FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Just two days before a scheduled settlement conference ordered by the court, Judge Timothy L. Brooks has dismissed the invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by four Duggar sisters.
In a ruling from the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court, the judge ordered the case “dismissed with prejudice.”
In an attached memo, the judge explained that the defendants had filed two motions for summary judgment on October 6, 2021, and both of those motions were granted.
Judge Brooks cited Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, noting that “the court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
He continued by stating the legal standard that must be met in such a case, and said that “the Court finds that Plaintiffs have not presented any direct proof or reasonable interference…and for this reason, the entire claim must be dismissed.”
Although profoundly wrong about the law, Defendants were motivated by a belief that they were legally obligated to release these reports, and to do so quickly. By the time Chief O’Kelley from Springdale and Major Hoyt from Washington County discovered the existence of the FOIA requests, the three-day response deadline had already passed. Chief O’Kelley testified she was ’embarrassed’ that her department had missed the request and deadline, and Major Hoyt testified that his first glimpse at the request revealed ‘we were over our limit of time.’ It is undisputed that Defendants’ actions were motivated by fear of possible legal consequences for a missed deadline. In other words, they worried exclusively about compliance with one part of the FOIA and failed to investigate the other parts (and other relevant state law).
Judge Timothy L. Brooks in his dismissal of the Duggar sisters’ lawsuit
He continued, adding that “because there is no evidence on which a jury could rely to show that Defendants believed that disclosing the reports would be illegal, this claim is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.”
He also noted that “despite the fact that Plaintiffs have met their evidentiary burden to survive summary judgment, this claim is, nonetheless, subject to dismissal due to Defendants’ statutory immunity,” adding that “the Court is skeptical that a state actor could intend to inflict emotional distress and at the same time believe he was complying with the law—regardless of how his resulting professional negligence might affect others.”
The February 9 ruling came down just hours after it was announced that the settlement conference set for February 10 had been canceled. No reason for the cancelation was provided at the time, and there was no mention of the conference in the filing dismissing the lawsuit. There was also no explanation of the duration of time between the filings for summary judgment and today’s ruling.
The parties had been ordered to attend a Settlement Conference with Judge Comstock by no later than February 18, 2022. She was set to preside over the February 10 conference.
The original lawsuit was filed on May 18, 2017, alleging a number of legal causes of action against a host of defendants. The legal claims had been narrowed down, as had the pool of defendants.
The claims, made against remaining defendants Maj. Rick Hoyt of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Ernest Cate, Springdale city attorney and former Police Chief Kathy O’Kelley were made under Arkansas law for outrage, invasion of privacy by intrusion upon seclusion and invasion of privacy by public disclosure of private facts, according to a court filing.
Judge Brooks specifically addressed each of those allegations in the court document.
The plaintiffs, as named in the lawsuit, were Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo and Joy Duggar.
The first trial date in December, 2021, was postponed because it conflicted with the child pornography trial of the sisters’ brother, Joshua Duggar. He was found guilty on two counts and is facing up to 20 years in prison and $250K in fines for each count.
Original Source: fox16.com
I-30 Construction Seeing Lane Closures Begin Tuesday in LR and North Little Rock
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Commuters will see new lane closures in Little Rock and North Little Rock that will begin Tuesday.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation says that during the Memorial Day holiday there are no short-term closures scheduled until Tuesday.
Daytime closures (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
I-30 frontage roads (single-lane closures) between 6th and 10th streets in Little Rock (6:30 a.m. start time)Broadway Street eastbound (single-lane closure) between the frontage roads in North Little Rock2nd Street westbound (single-lane closure) between Cumberland and Scott streets in Little Rock3rd Street eastbound at Rock Street (corners of intersection closed) in Little Rock
Overnight closures (8 p.m. – 5 a.m.)
I-30 (single- and double-lane closures) between Roosevelt Road in Little Rock and Bishop Lindsey Avenue in North Little RockI-30/I-40 ramps and lanes (single-lane closures) at the north terminal in North Little RockI-630 eastbound ramp to I-30 eastbound (full closure) in Little Rock; ramp detour signed to exit to the northbound frontage roadI-30 frontage road (single-lane closure) between 6th and 10th streets in Little RockBroadway Street (full closure) between the frontage roads in North Little Rock; detours will be signed to use Bishop Lindsey and Riverfront Drive; Thursday night, June 2 onlyBroadway Street eastbound (single-lane closure) between the frontage roads in North Little Rock
President Clinton Avenue (full closure) between Mahlon Martin and Sherman streets in Little Rock; detour signed to use 3rd StreetMahlon Martin (full closure) between President Clinton Avenue and 3rd Street in Little Rock; detours signed6th Street bridge (full closure) for reconstruction in Little Rock; detours signed to use the 9th Street bridge or 3rd Street
ARDOT also says that Double-lane closures on interstate lanes will generally be limited from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
ARDOT officials are asking that drivers use caution as they approach and drive through all work zones.
For more details on the I-30 construction project, check out the Connecting Arkansas Program online.
Original Post: fox16.com
New Study Finds Public Health Messaging Could Benefit From an ‘autonomy-supportive’ Approach
Novel research led by psychologists from Durham University, UK and Illinois Institute of Technology, U.S., along with the collaborative network of researchers around the world (under the consortium name “Psychological Science Accelerator Self-Determination Theory Collaboration”) have discovered that public health communication is highly effective when an “autonomy-supportive” approach is undertaken compared to controlling message approach.
Original Source: medicalxpress.com
COVID-19 in Arkansas: Active Cases Continue Slight Uptick
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Active cases due to COVID-19 in Arkansas are continuing to see a slight uptick on Friday.
The Arkansas Department of Health reported 3,763 active cases of the virus, an increase of 136 from the previous day. There were 391 new cases reported in the latest data, raising the total cases for the state during the pandemic to 842,439.
The ADH data showed patients hospitalized with the virus remained at 70. There were 3 patients on ventilators, one more than the previous day, and 13 in ICU care, up three from Thursday.
There were three additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 Friday, pushing the Arkansas total to 11,471 since the pandemic began.
In the last 24 hours, 1,607 new COVID-19 vaccine doses were given out in Arkansas. Currently, 1,595,415 Arkansans are fully vaccinated, with another 376,410 residents being partially vaccinated.
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