Mahan et al v. Chesapeake Operating Inc et al
LETTER/ORDER to counsel regarding the necessity of more information before ruling on 40 Joint Motion. Signed by Judge J. Leon Holmes on 3/12/2014. (jak)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
RICHARD SHEPPARD ARNOLD UNITED STATES COURTHOUSE
500 WEST CAPITOL AVENUE, SUITE D-469
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS 72201-3325
J. LEON HOLMES
FAX: (501) 604-5389
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
March 12, 2014
Scott E. Poynter
Corey Darnell McGaha
John G. Emerson, Jr.
William Thomas Crowder
EMERSON POYNTER LLP
Lyn Peeples Pruitt
Adria W. Conklin
Anton Leo Janik, Jr.
MITCHELL, WILLIAMS, SELIG, GATES &
James Clark Wyly
Sean Fletcher Rommel
Michelle P. Cullen
CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORPORATION
David D. Wilson
FRIDAY, ELDREDGE & CLARK, LLP
No. 4:13CV00184, Mahan, et al. v. Chesapeake Operating, Inc.;
and BHP Billiton Petroleum (Fayetteville), LLC
I have reviewed the joint motion for appointment of Sandra Greene as Special Administrator
of the Estate of Roger Greene, Deceased, and for substitution of Sandra Greene, Special
Administrator, as the proper party in this civil action in place of Roger Greene, Deceased. I note that
in seeking appointment of Sandra Greene as Special Administrator of the Estate of Roger Greene,
you cite Fed. R. Civ. P. 25 and Ark. R. Civ. P. 25(a)(3). The Arkansas rule provides that the Court
may appoint a special administrator; the federal rule says nothing about the Court having the authority
to appoint a special administrator. The Court is obligated to follow the federal rules with respect to
procedures, not the state rules. In re Baycol Products Litigation, 616 F.3d 778, 785 (8th Cir. 2010).
In that same opinion, the Eighth Circuit stated:
[A] person may be a “successor” under Rule 25(a)(1) if she is (1) the primary
beneficiary of an already distributed estate; (2) named in a will as the executor of the
decedent’s estate, even if the will is not probated; or (3) the primary beneficiary of an
unprobated intestate estate which need not be probated.
Id. at 784-85 (citations omitted). Based on the very limited information contained in the joint motion,
I cannot tell whether Sandra Greene is a “successor” under Rule 25(a)(1) or under any of these three
alternatives articulated by the Eighth Circuit. Of course, if Sandra Greene is appointed as executrix
of the Estate of Roger Greene, then she would be a proper party for substitution. Gronowicz v.
Leonard, 109 F.3d 624, 626 (S.D.N.Y. 1986).
I will need more information before I can rule on the joint motion. Please review the Baycol
case and the Gronowicz case, or any other authority that you think is helpful, and provide the
information that I need in order to make a correct decision on the motion for substitution under
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