The Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday said Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis was correct when she dismissed the claims of a Pine Bluff man who had a judgment entered against him in another state.
Clifford Flowers had contended that the judgment could not be enforced against him personally because he was never served or named as a defendant in a lawsuit that led to the judgment.
Flowers is a registered pharmacist and the owner of Flowers’ Pharmacy in Pine Bluff.
According to the court decision, in August 2005 Flowers signed a contract with Amerisourcebergen Drug Corp. to supply his pharmacy with drugs on a wholesale basis. On the contract, Flowers identified the legal name of the applicant as Flowers Pharmacy and filled in his name and address in the blank for ownership. He also signed the contract “Clifford Flowers, owner.”
Later there was a dispute between Flowers and Amerisource about payments due on the contract, and the company filed suit against Flowers, doing business as Flowers Pharmacy, in the district court in Denton, Texas.
Flowers was served with the complaint but did not file an answer, and the Texas court entered a default judgment against Clifford Flowers, doing business as Flowers Pharmacy, on Dec. 21, 2006.
In 2007 Amerisource filed an application to have the judgment registered in Jefferson County Circuit Court, and in his answer to the application, Flowers admitted he did not appeal the Texas judgment, had signed a contract with Amerisource and had identified himself as the owner of Flowers Pharmacy.
After a hearing on the matter in December 2007, Dennis entered an order registering the judgment and filed it with the Jefferson County Circuit Clerk’s Office. A writ instructing the sheriff to enforce the judgment against Flowers was issued Jan. 14, 2008.
Flowers filed a motion asking Dennis to vacate the judgment, and after another hearing on Oct. 1, 2009, the court denied that request.
On Jan. 29, 2010, Flowers filed a petition to quiet title in Jefferson County Circuit Court in a different division and in front of a different judge. That petition asked for quiet title to 43 parcels of real property that were subject to the default judgment. In April Amerisource filed paperwork asking that the case be transferred to Dennis’ division of the court, to dismiss the complaint and for attorney fees.
On Nov. 5, 2010, Dennis denied Flowers’ request for quiet title and dismissed the case. Flowers appealed that decision to the state Court of Appeals.
The ruling by Appeals Court Judge Waymond Brown said Flowers was presenting arguments that had already been rejected by Dennis and he was attempting to re-litigate those same issues in the quiet title action.
Brown said that because the Texas judgment against Flowers had been property registered, the appeals court could not say that Dennis was wrong when she denied Flowers request for quiet title.