FROM THE FRANKLIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. CV-2012-97]
HONORABLE DENNIS CHARLES SUTTERFIELD, JUDGE
Lucas and Marcus Vaden, for appellant.
Robbins Law Firm, by: Michael S. Robbins, for appellees.
COURTNEY HUDSON GOODSON, Associate Justice.
Debbie Worsham appeals the Franklin County Circuit
Court's order granting appellees Roy and Teresa Days'
motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict
("JNOV") or for a new trial. For reversal, Worsham
argues that (1) the circuit court abused its discretion in
granting a new trial based on inconsistent verdicts because
the Days failed to object to any inconsistency before the
jury was discharged; (2) the circuit court abused its
discretion in granting a new trial because a jury can find
liability on multiple theories as long as damages are not
duplicated; and (3) the Days waived their right to object to
any irregularities or inconsistencies stemming from the jury
instructions or the verdict forms by consenting to their use.
We accepted certification of this case from the court of
appeals pursuant to Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 1-2(b)(1)
because it involves an issue of first impression regarding
appellate jurisdiction. We dismiss the appeal.
25, 2012, Worsham filed a complaint for breach of contract
against the Days. Worsham alleged that on May 9, 2012, the
parties had executed a contract for the sale of Worsham's
liquor store in Altus, Arkansas, for the purchase price of
$225, 000. The Days paid Worsham $10, 000 in earnest money in
conjunction with the signing of the contract. Despite the
fact that the Days took possession of the store on May 31,
2012, pursuant to the terms of the contract, Worsham
indicated that the Days had informed her in early July 2012
that they were no longer interested in buying the business
and that they would not be paying the remaining balance of
filed an amended complaint on October 31, 2013, adding a
claim for promissory estoppel. The Days answered and denied
the allegations in the complaint, and they also filed
counterclaims for unjust enrichment and fraudulent
jury trial was held on March 10 and 11, 2015, and the jury
found for Worsham on her claim for breach of contract,
awarding her $115, 000 in damages. The jury also found in favor
of Worsham on her promissory-estoppel claim, awarding her
zero damages, and rendered verdicts against the Days on their
counterclaims. The verdict forms were filed on March 11,
March 23, 2015, the Days filed a motion for JNOV or for a new
trial. The Days argued that the jury verdict in favor of
Worsham on her breach-of-contract claim should be set aside
due to insufficient evidence. Alternatively, the Days
contended that a new trial should be granted because the jury
verdicts finding in favor of Worsham on both her breach-
of-contract and promissory-estoppel claims were contradictory
and incompatible. Worsham filed a response to the motion on
April 13, 2015.
circuit court held a hearing on the motion for JNOV or for a
new trial on July 14, 2015. The court then entered an order
granting the motion on July 21, 2015, finding that the jury
verdicts were improper and inconsistent and that they should
be set aside in favor of granting a new trial. On August 3,
2015, Worsham filed a motion to reconsider the circuit
court's order, which was denied. Worsham then filed a
timely notice of appeal and amended notice of appeal from the
circuit court's orders granting a new trial and denying
her motion to reconsider.
appeal, the court of appeals remanded this case to settle and
supplement the record because there was no written judgment
in the record or addendum from the circuit court reflecting
the jury's verdicts. Worsham v. Day, 2016
Ark.App. 262. Following the court of appeals' opinion,
Worsham filed a motion to enter judgment on May 19, 2016. On
May 25, 2016, the circuit court entered a "Judgment Upon
Jury Verdict, " which was consistent with the jury's
verdicts. Worsham then filed a supplemental record with the
court of appeals containing this judgment, and we accepted
certification of this appeal on March 17, 2017.
court of appeals certified this case to us to determine the
threshold question of whether we have jurisdiction to decide
the issues raised by Worsham in this appeal. Whether an
appellant has filed a timely and effective notice of appeal
is always an issue before an appellate court; absent an
effective notice of appeal, we lack jurisdiction to consider
the appeal and must dismiss it. Lindsey v. Green,
2010 Ark. 118, 369 S.W.3d 1; McJames v. State, 2010
to Arkansas Rule of Appellate Procedure-Civil 4(a) (2016), a
notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty days from the
entry of the judgment, decree, or order appealed from.
However, upon the timely filing of a motion for JNOV under
Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b) or a motion for a new
trial under Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a), or any
other motion to vacate, alter, or amend the judgment made no
later than ten days after entry of the judgment, the time for
filing the notice of appeal is extended and must be filed
within thirty days from entry of the order disposing of the
last posttrial motion. Ark. R. App. P.-Civ. 4(b)(1). A motion
for JNOV or for a new trial is timely if filed no later than
ten days after entry of the judgment, and if the motion is
made before entry of the judgment, it shall become effective
and be treated as filed on the day after the judgment is
entered. Ark. R. Civ. P. 50(b)(2) (2016); Ark. R. Civ. P.
circuit court neither grants nor denies the post trial motion
within thirty days of its filing, the motion shall be deemed
denied by operation of law as of the thirtieth day, and the
notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty days of that
date. Ark. R. App. P.- Civ. 4(b)(1). Further, a notice of
appeal filed before disposition of the post trial motions
listed in Rule 4(b)(1) shall be treated as filed on the day
after the entry of an order disposing of the last motion
outstanding or the day after the motion is deemed denied.
Ark. R. App. P.-Civ. 4(b)(2). Such a notice is effective to
appeal the underlying judgment, ...