JAMES RANDALL AMASON, SR. APPELLANT
CITY OF CALION, ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE UNION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 70CV-2015-37]
HONORABLE DAVID F. GUTHRIE, JUDGE
S. Tschiemer and Caleb B. Baumgardner, for appellant.
Williams & Anderson PLC, by: Alec Gaines, for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE
Randall Amason, Sr., appeals following the Union County
Circuit Court's entry of summary judgment on his
declaratory-judgment action in favor of the City of Calion,
Arkansas (the City). On appeal, Amason argues that the
circuit court erred by (1) finding that he was procedurally
barred from asserting the declaratory-judgment action; (2)
concluding that there were no genuine issues of material
fact; and (3) relying on inadmissible evidence. He also
argues that the circuit court erred by granting the
City's declaration of taking and denying his petition for
an injunction. We affirm.
case arises out of the City's construction of a
wastewater plant on Calion Lake. Specifically, the plant is a
sanitary sewage system that would discharge treated
wastewater effluent into the lake. Amason owns property on
Calion Lake, and on February 2, 2015, the City filed a
condemnation complaint against Amason seeking two easements-a
permanent easement and a construction easement-for
construction of the plant.
March 2, 2015, Amason answered and filed a counterclaim for a
declaratory judgment. Amason asked the court to declare that
"if the City of Calion goes forward with its stand-alone
sewer system and dumps effluent into Calion Lake such will
void the Surface Lease that was executed on July 13,
1934." He attached the 1934 surface lease and a 1955
assignment of the surface lease to the Arkansas Game and Fish
1934 surface lease shows that certain Union County landowners
leased their interests in several parcels of land for the
establishment of Calion Lake. The surface lease states in
part as follows:
The purpose of this lease is to provide a public fishing lake
for the use, pleasure and enjoyment of the members of the
public . . . . This lease shall continue and remain in full
force and effect for such time as said lake is maintained and
used for the purpose aforesaid, and no longer. If said lake
is not maintained or the purpose of the lease abandoned, then
rights herein surveyed shall cease and the right of
possession to the surface of the lands shall return and vest
in the respective owners.
1955, the lease was assigned to AGFC so long as it
"maintain[s], operate[s] and preserve[s] the said Calion
Lake as a public fishing lake for the use, pleasure and
enjoyment of the members of the public generally and in
keeping with purposes of said lease."
18, 2015, the City filed a declaration of taking of two
easements across Amason's property. The City stated that
just compensation for the easements had been deposited into
the court's registry.
29, 2015, Amason objected to the City's declaration. He
also filed a petition for injunctive relief. In the
injunction petition, he requested that the court enjoin the
City from constructing the wastewater plant and from
"pursuing eminent domain in this cause of action"
until the declaratory-judgment action had been resolved.
February 3, 2016, the City filed a motion for summary
judgment on Amason's declaratory-judgment action. The
City argued that Amason did not have standing to assert the
action and had failed to join necessary parties. The City
further argued that the construction of the wastewater plant
did not void the surface lease.
support of its summary-judgment motion, the City offered the
following exhibits: a copy of the 2015 assignment of the
surface lease to the City; an affidavit from the Union County
judge, Mike Loftin; an affidavit from the City's mayor,
Karen Evans; a letter from the Arkansas Natural Resources
Commission (ANRC); a letter from the Arkansas Department of