[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTH DIVISION [NO.
60CV-15-3840], HONORABLE TIMOTHY DAVIS FOX, JUDGE
& Gillham, P.L.L.C., by: Luther Oneal Sutter and Lucien
Gillham, Little Rock, for appellant.
Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., Little Rock, by:
Megan D. Hargraves and David F. Koehler, for separate
appellee Arkansas Childrens Hospital.
Pulaski County Attorneys Office, by: Adam B. Fogleman and
William A. Gruber, for separate appellee Pulaski County,
Law Firm, PLLC, Little Rock, by: Robert L. Henry III, for
separate appellee Jane Duke.
case is factually related to Arkansas Childrens Hospital
v. Blakely, 2019 Ark.App. 565, 2019 WL 6521335
(Blakely II ), also handed down today. In this
appeal, Dee Blakely appeals from orders of the Pulaski County
Circuit Court dismissing her claims under the Arkansas
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against appellees Arkansas
Childrens Hospital (ACH) and Jane Duke, one of ACHs outside
attorneys. Blakely also appeals the dismissal of her
illegal-exaction claim against separate appellee Pulaski
County. We affirm.
Background and Procedural History
Amendment 32 to the Arkansas Constitution authorizes an
annual tax on real and personal property in a county
"for the purpose of maintaining, operating and
supporting" a "public hospital owned by such county
..., whether such hospital be operated by such county ... or
by a benevolent association as the agent or lessee of such
county...." According to Pulaski County Ordinance No.
198 (Nov. 14, 1978), a one-mill "Hospital Maintenance
Tax" was approved by the voters "to be used for the
maintenance, operation and support of Arkansas Childrens
Hospital as a public hospital of the County...."
Ordinance No. 198 specifically designated ACH as "a
public hospital of the County." Since 2001, Pulaski
County has, at ACHs request, directed the tax funds to the
State of Arkansas for the State to use to obtain matching
Medicaid funds from the federal government.
August 11, 2015, Blakely submitted a written request to ACH
for records under FOIA (First Request). Specifically, Blakely
requested copies of
(1) Records providing the amount of funding received from the
County by the Hospital, ...