Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Harris v. Parrish

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

June 6, 2018

SHAWN HARRIS APPELLANT
v.
JAMES PARRISH APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE POPE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 58CV-15-109] HONORABLE RUSSELL ROGERS, JUDGE

          C. Burt Newell, for appellant.

          Murphy, Thompson, Arnold, Skinner & Castleberry, by: Tom Thompson and Kenneth P. "Casey" Castleberry; and

          Sutter & Gillham, PLLC, by: Luther Oneal Sutter, for appellee.

          ROBERT J. GLADWIN, JUDGE

         Appellant Shawn Harris's appeal of the March 31, 2017 order of the Pope County Circuit Court denying his motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity is before this court a second time after we ordered rebriefing. See Harris v. Parrish, 2018 Ark.App. 58. After reviewing the new brief filed by Harris, specifically, the addition of the requested material in the abstract, it appears that Harris has sufficiently cured the deficiencies that caused the rebriefing order, and we now are able to reach the merits of Harris's claim that the trial court erred in denying his motion for summary judgment based on the defense of qualified immunity. Because genuine questions of material fact remain, we affirm.

         I. Facts

         Appellee James Parrish originally filed suit against various Pope County deputies, including Harris, Sheriff Aaron Duvall, and State Trooper Wilson Short in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division. The suit alleged that excessive force was used upon Parrish during his arrest on April 14, 2012. Separate defendant Trooper Short filed a motion for summary judgment alleging that no excessive force was utilized against Parrish in his arrest. That motion was granted, and immediately thereafter, Parrish filed a voluntary nonsuit under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41. Subsequently, the present underlying suit was filed in the Pope County Circuit Court against the same defendants except for Trooper Short. All defendants filed for summary judgment, and following a hearing on the motions held on March 16, 2017, the trial court entered an order on March 31, 2017, granting summary judgment based on qualified immunity to all individually named defendants except for Harris. Harris filed his timely notice of appeal on April 6, 2017.

         II. Standard of Review and Applicable Law

         This appeal is pursued on an interlocutory basis pursuant to Ark. R. App. P-Civ. 2(a)(10) (2017), which allows for an appeal to be taken from a trial court to the Arkansas Supreme Court from "an order denying a motion . . . for summary judgment based upon the defense of . . . the immunity of a government official." Generally, the denial of a motion for summary judgment is neither reviewable nor appealable. See Martin v. Hallum, 2010 Ark.App. 193, at 8, 374 S.W.3d 152, 158 (citing City of Fayetteville v. Romine, 373 Ark. 318, 284 S.W.3d 10 (2008)). However, this general rule does not apply when the refusal to grant a motion for summary judgment has the effect of determining that the appellant is not entitled to immunity from suit. Martin, supra. The rationale justifying such an interlocutory appeal is that the right to immunity from suit is effectively lost if the case is permitted to go to trial. Id.

         The issue of whether a party is immune from suit is purely a question of law and is reviewed de novo. See Martin and Romine, supra; see also Ark. R. App. P.-Civ. 2(a)(10). In Martin, our supreme court reiterated our general analysis regarding summary judgment:

Of course, our courts have repeatedly held that summary judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine issues of material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Gentry [v. Robinson, 2009 Ark. 634, 361 S.W.3d 788]. On appellate review, we determine whether summary judgment was appropriate based on whether the evidentiary items presented by the moving party in support of the motion leave a material fact unanswered. City of Farmington v. Smith, 366 Ark. 473, 237 S.W.3d 1 (2006). We view the evidence in a light most favorable to the party against whom the motion was filed, resolving all doubts and inferences against the moving party. [Smith v. Brt, 363 Ark. 126, 211 S.W.3d 485 (2005)]. Our review focuses not only on the pleadings but also on the affidavits and other documents filed by the parties. Dodson v. Taylor, 346 Ark. 443, 57 S.W.3d 710 (2001). In viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the party resisting the motion, we are not obliged to ignore incontrovertible evidence that is depicted on a videotape. Wallingford v. Olson, 592 F.3d 888 (8th Cir. 2010) (citing Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007)).
The issue of whether a party is immune from suit is reviewed de novo on appeal. Romine, supra. Whether summary judgment on grounds of immunity is appropriate on a particular set of facts is purely a question of law. Gentry, supra. Although the determination of whether there is a genuine issue of material fact is a question of law under these circumstances, it is a legal question that sits near the law-fact divide. Id. (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)).

Martin, 2010 Ark.App. 193, at 10-11, 374 S.W.3d at 159.

         In Graham v. Underwood, 2017 Ark.App. 498, 532 S.W.3d 88, we stated that the purpose of summary judgment is not to try the issues, but to determine whether there are any issues to be tried. Id. If a moving party fails to offer proof on a controverted issue, summary judgment is not appropriate, regardless of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.