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Duvall v. Laws, Swain, & Murdoch, P.A.

32 Ark.App. 99 (1990)

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Duvall v. Laws, Swain, & Murdoch, P.A.

Arkansas Court of Appeals

32 Ark.App. 99 (1990)

Facts

Fred Duvall (plaintiff) asked attorney Ike Allen Laws (defendant) to represent him on a charge of theft. Laws required a fee of $5,000. Duvall paid $2,498 but was unable to raise the balance. As payment for the balance of the fee, Duvall and his wife executed a deed conveying certain mineral rights to Laws’s firm. Laws sent Duvall a letter stating that Duvall could repurchase the mineral rights by paying the fee balance within one year. There was evidence showing that Duvall never made any attempt to pay the balance and that the mineral rights were essentially without market value at the time of the conveyance. Several years later, Laws leased the mineral rights for $12,740. Duvall subsequently sued Laws, alleging that the conveyance of the deed was an equitable mortgage. The trial court held that the conveyance was a deed with an option to repurchase, not an equitable mortgage. The court also awarded Duvall judgment for $2,498. Duvall appealed from the first holding, and Laws appealed from the second.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jennings, J.)

Dissent (Wright, C.J.)

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