ARTIE GREEN'S AUTO REPAIR & BODY SHOP, INC., AND ARTHUR GREEN, JR. APPELLANTS
PHILLIP JOHNSON APPELLEE
FROM THE SALINE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 63CV-13-640]
HONORABLE GARY ARNOLD, JUDGE
Baxter Law Firm, by: J. Ray Baxter, for appellants.
Law Group, PLLC, by: J. Shane Cox, for appellee.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge
Artie Green's Auto Repair and Body Shop, Inc., and Arthur
Green, Jr., appeal after the Saline County Circuit Court
denied their petition to declare Arkansas Code Annotated
section 16-66-221 (Repl. 2005) unconstitutional. Appellants
argue on appeal that the circuit court erred because section
16-66-221 intrudes on the Arkansas Supreme Court's
exclusive authority over pleading, practice, and procedure
pursuant to amendment 80 section 3 of the Arkansas
Constitution. However, we dismiss this appeal without
prejudice for lack of a final order.
case originates from a default judgment awarding appellee
Phillip Johnson a total of $9, 283.16 against appellants on
March 4, 2014. After appellants failed to satisfy the
judgment or prepare a schedule, verified by affidavit, of all
their property pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section
16-66-221, appellee filed a motion to compel and to show
cause. Appellee requested that the circuit court compel
appellants to comply with the statute, to show cause as to
why sanctions should not be imposed, and to award appellee
attorney's fees and costs. The circuit court filed an
order to show cause.
subsequently filed a petition to declare Arkansas Code
Annotated section 16-66-221 unconstitutional because it
violates amendment 80 to the Arkansas Constitution in that it
is a procedural matter in the exclusive purview of the
Arkansas Supreme Court. After considering appellee's
response, oral arguments, and posthearing briefs regarding
appellants' petition, the circuit court filed an order
denying appellants' petition and declared section
2. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-66-221 satisfies the definition
of substantive law in that it creates a right of information
for a creditor, a corresponding duty for a judgment debtor to
adhere to disclosure of the same, and as such it is a
regulation of powers between parties to a lawsuit as it
relates to property subject to execution by virtue of a final
3. The essence of the statute is to create a right and
corresponding duty between parties, which is clearly under
the realm of substantive law. In particular, the statute
clearly "defines the specific rights or duties
themselves, " articulated within the definition of
substantive law. It is not a violation of the
separation-of-powers doctrine or Amendment 80, and any
procedural aspects of the statute is otherwise allowed for by
Rule 81 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure.
4. IT IS THEREFORE CONSIDERED, ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED
by this Court that Ark. Code Ann. § 16-66-201 is upheld
no party has raised this issue, whether an order is final for
appeal purposes is a jurisdictional question that this court
will raise sua sponte. Hotfoot Logistics, LLC v.
Shipping Point Mktg., Inc., 2012 Ark. 76.
Arkansas Rule of Appellate Procedure-Civil 2(a)(1) (2016)
provides that an appeal may be taken only from a final
judgment or decree entered by the circuit court. Arkansas
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) (2016) provides that when more
than one claim for relief is presented in an action or when
multiple parties are involved, an order that adjudicates
fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of
fewer than all the parties is not a final, appealable order.
Brasfield v. Murray, 96 Ark.App. 207, 239 S.W.3d 551
(2006). Rule 54(b) allows a circuit court, when it finds no
just reason for delaying an appeal, to direct entry of a
final judgment as to fewer than all the claims or parties by
executing a certification of final judgment as it appears in
Rule 54(b)(1). However, absent this required certification,
any judgment, order, or other form of decision that
adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and
liabilities of fewer than all the parties shall not terminate
the action. Brasfield, supra. No such
certification was made in this case.
the circuit court's order specifically declared the
statute in question constitutional. However, the order did
not address or dispose of appellee's pending motion to
compel or to show cause. "The mere fact that the
constitutionality of a law may be involved in the decision on
a motion would not of itself render the decision on such
motion a final order or judgment." State v.
Greenville Stone & Gravel Co., 122 Ark. 151, 155,
182 S.W. 555, 556 (1916). In Thomas v. City of
Fayetteville, 2012 Ark. 120, our supreme court dismissed
an appeal for lack of a final order when a circuit court
granted the City's motion for order of immediate
possession in an eminent domain case. In part, Thomas had
argued that statutory authority for the condemnation violated
both the federal and state constitutions. Id.
Although the circuit court did not find merit in Thomas's
argument and granted the City's petition, the circuit
court did not consider the main issue of the amount of just
compensation. Id. As such, our supreme court
dismissed the appeal to avoid piecemeal litigation.
in Tucker v. Lake View School District Number 25 of
Phillips County, 323 Ark. 693, 917 S.W.2d 530 (1996),
our supreme court dismissed an appeal for lack of finality
where the circuit court declared the school-funding system
unconstitutional but did not consider the constitutionality
of the individual elements of the system nor address Lake
View's requests for injunctive ...