's conclusion, the court denied Ms. Price's
petition to quiet title. The court's written judgment,
entered on March 9, 2016, reads in pertinent part:
1.The property line separating the parties in this cause of
action [is] as outlined on the attached surveys of Hurley C.
Clinton dated August 22, 2014 and Justin Randall West dated
August 23, 2015. . . .
2.The Plaintiff has failed to establish any entitlement to
damages and thus her prayer for damages is denied.
3.The Plaintiff has failed to meet her burden of proof to
establish the claim of any portion of the Defendants'
land as required by law in the State of Arkansas. Therefore
the Plaintiff's Petition is denied.
4.Both parties' request for attorneys' fees is
question of whether an order is final and appealable is
jurisdictional, and we are obligated to consider the issue on
our own even if the parties do not raise it. LaRue v.
Ground Zero Constr., Inc., 2014 Ark.App. 93, at 4. The
requirement that an order must be final and appealable is
observed to avoid piecemeal litigation. Id. at 5.
See Ark. R. App. P.-Civ. 2(a)(1)(2016) (permitting
an appeal from a final judgment or decree of the circuit
court). An order is final if it dismisses the parties,
discharges them from the action, or concludes their rights to
the subject matter in controversy. Aceva Techs., LLC v.
Tyson Foods, Inc., 2012 Ark.App. 382. See ...