FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. 66CV-2013-101] HONORABLE STEPHEN TABOR, JUDGE
Law Firm, P.A., by: Don P. Chaney, for appellant.
Huckabay Law Firm, PLC, by: D. Michael Huckabay, Jr., and
Kathryn B. Knisley, for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Roberts appeals the Sebastian County Circuit Court's
dismissal of his complaint with prejudice. On appeal, Roberts
argues that the circuit court abused its discretion in
dismissing his complaint for failing to supplement his
discovery responses. We disagree and affirm.
case has an extensive procedural history that involves two
criminal prosecutions against Roberts in the United States
District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. We begin
by discussing the first criminal case. Specifically, on June
29, 2000, a federal jury convicted Roberts of two counts of
willfully failing to file income tax returns for the 1993 and
1994 tax years in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203. The
district court sentenced Roberts to sixteen months'
imprisonment and a one-year term of supervised release.
Roberts was released from prison on December 19, 2001.
November 28, 2006, Roberts's car collided with Ed Dell
Wortz's vehicle. On January 24, 2013, Roberts filed a
complaint in the Sebastian County Circuit Court against Wortz
for negligence arising out of the car accident. Among other damages, Roberts asked for
loss of future income and loss of earning capacity. The court
set a discovery deadline for October 19, 2014, and a trial
date for December 8, 2014.
February 13, 2014, Roberts responded to Wortz's written
discovery request that Roberts "list all lawsuits,
civil, and criminal, in which [he had] ever been involved as
a party." Roberts responded that he had been a party in
a divorce proceeding and "a criminal lawsuit with the
[Internal Revenue Service (IRS)] in 2000 in the Western
District of Arkansas."
Roberts had served Wortz with the response, on June 25, 2014,
the United States Attorney for the Western District of
Arkansas filed a criminal indictment against Roberts for
interfering with the administration of the IRS by impeding or
obstructing the duties of an IRS agent in violation of 26
U.S.C. § 7212(a). Roberts did not supplement his
discovery response with the new indictment.
October 24, 2014, Roberts filed a motion in limine in his
civil lawsuit against Wortz requesting the court to exclude
evidence of his 2000 tax conviction. He argued that the
conviction is inadmissible under Arkansas Rule of Evidence
609 because ten years had elapsed since the conviction. He
further asserted that the conviction would result in
embarrassment, annoyance, and unfair prejudice to him. Also
on October 24, 2014, Roberts filed a motion in limine asking
the court to exclude from evidence his IRS file, which showed
his outstanding tax lien. He asserted that the file was
irrelevant to his negligence claim and could reveal
inadmissible and prejudicial evidence regarding his 2000 tax
conviction. Roberts did not reference his 2014 criminal
indictment in either motion.
November 21, 2014, Wortz filed a motion to dismiss
Roberts's complaint. She informed the court that she had
independently learned that Roberts had an interest in Spinal
Health & Wellness Research Center, LLC, and that Roberts
had failed to disclose his interest in response to her
discovery request for disclosures of any entities in which he
has or had an interest. On December 4, 2014, the court issued
a letter denying Wortz's motion to dismiss. The court
It appears to me there was in fact a discovery violation,
however inadvertent it might have been. It also appears on
the surface to be one that would likely have no impact on the
issues to be tried. On the other hand this is according to
each of you a multi-million dollar case that has been in
litigation for years. I understand [Wortz's
counsel]'s desire to investigate the matter fully and to
not be forced into a situation where he is forced to take
[Roberts]'s word on the matter without further inquiry on
his part. Because the violation does not appear to have
resulted from a sinister plan on behalf of [Roberts] or his
witness, I will not dismiss the complaint nor will I prohibit
evidence from being presented to support [Roberts]'s
economic damage claim as requested in the motion.
December 5, 2014, the court entered an order resetting the
jury trial from December 8, 2014, to July 13, 2015.
1, 2015, the circuit court entered an order denying
Roberts's motion in limine to exclude his tax records.
The court found that Roberts's tax records were relevant
to his claim for loss of income. The court granted