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.

Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs v. Mallett

Supreme Court of Arkansas

June 21, 2018

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS APPELLANT
v.
DIANE MALLETT AND JOSEPH FABITS APPELLEES

          APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 60-CV-14-595] HONORABLE WENDELL L. GRIFFEN, JUDGE.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Patricia Van Ausdell, Ass't Att'y Gen., and Monty Vaughan Baugh, Deputy Att'y Gen., for appellant.

          Holleman & Associates, P.A., by: John Holleman, Timothy A. Steadman, and Jerry Garner, for appellees.

          RHONDA K. WOOD, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE.

         Appellant Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) appeals the circuit court's denial of its motion to dismiss based on sovereign immunity. We reverse and dismiss.

         Appellees, Diane Mallett and Joseph Fabits, are two former employees of ADVA. In February 2014, Mallett, Fabits, and several others filed a class-action complaint alleging that ADVA failed to compensate them for working overtime in violation of the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (AMWA), Ark. Code Ann. §§ 11-4-201 et seq. (Repl. 2012). They allege they frequently worked through their lunch breaks and had to work off-the-clock to complete their job duties; and therefore, they are entitled to overtime wages. ADVA filed its answer in March 2014. The circuit court granted class certification, but we reversed and remanded with instructions to decertify the class in Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs v. Mallett, 2015 Ark. 428, 474 S.W.3d 861.

         Almost two years after remand, ADVA filed a motion to dismiss arguing that AMWA's abrogation of sovereign immunity violates article 5, section 20 of the Arkansas Constitution. The circuit court denied the motion to dismiss, and ADVA appealed. We have appellate jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 2(a)(10) of the Arkansas Rules of Appellate Procedure-Civil.

         ADVA advanced the same argument in its motion to dismiss the AMWA[1] claim as presented in Bd. of Trs. of Univ. of Ark. v. Andrews, 2018 Ark. 12, 535 S.W.3d 616. As in Andrews, the circuit court denied the motion to dismiss. ADVA now argues Andrews controls. We agree. Andrews controls. In Andrews, we held that the provision of the AMWA that allows the State to be named as a defendant is repugnant to article 5, section 20 of the Arkansas Constitution.[2] While the parties ask us to further analyze Walther v. FLIS Enterprises, Inc. 2018 Ark. 64, 540 S.W.3d 264, this is not the case for us to do so. In Andrews we struck the provision of the AMWA that provided that this action could be brought against the state. We therefore reverse the circuit court's denial of ADVA's motion to dismiss on sovereign immunity. As we stated in Andrews, the avenue for financial redress is through the Claims Commission. Andrews, 2018 Ark. 12, at 12, 535 S.W.3d at 623.

         Reversed and dismissed.

          Kemp, C.J., concurs.

          Baker, Goodson and Hart, JJ., dissent.

          John Dan Kemp, Chief Justice, concurring.

         I agree with the majority's conclusion that we must reverse and dismiss this case pursuant to article 5, section 20 of the Arkansas Constitution. I write separately to state that the people of Arkansas have the ability by constitutional amendment ...


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.