Universal Cooperatives, Inc., et al v. AAC Flying Service, Inc., et al, No. 12-1970 (8th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Universal successfully defended a lawsuit brought by a group of cotton farmers in Arkansas state court for damages arising from off-target aerial application of the herbicide known as 2,4-D Amine. Universal then sued several aerial herbicide applicators (collectively, Crop Dusters) who were not parties to the cotton farmers' litigation, seeking to recover its attorney's fees incurred during the cotton farmers' litigation. Because the Crop Dusters owed no duty to Universal, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of Universal's negligence claim. The court affirmed the dismissal of Universal's Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA), Ark. Code Ann. 4-88-107(a), claim where the alleged conduct failed to fit within the scope of the unconscionable trade practices prohibited by the ADTPA. Because the Arkansas Supreme Court most recently has rejected any cause of action against a third party for attorney's fees incurred in earlier litigation against another party, and in this case there was no duty running from the third party to the plaintiff that would support such a cause of action in any event, the court affirmed the dismissal of Universal's claims based on the third-party-litigation exception to the American Rule and Restatement (Second) of Torts section 914(2). Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of Universal's complaint for failure to state a claim.