FROM THE BAXTER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 03CV-16-278]
HONORABLE GORDON WEBB, JUDGE
B. Lowrey, for appellant.
Atkins Crain, for appellee.
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, JUDGE.
appeal arises out of a dispute over the dissolution of a
partnership between the appellant, Patricia Fudge, and the
appellee, Eddie Parks. Fudge, in essence, claimed that Parks
failed to properly account for partnership assets,
misappropriated partnership funds and assets, breached his
fiduciary duties, and improperly kept the proceeds from the
sale of her personal vehicle. The Baxter County Circuit Court
entered an order granting Fudge a judgment against Parks for
the sale of her vehicle but denying Fudge relief on all other
claims. On direct appeal, Fudge appeals the amount of damages
awarded by the court as well as the court's denial of her
other claims. On cross-appeal, Parks appeals the judgment
entered against him. We affirm on both direct and
2006, the parties entered into a partnership agreement for a
cattle operation. Fudge was to contribute financially to the
venture, while Parks, who was familiar with cattle farming,
was to manage the operation. The relationship ultimately
soured, and in 2015, the partnership was dissolved. Both
Fudge and Parks signed a dissolution agreement that stated
that the agreement constituted a "full and complete
settlement of all issues, rights, claims or demands that each
has against the other concerning the partnership known as 2
Bar P Farms" and that each party would completely
release each other from "any claim, demand or liability
derived from the operation of 2 Bar P Farms."
signing the dissolution agreement, Fudge filed a complaint
against Parks in the Baxter County Circuit
Court alleging that Parks had fraudulently
concealed some of the assets of the partnership prior to the
signing of the dissolution agreement and that she had
discovered his misappropriation of partnership property and
assets after the dissolution agreement had been executed. She
requested a reimbursement of at least $15, 000. She further
alleged that Parks had prevented the return of several items
of her personal property and had sold her vintage 1967 Chevrolet
Chevelle without her knowledge. She requested the return of
those items as well as damages for the value of the car she
alleged was worth $38, 000. Finally, she requested
reimbursement for the out-of- pocket expenses she incurred in
conducting the investigation into Parks's fraudulent
actions and misdeeds and her costs and attorney's fees.
answered the complaint, denying the allegations. He further
asserted that Fudge's claims were barred by the
dissolution agreement, that her claims were frivolous and
brought for the purposes of harassment, and that he was
entitled to attorney's fees and costs.
subsequently amended her complaint to include allegations
that Parks had received funds from the 2012 Livestock Forage
Disaster Program and the 2012 Noninsured Crop Disaster
Assistance Program that she maintained should have been paid
to the partnership. As to this claim, she requested $11, 380
in compensatory damages and $25, 000 in punitive damages.
again answered the complaint, denying the allegations and
alleging that her claims were barred by the dissolution
circuit court conducted a bench trial at which both Fudge and
Parks presented their evidence. The evidence focused on four
areas of disagreement: (1) disputed checks made on the
partnership account; (2) the receipt of USDA funds; (3) the
sale of cattle at dissolution; and (4) the sale of the 1967
Chevrolet Chevelle. After the hearing, the trial court
entered an order denying Fudge's claims with respect to
the disputed checks but granting her claim as to the sale of
the Chevelle. On that claim, the court ordered Parks to pay
Fudge $16, 000. An amended order resolved the remaining
issues by denying Fudge's claims as to the USDA funds and
her claims of fraud and punitive damages. She appeals the
trial court's denial of her claims, and Parks
cross-appeals the judgment entered against him.
Standard of Review
stated, our standard of review following a bench trial is
whether the trial court's findings are clearly erroneous
or clearly against the preponderance of the evidence.
Bohannon v. Robinson, 2014 Ark. 458, 447 S.W.3d 585.
A finding is clearly erroneous when, although there is
evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire
evidence is left with a definite and firm conviction that a
mistake has been made. Id. Disputed facts and
determinations of the credibility of witnesses are within the
province of the fact-finder. Id.
Issues and ...