DAVID A. STEBBINS APPELLANT
DAVID D. STEBBINS APPELLEE
FROM THE BOONE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 05CV-12-85]
HONORABLE RUSSELL ROGERS, JUDGE
A. Stebbins, pro se Appellant.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, JUDGE
parties to this appeal are appellee David D. Stebbins and his
adult son, appellant David A. Stebbins.  At the time of
the incident giving rise to this litigation, the adult son
was residing with the father. In an attempt to eliminate or
reduce previous friction between the father and son, the
parties had executed a written agreement setting forth the
terms and conditions whereby the son could live in the
father's residence. On November 24, 2011, the police were
called to the home of the father David D. Stebbins and found
that the father had suffered knife wounds to his face. The
son, David A. Stebbins, was arrested and charged with
battery. The son subsequently filed suit against his father
claiming that his father had breached the written contract
between the parties that night by failing to provide adequate
high-speed internet service. Appellant further claimed that,
after he confronted his father about the problem with the
internet, his father punched him in the face, and then the
father purposely cut his own face with a knife to make it
appear as if he had been attacked by his son. Appellant
asserted in his complaint that his father pressed criminal
charges against him knowing them to be false, and used the
alleged attack as a means to circumvent the lease-agreement
provision of the parties' contract and unlawfully evict
appellant from his house. The complaint alleged six separate
causes of action, including malicious prosecution, abuse of
process, defamation, breach of contract, conversion, and
battery. Appellant subsequently filed an amended complaint,
adding additional claims for identity theft, tort of outrage,
negligence, and forgery.
case proceeded to a jury trial, and at the conclusion of the
trial the jury was given interrogatories pertaining to only
two of the ten claims. Specifically, the jury was instructed
on breach of contract and battery, and returned verdicts in
favor of the father David D. Stebbins on those two claims.
Thereafter, the trial court entered a "judgment on jury
verdict against plaintiff, " and the order stated that
David A. Stebbins' complaint was dismissed. David A.
Stebbins filed a motion for new trial and subsequently filed
a second motion for new trial, which were both denied by the
trial court. David A. Stebbins now appeals from the
underlying judgment and the order denying his second motion
for new trial.
appeal, the son David A. Stebbins raises twenty-nine
arguments for reversal. We dismiss the appeal for lack of a
final order because the judgment disposed of only two of the
son's claims, leaving eight claims remaining.
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 trial court. Although the
parties did not raise the issue, the question of a final
order is a jurisdictional requirement that the appellate
court raises on its own in order to avoid piecemeal
litigation. Wilkinson v. Smith, 2012 Ark.App. 604.
Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) 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.
In particular, an order that adjudicates fewer than all the
counts of a multicount complaint is not final. Brasfield
v. Murray, 2009 Ark.App. 879. Although Rule 54(b)
provides a method by which the trial court may direct entry
of a final order as to fewer than all the claims or parties,
where there is no attempt to comply with those provisions of
Rule 54(b), the order is not final, and we must dismiss the
appeal. Jerry v. Jerry, 2014 Ark.App. 63.
case, the judgment on appeal provides that "[t]he court
enters this judgment pursuant to the jury's
verdict." However, the verdict forms indicate that the
jury did not determine the rights of the parties on David A.
Stebbins' claims for malicious prosecution, abuse of
process, defamation, and conversion, all of which were
alleged in appellant's original complaint. Nor did the
jury resolve David A. Stebbins' claims for identity
theft, tort of outrage, negligence, or forgery, which were
alleged in his amended complaint. Likewise, the trial
court's judgment did not dispose of these remaining
claims. Although the judgment contains broad language that
David A. Stebbins "takes nothing in his complaint
against the defendant and the complaint is hereby dismissed
with prejudice, " the judgment was entered pursuant to
the jury's verdict, which was limited only to
appellant's claims for breach of contract and battery.
The other four claims in David A. Stebbins' complaint
remain unresolved. Moreover, the judgment makes no mention of
appellant's amended complaint or the four claims therein.
supreme court has repeatedly held that it is not enough to
dismiss some of the parties or to dispose of some of the
claims; to be final and appealable, an order must cover
all of the parties and all of the claims.
J-McDaniel Constr. Co. v. Dale E. Peters Plumbing
Ltd., 2013 Ark. 177. Because a final order has not been
entered disposing of all the claims, we lack jurisdiction of
this appeal, and it must be dismissed.
and Whiteaker, JJ., agree.