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Lawsuit against Conway reaches high court

Posted: October 16, 2013 - 8:23pm

A court order that prohibited two Faulkner County citizens from filing pleadings in a lawsuit against the city of Conway and Conway Corporation has been reversed by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

The lawsuit concerns the city’s exercise of its eminent domain power to secure a strip of privately owned land in the Lollie Bottoms area. The land was taken by the city in a September 2011, condemnation action to install a water pipeline as part of the new wastewater treatment facility there.

The case was set for trial on Oct. 12, 2012, but on that day landowners Karen Cooper and Jack Dowell were granted a continuance, postponing the trial. Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio approved the order, which conditioned the continuance on Cooper and Dowell’s paying the city and Conway Corporation attorney’s fees and costs incurred in preparing for trial, including expert witness fees and juror fees.

With a restructuring of criminal and civil cases within the Circuit Court, the case was transferred to Circuit Judge H.G. Foster in December 2012. In January, Foster entered an additional order to postpone the trial. This order referenced the previous condition that Cooper and Dowell pay attorney’s fees and costs, set this amount at $21,345, and barred them from filing further pleadings “until such time as the attorney’s fees and costs awarded herein and the jury costs awarded herein are paid-in-full.”

In February, the city and Conway Corp filed to garnish Cooper and Dowell’s wages to collect the attorney’s fees and costs. In response, the landowners filed a motion with the Arkansas Supreme Court arguing that saddling them with the city’s attorney’s fees and barring them from further pleadings was an abuse of the court’s discretion and in excess of its jurisdiction. On March 14, the Supreme Court ordered a halt to proceedings in the case, including garnishment.

The Supreme Court agreed, and on Oct. 3 issued an opinion directing the Circuit Court to rescind the order in its entirety. A prohibition from further filings may be appropriately ordered by a court to curb “a pattern of groundless and vexatious litigation,” but the Supreme Court found nothing in the record of this case “to support or provide any basis for the circuit court’s prohibition of filing additional pleadings, and the limitation infringes upon Cooper and Dowell’s access to the courts.”

Foster said on Wednesday that he drafted and entered a new order earlier this week striking the previous one “as though that one was never entered.”

A Supreme Court decision is also pending as to whether attorneys Gary Jiles and Matthew Brown, who represent the city and Conway Corporation in this case, violated the Supreme Court’s order to cease garnishment. Both denied the claim before the Supreme Court in September and have requested a hearing.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached by email at joe.lamb@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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Ann Duke
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Ann Duke 10/17/13 - 08:21 am
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Yeah

Yeah, Faulkner County corruption pop's its head up once more.

GetALife
188
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GetALife 10/17/13 - 12:58 pm
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Yeap

And it's our tax dollars defending those crooked politicians! They are no better than the POS politicians in DC ! They all need to be fired - Tab Should be first on the list., after scamming us taxpayers for the outrageous Christmas tree over. $100k. They have all forgotten that they work for US !

concerned citizen 2
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concerned citizen 2 10/17/13 - 01:42 pm
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faulkner county corruption

It would seem the Supreme Court does not have a good understanding how we do things here in the 20th Judicial District.
If anyone can instruct them on proper corruption in politics, Mr Foster can

libertas2u
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libertas2u 10/18/13 - 10:33 pm
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Don't Stop here

Mr. Lamb at least Judge Maggio and Judge Foster did not send children into the arms of their abuser this time...when is someone going to investigate their actions in Faulkner County case no. 23DR-07-57 that took five years to get to court, all anyone needs to do is to get the transcript, what happened in this case is beyond any parent or child's worst nightmare.

conwaygerl
5518
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conwaygerl 10/21/13 - 10:29 am
1
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Wow

Sounds like a lot of false accusations in that case, to the point of lost custody.

Sad situation for the kids. I hope for peace for the kid's sake.

libertas2u
56
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libertas2u 10/22/13 - 08:11 am
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Investigate

Conway Girl...false accusations? Five days worth of testimony said otherwise, go to Court Connect and read, it's public record.

InsGuru
5097
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InsGuru 10/22/13 - 09:16 am
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She prefers

to get her info from the LCD's booked and police beat versus a first hand source.

conwaygerl
5518
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conwaygerl 10/23/13 - 08:51 am
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I read it

One party was told that another false accusation would result in lost custody.

And it happened. What am I missing? What is the document name that you want me to read? I literally looked at every order that was available.

Tell me the date of the document and I will be happy to read it again.

libertas2u
56
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libertas2u 10/23/13 - 09:14 pm
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Your identity is showing....

Conway girl...if you read every word then you are either part of the coverup or a member of the family at the center to make that remark. Which are you? Many people know of this case and are outraged especially the experts, it's all in the transcript and that bell cannot be un-rung.

conwaygerl
5518
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conwaygerl 10/24/13 - 08:43 am
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ah

The transcripts are not public record. So, I can't see the portions you are talking about. I would have no idea of the case if you hadn't posted the case number on here.

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