Posted by: Andy Taylor | June 15, 2010

Arkansas Supreme Court Adopts Rule Changes

In a recent per curiam, the Arkansas Supreme Court adopted all but three of the proposed appellate rule changes that were proposed and made available for public comment earlier this year.

The rule change that was adopted by the Court that probably has the greatest impact on practicing appellate attorneys is the addition of Ark. R. App. P.–Civ. 3(e)(vi).   That rule requires that in a notice of appeal, the appealing party must state that it abandons any pending but unresolved claims.   There are, of course, some circumstances in which this statement isn’t required, such as in the case of an interlocutory appeal, for example.  The purpose of the rule is to prevent a finality problem that often arises at the appellate level.  This often occurs when there is some unresolved claim that was, for all practical purposes, abandoned by a party but never formally abandoned by an order entered at the trial court level.

In addition to that change, the following is a summary of the other changes made to the Arkansas Rules of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals:

  • An 18-day limit to file a motion to reconsider any order or decision on any motion (2-1(g)).
  • An increase in the number of briefs that must be filed in certain circumstances (2-4(e), 4-1(d), 4-4(a)-(c)).
  • A change in the way oral arguments are scheduled (5-1(a), (b)).
  • A limit of  15  pages for certain petitions  (6-1(e)).
  • A change to the way extensions are handled in dependency-neglect cases (6-9(d), (e))

The Court also made a change to Arkansas Rules of Appellate Procedure 2, adding a subsection (13) that allows civil or criminal contempt orders to be appealed from the circuit court directly to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

The Court declined to adopt three proposed changes that relate to appellate practice.  First, the Court declined to adopt the proposed addition of section(d) to Ark. R. App. P.–Civ. 5, which would have made the untimely filing of a record a disciplinary issue for the attorney, but would have removed the jurisdictional element (meaning that the appellate courts would still hear the appeal, even if the record was not timely filed).  The second change that the Court declined to adopt was the proposed addition of subdivision (e) to Rule of  the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals 4-1, which would have mandated color-coding of briefs.  (As a side note, we had begun color-coding briefs [the current rules do not prohibit this], but are reconsidering that decision.  It is our understanding that there are logistical reasons that the Court prefers not to have color-coded briefs at the current time.)  Third, rather than completely rewriting Rule of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals 2-1 (relating to motion practice), the Court simply adopted proposed subdivision (g), which, as mentioned above, sets an 18-day time limit for filing a motion to reconsider a ruling on any motion covered by that rule.


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