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AMI 3101 Issues—Arkansas whistle-blower act

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil AMI 3101
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
December 2023 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 31. Employment
AMI 3101 Issues—Arkansas whistle-blower act
(Plaintiff) claims damages from (defendant) and has the burden of proving each of the following five propositions:
First, that [he][she] sustained damages;
Second, that [he][she] was a public employee;
Third, that (defendant) took an adverse action against (plaintiff);
Fourth, that (defendant) took the adverse action because:
a. [(plaintiff) (a person authorized to act on (plaintiff's) behalf) communicated in good faith to an appropriate authority by a verbal or written report:
i. [the existence of waste of public funds, property, or manpower administered or controlled by a public employer] [or] [a violation or suspected violation of a law, rule, or regulation adopted under the law of [(state)] [(political subdivision)]; and
ii. that the communication was made at a time and in a manner which gave the public employer reasonable notice of need to correct the waste or violation.] [or]
[b. (plaintiff) participated or gave information in an investigation, hearing, court proceeding, legislative or other inquiry, or in any form of administrative review.] [or]
[c. (plaintiff) objected to or refused to carry out a directive that [he][she] reasonably believed violates a law or a rule or regulation adopted under the authority of [(state)] [(political subdivision)]; and]
Fifth, that the adverse action was the proximate cause of (plaintiff's) damages.
In the fourth element, use the appropriate alternative(s) as presented by the evidence.
Use the appropriate definition from this chapter if there is a fact issue with respect to “adverse action” (AMI 3102), “good faith” (AMI 3103), or “waste” (AMI 3104).
If appropriate for submission to the jury in a particular case, an additional instruction may be prepared based upon the statutory definitions for “public employee” (Ark. Code Ann. § 21–1–602(4)), “appropriate authority” (Ark. Code Ann. § 21-1-602(2)), “communicate” (Ark. Code Ann. § 21-1-602(3)), or “violation” (Ark. Code Ann. § 21-1-602(6)).
It is anticipated that the court will determine as a matter of law the existence of a “public employer,” since that statutory term includes a list of specific entities in Ark. Code Ann. § 21-1-602(5).
This instruction is based on Ark. Code Ann. §§ 21-1-602, 603, and 604(c), and Crawford County v. Jones, 365 Ark. 585, 232 S.W.3d 433 (2006).
“Public employee” is defined at Ark. Code Ann. § 21-1-602(4) as “a person who performs a full or part-time service for wages, salary, or other remuneration for a public employer.” See State, Dep't of Career Educ., Div. of Rehab. Servs. v. Means, 2013 Ark. 173, at 4–7 (2013) (holding as a matter of law that part-time contractor for department of the State was a public employee).
A direct supervisor is an “appropriate authority” under Ark. Code Ann. § 21-1-602(2)(A). Id. at 8–9 (distinguishing Crawford Cnty. v. Jones, 365 Ark. 585, 232 S.W.3d 433 (2006)).
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