Shelby County Health Care Corporation v. Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company et al
ORDER denying 79 Motion for Attorney Fees; denying 81 Motion for Attorney Fees. The previous orders awarding Defendants attorneys' fees and costs, 40 & 63 , are vacated. Signed by Judge Billy Roy Wilson on 11/12/2015. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
SHELBY COUNTY HEALTH CARE
CORPORATION d/b/a Regional Medical Center
SOUTHERN FARM BUREAU
CASUALTY INSURANCE CO., et al.
Pending are Defendants’ Motions for Attorney’s Fees and Costs (Doc. Nos. 79, 81). Plaintiff
has responded.1 For the reasons set out below, the motions are DENIED.
The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a 2014 order granting summary judgment
for Defendants because I incorrectly determined that Plaintiff’s claims were for lien enforcement, rather
than lien impairment. After remand, I reviewed the case as one for lien impairment and granted
summary judgment for Defendants.
Defendants cite two Arkansas statutes in support of their request for attorneys’ fees. Neither
statute applies to this case. The first statute relates to recovery on “an open account, statement of
account, account stated, bill, negotiable instrument, or contract relating to the purchase or sale of good,
wares, or merchandise, or for labor or service, or beach of contract . . . .”2 The second statute involves
Doc. Nos. 83, 84.
Ark. Code Ann. § 16-22-308.
fees and costs “incurred in enforcing [a hospital] lien.”3 In their motions, Defendants also incorrectly refer
to this case as “a lawsuit to collect a medical lien . . . .”4
Again, this is a case “for damages for impairment of [a] hospital lien, a statutory cause of action
created by the Tennessee HLA,” not a lien-enforcement case.5 A lien-impairment claim is grounded in
tort law, because it is an attempt to recover damages from Defendants after they allegedly impaired
Plaintiff’s lien.6 Arkansas does not permit the recovery of attorneys’ fees for tort claims.7
Additionally, Arkansas does not have a lien-impairment law and the Tennessee law does not
allow for recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs in lien-impairment actions.8
Based on the findings of fact and conclusions of law above, the motions for attorneys’ fees and
costs are DENIED. The previous orders awarding Defendants attorneys’ fees and costs (Doc. Nos.
40, 63) are VACATED.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 12th day of November, 2015.
/s/ Billy Roy Wilson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ark. Code Ann. § 18-46-104 (emphasis added).
Doc. Nos. 80, 82.
Doc. No. 73.
See State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. v. Shelby County Health Care Corp., No.
3:10CV00169-JMM, 2011 WL 5508854, at *2 (E.D. Ark. Nov. 10, 2011) (applying the “tort
choice-of-law rules” to a lien impairment case).
FMC Corp., Inc. v. Helton, 202 S.W.3d 490, 507 (Ark. 2005).
Shelby Cnty. Health Care Corp. v. Baumgartner, No. W200801771COAR3CV, 2011
WL 303249, at *18-19 (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 26, 2011)
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