Craig v. Traylor, No. 95-789

CourtSupreme Court of Arkansas
Writing for the CourtCORBIN; BROWN; BROWN
Citation915 S.W.2d 257,323 Ark. 363
PartiesRobert CRAIG, Appellant, v. Mike TRAYLOR, Appellee.
Decision Date12 February 1996
Docket NumberNo. 95-789

Page 257

915 S.W.2d 257
323 Ark. 363
Robert CRAIG, Appellant,
v.
Mike TRAYLOR, Appellee.
No. 95-789.
Supreme Court of Arkansas.
Feb. 12, 1996.

David J. Stills, Fayetteville, for Appellant.

Tim E. Howell, Fayetteville, for Appellee.

Page 258

CORBIN, Justice.

Appellant, Robert Craig, appeals the order of the Washington County Circuit Court granting summary judgment to appellee, Mike Traylor, on appellant's complaint for negligence. This appeal presents questions about the law of torts. Our jurisdiction is pursuant to Ark.Sup.Ct.R. 1-2(a)(16).

While employed by appellee, appellant injured his hand in a chain-and-sprocket mechanism of a fertilizer spreader owned by appellee. Appellant filed suit against appellee and the manufacturer of the spreader. The trial court entered an order granting summary judgment to appellee. That order is the sole subject of this appeal. Appellant's remaining claims against the manufacturer were tried to a jury that found in favor of appellant. The manufacturer has appealed the judgment entered pursuant to the jury verdict but is not a party to this appeal.

[323 Ark. 366] For reversal of the summary judgment, appellant contends there are disputed questions of fact. Prior to addressing these arguments, we consider two jurisdictional arguments raised by appellee. First, we address appellee's claim that appellant's notice of appeal was untimely because a timely notice of appeal is essential to this court's jurisdiction. Binns v. Heck, 322 Ark. 277, 908 S.W.2d 328 (1995); LaRue v. LaRue, 268 Ark. 86, 593 S.W.2d 185 (1980) (per curiam). Second, we address appellee's claim that the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to determine whether appellee was required to provide workers' compensation coverage to appellant. When the trial court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the appellate court also lacks jurisdiction. Priest v. Polk, 322 Ark. 673, 912 S.W.2d 902 (1995).

NOTICE OF APPEAL

On May 5, 1995, following the entry of the final judgment pursuant to the jury's verdict, appellant filed a notice of appeal from the order entered April 21, 1995, that granted summary judgment to appellee. Appellee contends this notice of appeal was ineffective pursuant to Ark.R.App.P.Civ. 4(c) (1996) because it was filed prior to the filing and denial of the manufacturer's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Rule 4(c) clearly provides that when any party files a specified post-trial motion, the time for appeal for all parties runs from the entry of the order disposing of the motion or from the deemed-denied date. Thus, according to Rule 4(c), it may well be that because appellant's notice of appeal was filed prior to the disposition of the post-trial motion, it had no effect, and that appellant was required to file a new notice of appeal within thirty days of the trial court's disposition of the motion or the deemed-denied date. However, we cannot determine if that is the situation here because the manufacturer's post-trial motion and the trial court's order, if any, disposing thereof are not included as part of the record in this case. This court does not consider matters outside the record. Widmer v. Widmer, 288 Ark. 381, 705 S.W.2d 878 (1986). On the record before us appellant's notice of appeal was filed within thirty days of the final judgment and was therefore timely.

[323 Ark. 367] APPLICABILITY OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW

Should we decide the trial court erred in granting summary judgment, appellee requests that we provide guidance to the trial court on the matter of its "jurisdiction" to determine the applicability of the Workers' Compensation Law, Ark.Code Ann. §§ 11-9-101 to -1001 (1987 and Supp.1995), and the agricultural farm labor exception to the definition of "employment" in section 11-9-102(12)(A)(iii).

In his second amended and substituted complaint, appellant alleged appellee "was engaged in the business of selling, delivering and spreading fertilizers and manure in agriculture in Washington County, Arkansas." Appellant also alleged that he was hired by appellee to operate certain spreaders used in appellee's business and that appellee was an "employer" as that term is defined by the Workers' Compensation Law and was therefore bound to provide compensation coverage to appellant. Appellant alleged further that appellee failed to provide such coverage.

Appellee denied that he was required to provide workers' compensation coverage to appellant and moved to strike as impertinent

Page 259

and immaterial the portions of appellant's complaint alleging to the contrary. Alternatively, appellee moved that appellant be required to elect between the remedies of filing a claim for worker's compensation with the Worker's Compensation Commission or pursuing a cause of action for tort in circuit court. The trial court denied both motions, and after a hearing on the question of whether it had jurisdiction to determine the application of the Workers' Compensation Law to this case, entered an order concluding its jurisdiction of the coverage question was concurrent.

Appellee contends the Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to determine the applicability of the Workers' Compensation Law and cites two sources of secondary authority addressing the question of whether the courts or the agency should determine the applicability of worker's compensation laws to a given case. Daniel Keating, Employee Injury Cases: Should Courts or Boards Decide Whether Workers' Compensation Laws Apply?, 53 U.Chi.L.Rev. 258 (1986); 2A Arthur Larson, The Law of Workmen's Compensation § 67.60 (1995). Appellant does not respond to this argument. While both sources cited by appellee [323 Ark. 368] suggest that exclusive jurisdiction in the agency is superior to concurrent jurisdiction in the courts and agency, our cases suggest to the contrary. See, e.g., Lively v. Libbey Memorial Physical Medical Ctr., Inc., 317 Ark. 5, 875 S.W.2d 507 (1994) (indicating that either the Workers' Compensation Commission or the circuit court must determine the applicability of the Workers' Compensation Law prior to the circuit court's granting of summary judgment). Therefore, we conclude the trial court did not err in holding that it had concurrent jurisdiction to determine the applicability of the Workers' Compensation Law.

We observe, however, that although the trial court ruled it had concurrent jurisdiction to determine the applicability of the Workers'...

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28 practice notes
  • Union Pacific R. Co. v. Sharp, No. 96-1096
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • October 9, 1997
    ...intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred." Ouachita, supra; Craig v. Traylor, 323 Ark. 363, 915 S.W.2d 257 (1996). Proximate causation is usually an issue for the jury to decide, and when there is evidence to establish a causal connection ......
  • Martin v. Arthur, No. 99-302.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • November 11, 1999
    ...dispute. Hence, this court will not consider the matter, as the issue has been waived for purposes of appeal. See Craig v. Traylor, 323 Ark. 363, 915 S.W.2d 257 (1996); Brumley v. Naples, 320 Ark. 310, 896 S.W.2d 860 (1995); Oglesby v. Baptist Med. Sys., 319 Ark. 280, 891 S.W.2d 48 Affirmed......
  • VanWagoner v. Beverly Enterprises, No. 97-1355
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • July 2, 1998
    ...have concurrent jurisdiction to determine the applicability of workers' compensation laws to a given case. See, e.g. Craig v. Traylor, 323 Ark. 363, 915 S.W.2d 257 (1996); Lively v. Libbey Memorial Physical Medical Ctr., Inc., 317 Ark. 5, 875 S.W.2d 507 (1994). This approach, however, is fr......
  • Ouachita Wilderness Institute, Inc. v. Mergen, No. 97-354
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • July 14, 1997
    ...statute, there must be a determination of proximate cause before any fault can be assessed against a claiming party. Craig v. Traylor, 323 Ark. 363, 915 S.W.2d 257 (1996). Proximate cause becomes a question of law only if reasonable minds could not differ. Id. Proximate cause is defined as ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • Union Pacific R. Co. v. Sharp, No. 96-1096
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • October 9, 1997
    ...intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred." Ouachita, supra; Craig v. Traylor, 323 Ark. 363, 915 S.W.2d 257 (1996). Proximate causation is usually an issue for the jury to decide, and when there is evidence to establish a causal connection ......
  • Martin v. Arthur, No. 99-302.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • November 11, 1999
    ...dispute. Hence, this court will not consider the matter, as the issue has been waived for purposes of appeal. See Craig v. Traylor, 323 Ark. 363, 915 S.W.2d 257 (1996); Brumley v. Naples, 320 Ark. 310, 896 S.W.2d 860 (1995); Oglesby v. Baptist Med. Sys., 319 Ark. 280, 891 S.W.2d 48 Affirmed......
  • VanWagoner v. Beverly Enterprises, No. 97-1355
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • July 2, 1998
    ...have concurrent jurisdiction to determine the applicability of workers' compensation laws to a given case. See, e.g. Craig v. Traylor, 323 Ark. 363, 915 S.W.2d 257 (1996); Lively v. Libbey Memorial Physical Medical Ctr., Inc., 317 Ark. 5, 875 S.W.2d 507 (1994). This approach, however, is fr......
  • Ouachita Wilderness Institute, Inc. v. Mergen, No. 97-354
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • July 14, 1997
    ...statute, there must be a determination of proximate cause before any fault can be assessed against a claiming party. Craig v. Traylor, 323 Ark. 363, 915 S.W.2d 257 (1996). Proximate cause becomes a question of law only if reasonable minds could not differ. Id. Proximate cause is defined as ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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