Business of Law

Ark. AG Can't Sue Law Firm Under Deceptive Trade Practices Statute, State's Top Court Rules

Reversing a lower court ruling that imposed penalties on an out-of-state law firm for collecting fees on dishonored checks in excess of what is allowed under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the state’s top court has ruled that its attorney general has no jurisdiction to pursue such a case against a law firm.

Although the Pulaski County Circuit Court had ruled that the ADTPA provided the exclusive remedy for making Bennett & DeLoney whole for clients’ bad checks, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled March 15 that the statute is inapplicable to the Utah law firm’s operations, Legal Newsline reports.

“Here, Bennett & DeLoney was a law firm that was practicing law, while engaged in the practice of debt collecting. Neither Bennett & DeLoney, nor Bennett or DeLoney, dispute the fact that they were practicing law; to the contrary, they concede that they were and the state does not contest their concession,” explained the court in its written opinion.

“Because the firm and its attorneys were attorneys engaged in the practice of law at the time of the alleged acts, the ADTPA had no applicability to their actions.”

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