Vacated Order Renders Interlocutory Appeal Moot

Elder Law Answers case summary.The Supreme Court of Arkansas dismisses an interlocutory appeal of the county court’s class certification order because it granted a writ of certiorari that vacated the order. In Reliance Health Care, Inc. v. Mitchell (Ark. No. CV-23-95, Nov 16, 2023).

This class action involved allegations of understaffed nursing homes. Residents of 14 nursing homes and the estates of deceased residents comprise the class.

The nursing homes moved to compel arbitration for all but two of the plaintiffs. Then, the residents and estates filed a motion for class certification. The facilities argued that the court should stay the lawsuit until it resolved the motions to compel arbitration.

The circuit court had hearings for the arbitration and class certification issues. Without ruling on arbitration, it certified the class, and the nursing homes brought an interlocutory appeal of the class certification order. Shortly after, they petitioned for a writ of prohibition, mandamus, and certiorari.

The nursing homes cited Arkansas Code § 16-108-207, which provides that the court must stay the proceedings until it resolves a motion to compel arbitration.

When the Supreme Court granted the writ of certiorari, it vacated the class certification order and required the circuit court to decide arbitration before class certification. Since the Supreme Court vacated the order certifying the class, the interlocutory appeal of that order is moot. After the circuit court resolves the arbitration question, it can address class certification.

Read the full opinion.