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McHughes v. Wayland

Supreme Court of Arkansas

May 9, 2019

Sheila MCHUGHES, David Hodges, and Josh McHughes, Appellants
v.
Anissa WAYLAND and Children’s Medical Transportation Service, LLC, Appellees

          APPEAL FROM THE SALINE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 63CV-13-438], HONORABLE GARY ARNOLD, JUDGE.

         David A. Hodges, and Josh E. McHughes, Little Rock, for appellants.

         Spicer Rudstrom, PLLC, by: Howard Mowery, for appellees.

         OPINION

         COURTNEY HUDSON GOODSON, Associate Justice

          Sheila McHughes, along with attorneys David Hodges and Josh McHughes, appeals the order of the Saline County Circuit Court granting the motion for sanctions filed by appellees Anissa Wayland and Children’s Medical Transportation Service, LLC. For reversal, appellants argue that the circuit court erred by (1) granting appellees’ motion for sanctions and denying their motion for sanctions; (2)

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denying their motion to recuse; (3) denying their motion for reconsideration; and (4) denying counsels’ first motion to withdraw. We dismiss the appeal for lack of a final order.

          The underlying case began when Sheila McHughes filed a complaint on July 25, 2013. In the complaint, Sheila McHughes alleged that she was stopped at an intersection on U.S. Highway 229 in Haskell on August 8, 2011, when she was hit from behind by a vehicle owned by Children’s and operated by Wayland, who was a Children’s employee. Throughout the litigation, Sheila McHughes claimed that the accident caused her abdominal pain.

         Rule 11(b) of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the signature of an attorney or a party on motions or other papers constitutes a certification that he or she has made a reasonable inquiry and, among other things, believes that

(1) the pleading, motion, or other paper is not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation;
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law;
(3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support[.]

          After appellees discovered inconsistencies in Sheila McHughes’s testimony and discovery responses, appellees filed a motion for sanctions seeking dismissal of the complaint and an allocation of costs and fees. On October 4, 2017, the circuit court entered an order granting appellees’ motion. In pertinent part, the order stated that

this matter is dismissed with prejudice to the refiling of same. All court costs are assessed against She[ila] McHughes, David Hodges and Josh McHughes. Further, attorney fees incurred by Defendants are assessed against She[ila] McHughes, David Hodges and Josh McHughes. Defendants shall submit an affidavit, invoices or other reliable documentary evidence of their court costs, including expert witness fees and court reporter fees, and attorney fees, to Ms. McHughes, Mr. Hodges and Mr. McHughes within twenty days of this order. If Ms. McHughes, Mr. Hodges or Mr. McHughes dispute any of the submitted expenses and attorney fees, ...

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