JASPER — Newton County Circuit Judge Shawn Womack on Tuesday put an end to the fate of the property once known as Dogpatch, USA, naming new owners.
On order signed by Womack named Stewart and Pruett Nance, and Brent Baber, effectively ending the case that began almost six years ago.
The case involved an ATV accident Sept. 9, 2005, at the former theme park which was owned by Westek Corporation Inc. The accident occurred when Pruett Nance was driving an ATV down a defined road in the park and drove into a steel cable strung between two trees, striking him in the throat.
The Nances filed suit Nov. 2, 2005, against the owners, naming Mike E. Carr, Michael L. Carr, C.L. Carr, C.L. Carr Jr. and Tahoe Gaming LLC., as well as Lynn Larson, Westek Corp., Leisuretek LTD, Ford Carr and Alberta Carr as defendants, although the latter defendants were later dismissed from the suit.
The case was then argued in Newton County Circuit Court before a jury Sept. 16 - 17, 2008.
During the trial, one of Pruett Nance’s cousins testified he was riding four-wheelers on the Dogpatch property with other family members when they were stopped by a man and a younger-looking kid, who was pointing a shotgun at them. He said they were held about two hours, until the police showed up. He said the men said they had problems with trespassers and vandals.
The defendants had argued that the cable used to limit access to the park was not an ultra-hazardous condition or activity. Michael Carr said he was going to get tape when the accident occurred.
The jury awarded $400,000 for compensatory damages to Stewart Nance, as well as $100,000 in compensatory damages and $150,000 in punitive damages to Pruett Nance, Stewart Nance’s son.
But the court reduced compensatory damages to Stewart Nance to $233,707.42.
The defendants appealed the decision and the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the lower courts decision, although it did reinstate Stewart Nance’s compensatory damages to $400,000.
The defendant’s in the original suit were ordered to tender a warranty deed for the property in case the judgment wasn’t paid. Womack’s order on Tuesday ended the case and gave the land to the Nances and Baber, their attorney.
“The transfer of these lands is taken in full satisfaction of plaintiffs’ judgment against all defendants,” a handwritten entry on the court order reads.