FROM THE CARROLL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT [NO.
08CV-13-38] HONORABLE SCOTT JACKSON, JUDGE
H. Montgomery, Public Employee Claims Division, for
Hodnett, for appellee.
MARK KLAPPENBACH, Judge
Public Employee Claims Division (PECD) appeals the
"Order to Distribute Funds" entered by the Carroll
County Circuit Court on July 7, 2016. Because the order from
which the appeal has been taken is not a final, appealable
order, we dismiss without prejudice.
chronology of events is necessary to explain our conclusion.
Appellee Gary Clark is an employee of the Arkansas Livestock
and Poultry Commission. Clark is a veterinary livestock
inspector. In 2010, Clark was injured on the job by a bull,
and Clark was paid workers' compensation benefits for his
injuries. In 2013, Clark filed a negligence suit against the
entity responsible for the facility where the accident
happened, appellee North Arkansas Livestock Auction, Inc.
(NALA). In 2015, PECD moved to intervene in order to
establish a first lien against proceeds of the lawsuit for
purposes of recovering on its payment of workers'
compensation benefits. NALA and Clark did not object to the
intervention, and the trial court permitted PECD to file its
complaint in intervention. In February 2016, $75, 000 was
deposited into the registry of the court. In May 2016, a
hearing was conducted on the matter of distributing the
interpleaded money. As a result, the trial court entered the
July 2016 order on appeal, which mentioned that Clark and
NALA "previously settled [Clark's] cause of action
and part of that settlement was to place $75, 000 on deposit
with the Carroll County Circuit Clerk and to be distributed
based upon the Court's adjudication of intervenor's
complaint." The trial court permitted PECD a first lien
on the deposited funds to allow it to receive two-thirds of
the money after payment of costs of collection. The trial
court ordered that PECD receive $23, 345. PECD filed a timely
notice of appeal from the order to distribute the funds and
ordered the entire trial court record. PECD argues on appeal
that the circuit court (1) did not abide by statutory
mandates regarding distribution of the funds, and (2) failed
to award an appropriate sum of money to PECD.
no party has raised this issue, the question of whether an
order is final and subject to appeal is a jurisdictional
question that the appellate court will raise sua sponte.
Searcy Cty. Counsel for Ethical Gov't v.
Hinchey, 2011 Ark. 533. Rule 2(a)(1) of the Arkansas
Rules of Appellate Procedure-Civil provides that an appeal
may be taken only from a final judgment or decree entered by
the circuit court. Id. Under Arkansas Rule of Civil
Procedure 54(b), an order that fails to adjudicate all the
claims as to all the parties, whether presented as claims,
counterclaims, cross-claims, or third-party claims, is not
final for purposes of appeal. Dodge v. Lee,
350 Ark. 480, 88 S.W.3d 843 (2002). Although Rule 54(b)
provides a method by which the circuit court may direct entry
of final judgment as to fewer than all the claims or parties,
where there is no attempt to comply with Rule 54(b), the
order is not final, and we must dismiss the appeal.
Harrill & Sutter, PLLC v. Farrar, 2011 Ark. 181;
Jacobs v. Collison, 2015 Ark.App. 420.
circuit court in this case did not dispose of Clark's
negligence complaint against NALA. There is no order of
dismissal in the appellate record, and the order to
distribute funds did not dismiss Clark's complaint.
Therefore, Clark's negligence complaint remains
outstanding. There is no final order, and we must dismiss the
appeal without prejudice. Chitwood v. Chitwood, 2013
Ark. 195; Ford Motor Co. v. Washington, 2012 Ark.
325; Crafton, Tull, Sparks & Assocs. v. Ruskin
Heights, LLC, 2012 Ark. 56.
this opportunity to note that PECD has filed a brief that is
not in compliance with Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 4-2
(2016). Our appellate briefing rules require that an
appellant abstract "the material parts of all the
transcripts (stenographically reported material) in the
record." Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 4-2(a)(5). PECD provided an
abstract of the pertinent hearing. However, PECD also
attached a verbatim copy of the hearing transcript in its
addendum, which is improper. Rule 4-2(a)(8) mandates that an
appellant's addendum contain "copies of the
non-transcript documents in the record on appeal[.]" In
any subsequent brief, the addendum should not contain a copy
of the hearing transcript. In addition, Rule 4-2(a)(7)
requires that, in an appellant's argument section of the
brief, reference to material found in the abstract and
addendum "be followed by a reference to the page number
of the abstract or addendum at which such material may be
found." Here, PECD's argument contains references to
the improperly-attached transcript in the addendum instead of
the abstract of that transcript, as well as references to the
record page number. These references are not proper and do
not comply with appellate briefing rules. Similarly,
appellant's statement of the case contains improper
references directly to the record page number and to the
improperly attached transcript in the addendum. Rule
4-2(a)(6) mandates that the statement of the case
"include supporting page references to the abstract or
addendum or both." While we have noted these briefing
deficiencies, this is in no way to be construed as an
exhaustive list of all possible deficiencies. We encourage
appellant, prior to filing any subsequent brief, to review
our rules to ensure that no additional deficiencies are
present. See Bulsara v. Watkins, 2010 Ark. 453.