Rutledge Files Suit Against Arkansas Funeral CareThu, Jan 7, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a consumer-protection lawsuit today against Jacksonville-based Arkansas Funeral Care (AFC) because the business did not provide various funeral-care services in a timely, professional and respectful manner, and in some cases did not provide the expected service at all.
“Anytime Arkansans enter into a contract with a business, they expect all agreed-upon services to be performed timely and ethically,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult periods in anyone’s life, and a funeral provider has an obligation to make this time easier. Unfortunately, Arkansas Funeral Care violated the trust of Arkansas families and they must be held accountable for their disgusting actions.”
The complaint states that Arkansans entered into written contracts for chosen funeral goods and services with AFC based on advertised representations on their website, as well as other oral representations made during the sales process. The contracts detailed the costs of the funeral goods and services to be rendered at the time of need.
The Attorney General’s office has received formal complaints from effected families in which AFC did not perform various agreed-upon funeral-care services, including: failure to provide cremation services, nauseating odor of bodies that were left unrefrigerated without being embalmed, failure to provide adequate staff to transport bodies and untimely receipt of death certificates.
Arkansans reported delays in embalming that caused extreme levels of decomposition to the bodies, resulting in some not having the ability to hold an open-casket service and one person reported that the cremation of her husband, a veteran, was delayed over three weeks and was not available for his memorial service.
Rutledge is asking the court to impose civil penalties, restitution for the affected consumers, attorneys’ fees, costs and other relief against AFC.
The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court.
Rutledge Urges Court to Protect Marine’s Religious ExpressionThu, Jan 7, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined with nine States to file an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces asking to correct a misinterpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) by the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.
“Our country guarantees the right of religious freedom to all citizens, including those who wear the nation’s uniform,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Congress established the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to protect religious liberty, but a ruling from the Court of Criminal Appeals incorrectly narrows the circumstances in which the act’s safeguards would apply. Along with my colleagues, I hope the Court of Appeals will swiftly recognize that a Marine’s decision to post biblical verses around her workspace is precisely the type of religious activity RFRA was intended to protect.”
On Oct. 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces granted review in United States v. Sterling, the court martial of Marine Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling, whose workplace allowed other service members to have personal items in their workspaces but punished her for posting Biblical verses at her desk. The lower courts ruled that RFRA did not apply because posting a Bible verse does not constitute “religious exercise” protected by that law.
Oklahoma and Nevada are leading the effort and along with Arkansas are joined by Arizona, Georgia, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia to ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to reverse the misinterpretation of RFRA by recognizing that the challenged conduct is an exercise of religion under the law.
In the brief, the attorneys general said, “‘Exercise of religion’ includes any practice that is at least in part motivated by religion or engaged in for religious reasons. Even under the First Amendment, a practice is protected as religious exercise so long as it is ‘rooted in religion’ and not ‘purely secular.’”
Rutledge Announces Mobile Office Locations for JanuaryWed, Jan 6, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for January.
Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. In October, the initiative celebrated the milestone of holding office hours in all 75 counties, marking the first time that the Attorney General’s office has held office hours in each county across the State. With the arrival of the new year, the office will once again travel to all 75 counties to assist Arkansans.
The mobile offices assist constituents with consumer-related issues in filing consumer complaints and providing information about scams, identity theft, fraud and other protections. Attorney General Rutledge believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.
The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:
Monday, Jan. 11
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Faulkner County Senior Wellness and Activity Center
705 E. Siebenmorgen Road
Conway, AR 72032
Tuesday, Jan. 12
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Betty Fort Senior Center
1 Newberry Drive
Lonoke, AR 72086
Thursday, Jan. 14
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Lightle Senior Center
2200 E. Moore Ave.
Searcy, AR 72143
Thursday, Jan. 21
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
James “Jitters” Morgan White Hall Community Center
9801 Dollarway Road
White Hall, AR 71602
Monday, Jan 25
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Pocahontas Senior Wellness Center
1505 Airport Road
Pocahontas, AR 72455
Tuesday, Jan. 26
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Walnut Ridge Senior Wellness Center
504 SE Southern Ave.
Walnut Ridge, AR 72467
Thursday, Jan. 28
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Central Arkansas Development Council Benton Senior Wellness and Activity Center
210 Jefferson Street
Benton, AR 72015
Rutledge Statement on the President’s Action to Implement Gun Control through Executive OrderTue, Jan 5, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after President Barack Obama announced executive actions to restrict gun rights of law-abiding Americans.
“Enhancing public safety and reducing the impact of gun violence on our communities must be a top priority, but the President is once again attempting to side-step the legislative branch, this time to restrict gun rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am extremely concerned at the President’s executive actions. As Arkansas Attorney General, I have a duty to protect Arkansans and to make sure our fundamental, Constitutional rights are not violated.”
Rutledge Statement on the Passing of Former Senator Dale BumpersSat, Jan 2, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement after learning of the passing of former Senator Dale Bumpers:
“Dale Bumpers served the people of Arkansas for years with dedication and distinction. From his time as Governor and Senator, he never lost his passion and commitment to take care of Arkansans and to move our State forward. Sen. Bumpers' thoughtfulness and servant heart will be missed. I extend my heartfelt prayers to his family.”
Rutledge Reaches Settlement with Texarkana Pawn ShopWed, Dec 30, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Tri-State Pawn of Texarkana Inc. have reached a settlement to resolve allegations that consumers were charged excessive interest rates on title loans, a violation of Arkansas law.
“Predatory lending practices consistently rank among the top 10 complaints made by Arkansans to the Attorney General’s office,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “More often than not, these unfair loans only push consumers further into debt. This pawn shop is being held accountable, and I will continue to investigate and go after those who exploit Arkansans.”
The consent judgment, which was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, prohibits Tri-State Pawn from charging or collecting from consumers on auto pawns or title loans and all outstanding auto pawns or title loans entered into by the pawn shop with Arkansans are voided. $8,697 will be paid to the Attorney General’s office to be distributed to those consumers affected by the pawn shop’s unlawful actions. Tri-State will also pay $108,000 to the Attorney General’s office to be deposited into the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund.
The complaint filed in 2013 stated that Tri-State Pawn in one instance seized the vehicle of a borrower prior to the due date of the borrower’s payment, in addition to charging unlawful interest, equivalent to a 240 percent annual rate.
An auto-title loan, known as a title pawn, is a short-term, high-interest loan in which the borrower provides the lender with the title and a key to his or her vehicle as collateral for the loan, but the borrower retains possession of the vehicle.