Alison Ashley PECK, as a Qualified Beneficiary of the Peck Family Trust and the Peck Marital Trust, and in Her Individual Capacity, Appellant
Hannah PECK a/k/a Hannah Finley, Individually and as Trustee of the Peck Family Trust U/D June 14, 2001, and the Peck Marital Trust, Appellee
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTH DIVISION [NO.
60CV-14-1883], HONORABLE TIMOTHY DAVIS FOX, JUDGE
Liles, P.A., Little Rock, by: Joshua Allen and Christopher O.
Parker, for appellant.
F. Hatfield, P.A., by: Richard F. Hatfield, Little Rock, for
T. WHITEAKER, Judge
Peck appeals the order of the Pulaski County Circuit Court
that granted partial summary judgment and dismissed in part
Pecks amended complaint against appellee Hannah Peck Finley
on the basis of the statute of limitations. At Pecks
request, the circuit court certified the order as a final
judgment pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b).
We reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with
the daughter of the late Robert Peck. Finley is Robert Pecks
widow. After Roberts death, a series of lawsuits developed
between Finley, Peck, Capi Peterson, and Ashley ODell over
Roberts estate plan. We have heard two previous appeals
resulting from the litigation between Peterson and ODell and
Finley. See Peterson v. Peck, 2013 Ark.App.
666, 430 S.W.3d 797; ODell v. Peck, 2017 Ark.App.
532, 2017 WL 4663919. The instant appeal returns to us a
second time after a previous reversal and remand.
See Peck v. Peck, 2016 Ark.App. 423, 502
S.W.3d 553 (Peck I ).
previous opinions, we set forth in detail the facts of the
disputes between Roberts daughters and his widow. For
purposes of this opinion, we will not repeat the facts in
detail but provide the following summary. Robert Peck created
a trust naming Finley as trustee and primary beneficiary (the
Peck Family Trust). Robert named his daughters as contingent
beneficiaries within the trust. The heart of the dispute
between the sisters and Finley has been how Robert funded the
trust. Robert possessed a piece of artwork created by
Alexander Calder (the Calder). Finley believed that Robert
funded the trust with the Calder. As trustee, she sold the
Calder and invested the proceeds. Her investments were not
profitable and lost money. In 2008, she filed a lawsuit
seeking a declaratory judgment to determine the ownership of
the Calder. Peck was a defendant in this lawsuit. She denied
Finleys assertions that the trust owned the Calder and
asserted that the owner of the Calder was her sister,
Peterson. Peck also filed a counterclaim requesting an
accounting and asserting that Finley breached her fiduciary
duties. Both actions— the declaratory judgment and the
counterclaim— were dismissed without prejudice in 2009.
October 2010, Peterson filed suit against Finley, alleging
that she (Peterson) was the owner of the Calder, that Finley
wrongfully sold it to a third party, and that Finley was
liable to Peterson for the value of the Calder and damages
for its sale. Peterson also sought an accounting for
the Peck Family Trust and alleged that Finley acted in bad
faith. Finley denied Petersons allegation and contended that
Petersons actions triggered a share-cancellation clause
within the trust that resulted in a forfeiture of Petersons
beneficiary status under the trust. Following a bench trial,
the circuit court ruled that Peterson had failed to prove
that she was the owner of the Calder. The court also ruled
that Peterson failed to prove that Finley had acted in bad
faith, that the trusts share-cancellation clause was thereby
triggered, and that Peterson was thus excluded as a
beneficiary. We affirmed. Peterson, supra.
2014, Peck sued Finley, seeking a
declaratory judgment of Finleys duties as trustee and of her
own rights as a beneficiary to be kept promptly informed of
all material information regarding administration of the
trust. She asserted that Finley ...