Justia Health Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court
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In this case concerning the medical marijuana licensing and regulatory process the Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed in part this interlocutory appeal from the circuit court's denial of Defendants' motion to dismiss this action on the basis of sovereign immunity, holding that the circuit court erred in its ruling.Plaintiff brought this complaint seeking a writ of mandamus and declaratory relief to compel Defendants - the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission - to revoke a cultivation facility license granted to another company and instead award it to Plaintiff. The circuit court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss on the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The Supreme Court remanded the action, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in denying the motion to dismiss the writ of mandamus on the basis of sovereign immunity; (2) the circuit court erred in denying gate State's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's claim of declaratory relief; and (3) to the extent that Appellants were seeking relief under the APA the case must be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration v. 2600 Holdings, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this case related to a medical marijuana dispensary license the Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the circuit court denying the State's motion to dismiss a complaint seeking temporary and permanent injunctive relief and an injunction enjoining the State form issuing replacement dispensary-facility licenses, holding that the circuit court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the complaint.In its complaint, Plaintiff, a corporation, alleged that the Medical Marijuana Commission had violated its own rules, the constitution, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The State moved to dismiss on the grounds of sovereign immunity, lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, mootness, and failure to plead facts indicating a cause of action related to equal protection. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the complaint under either section 207 or 212 of the APA. View "Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration v. Carroll County Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court enjoining the enforcement of the Bentonville School District's mask policy in favor of Plaintiffs, parents of school children, holding that the the circuit court abused its discretion in granting Plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO).In granting the TRO, the circuit court concluded that the school policy at issue violated Plaintiffs' right under Ark. Const. art. II, 21 and 29 to care for their children and that the District lacked the authority to issue the mask policy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that (1) the circuit court abused its discretion in finding that the policy violated Plaintiffs' constitutional rights and was enacted without proper authority; and (2) Plaintiffs failed to show that irreparable harm would result in the absence of a TRO. View "Bentonville School District v. Sitton" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying mother's motion to prohibit the Arkansas Department of Human Services (ADHS) from immunizing her one-year-old daughter, M.S., over her objection after the circuit court adjudicated M.S. dependent-neglected, holding that Mother properly availed herself of the vaccination exemption provided for by Ark. Code. Ann. 6-18-702.On appeal, Mother argued that ADHS, as the temporary custodian of M.S., did not have the authority to immunize the child over her philosophical and religious objections. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) under the circumstances, the legal issues were sufficiently developed to allow an intelligent and useful decision, and therefore, the case was ripe for appellate review; and (2) Mother exercised her right to exempt M.S. from immunization, as was her right as a parent. View "Macklin v. Arkansas Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

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Here, the Supreme Court announced new protocols to maintain the safety of jurors, litigants, attorneys, court personnel and the public in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Court suspended until January 15, 2021 jury trials that have not begun. The Court, however, urged that judges continue to move cases forward, either through the use of technology by virtual or telephonic hearings or through in-person hearings that meet the Arkansas Department of Health's criteria for safe gatherings. The Court held that any delay for speedy-trial purposes due to precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic shall presumptively constitute good cause under Ark. R. Crim. P. 28.3(h) and shall constitute an excluded period for speedy-trial purposes. View "In Response To The COVID-19 Pandemic" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court finding attorney Jonathan Streit in contempt of court and assessing a $100 fine, holding that substantial evidence supported the court's decision that Streit's actions displayed a lack of regard for the court's integrity and demonstrated disrespect.Streit appeared before the circuit court on a petition for permanent guardianship. At the hearing, the circuit court noted several deficiencies in the case file. The circuit court was unwilling to let the matter to proceed without compliance with the statutory requirements, and Streit argued that the circuit court took issue with him because he successfully reversed the circuit court in a separate case. The circuit court then found Streit in contempt of court and assessed a fine. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that substantial evidence supported the court's decision to hold Streit in contempt. View "Streit v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court entered on the jury's verdict finding that Davis Life Care Center (DLCC), a long-term care facility, was not entitled to charitable immunity and denying DLCC's motion for new trial, holding that the circuit court erred in submitting the charitable-immunity question to the jury.Plaintiff sued DLCC alleging negligence, medical malpractice, breach of an admission agreement, and other causes of action. DLCC filed a motion for summary judgment claiming entitlement to charitable immunity. The circuit court granted the motion. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for further proceedings, concluding that reasonable persons could reach different conclusions based on the undisputed facts presented. The circuit court submitted the question of charitable immunity to the jury, which returned a verdict against DLCC. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the issue of charitable immunity is a question of law for the court, rather than the jury, to decide. View "Davis Nursing Ass'n v. Neal" on Justia Law

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At issue was the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission’s (MMC) process that resulted in a decision awarding five top scoring applicants medical-marijuana-cultivation-facility licenses.Naturalis Health, LLC, one of the applicants that did not obtain a license, brought this complaint asserting that the MMC carried out the application process in a flawed, biased, and arbitrary and capricious manner. The circuit court agreed and went further to conclude that the MMC’s licensing process and decisions violated Amendment 98 of the Arkansas Constitution, were ultra vires, and violated due process. The court declared the MMC’s licensing decisions null and void and enjoined the MMC from issuing the cultivation-facility licenses. The Supreme Court reversed and dismissed the appeal brought by Appellants - MMC and others - holding that the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction under the Administrative Procedure Act. View "Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration v. Naturalis Health, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting a motion for temporary restraining order (TRO) in favor of Appellees, who sought a declaratory judgment challenging the validity of the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ (DHS) new Resource Utilization Groups system rule. Appellees, low-income individuals with profound physical disabilities who received services through a program called Attendant Care, alleged that the switch from nurses’ assessments to to a computer algorithm reduced their attendant care hours by an average of forty-three percent and that such a reduction would be insufficient to meet their care needs. The circuit court concluded that Appellees demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits and temporarily enjoined DHS from reducing their attendant-care hours. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court properly found irreparable harm in this case; (2) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Appellees demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits; and (3) Appellees were not required to exhaust their administrative remedies before seeking a declaratory order from the court. View "Arkansas Department of Human Services v. Ledgerwood" on Justia Law

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In this complaint filed against Robinson Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC and related entities (collectively, Robinson), the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order granting class certification in part and reversed it in part. Andrew Phillips filed a first amended class-action complaint challenging Robinson’s business practice of chronic understaffing. Robinson appealed the order granting class certification, arguing that Phillips did not meet his burden of proving commonality, predominance, typicality, and superiority, and that the class definition was overbroad. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) properly granted class certification as to Phillips’s claims of breach of contract, Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA), and unjust enrichment; and (2) abused its discretion in certifying the class action as to Phillips’s negligence claim. View "Robinson Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. Phillips" on Justia Law