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
Eichenbaum Liles, P.A., by: Joshua Allen and Christopher O.
Parker, for appellant.
Richard F. Hatfield, P.A., by: Richard F. Hatfield, for
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, JUDGE.
Peck appeals the order of the Pulaski County Circuit Court
that granted partial summary judgment and dismissed in part
Peck's amended complaint against appellee Hannah Peck
Finley on the basis of the statute of limitations. At
Peck's 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 this opinion.
the daughter of the late Robert Peck. Finley is Robert
Peck's widow. After Robert's death, a series of
lawsuits developed between Finley, Peck, Capi Peterson, and
Ashley O'Dell over Robert's estate
plan. We have heard two previous appeals
resulting from the litigation between Peterson and O'Dell
and Finley. See Peterson v. Peck, 2013 Ark.App. 666,
430 S.W.3d 797; O'Dell v. Peck, 2017 Ark.App.
532. 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 Robert's 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
Finley's 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 Peterson's allegation and contended that
Peterson's actions triggered a share-cancellation clause
within the trust that resulted in a forfeiture of
Peterson's 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 trust's
share-cancellation clause was thereby triggered, and that
Peterson was thus excluded as a beneficiary. We affirmed.
2014,  Peck sued Finley, seeking a declaratory
judgment of Finley's 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 was required to produce reports to
her as a beneficiary, that Finley had failed to do so, and
that Finley had acted in bad faith. Peck subsequently amended
her declaratory-judgment complaint to add claims for
conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, deceit, and unjust
enrichment or the imposition of a constructive trust. She
also sought an accounting and punitive damages. Finley
responded with a motion to dismiss. Finley argued that our
decision in Peterson held that the mere filing of a
complaint challenging Finley's actions as trustee
triggered the share-cancellation clause. The circuit court
agreed and dismissed Peck's complaint. In Peck
I, we reversed the order dismissing Peck's
complaint. We remanded the case for the circuit court to
determine whether Peck's amended complaint stated
sufficient facts showing that Finley acted in bad faith or
with reckless disregard of either the trust's purposes or
Peck's interests as a contingent beneficiary.
remand following Peck I, Finley voluntarily withdrew
her motion to dismiss. She filed an answer denying that Peck
was a qualified beneficiary of the trust or had standing to
seek a declaratory judgment. Finley further asserted that
Peck's action was barred by various grounds, including
the expiration of the one-year savings statute, judicial
estoppel, and res judicata.
amended her complaint three more times, incorporating the
allegations of her first amended complaint and adding
additional factual allegations. Finley amended her answer to
assert that Peck's action was barred by the three-year
statute of limitations found in Arkansas Code Annotated
section 16-56-105 (Repl. 2005).
ultimately filed a motion for summary judgment in which she
contended that res judicata and the general three-year
statute of limitations barred Peck's action. Peck
responded to the motion for summary judgment, denying that
her claims were barred by the statute of limitations. She
further argued that Finley's affirmative defenses were
barred by the doctrine of law of the case.
a hearing at which the circuit court explained its reasoning
from the bench, the court entered an order addressing
Finley's motion for summary judgment. The court denied
Finley's motion for summary judgment as to Peck's
standing based on res judicata, judicial estoppel, and the
expiration of the savings statute. The court denied the
motion in part and granted it in part as to Peck's claim
for declaratory relief. Specifically, the court denied the
motion as to the questions of whether (1) Peck was and is a
"qualified beneficiary" under the Peck Family
Trust; (2) Finley provided Peck with an annual report within
the one-year period prior to the filing of the initial
complaint in this matter; and (3) any such report complied
with Arkansas Code Annotated section 28-73-813(c)(1) (Repl.
2012). The court granted Finley's motion and dismissed
Peck's claims for conversion (Count II), breach of
fiduciary duty (Count III), deceit (Count IV), and unjust
enrichment (Count V) with prejudice on the basis that they
were barred by the general three-year statute of limitations
set forth in Arkansas Code Annotated section 16-56-105.
Similarly, the court ruled that the one-year statute of
limitations barred Peck's claim for accounting (Count VI)
for any period of time more than one year prior to the filing
of the complaint. The court granted the motion as to