WHATLEY KALLAS SCORES WIN AT ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT

Henry Quillen of Whatley Kallas won a favorable ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court for Air Evac EMS, Inc., which provides emergency air ambulance services. Air Evac filed suit against Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, claiming that Blue Cross was unlawfully refusing to contract with ambulance providers and paying unlawfully low amounts for air ambulance services. Among Blue Cross’s defenses was that the safe harbor of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act protects activities subject to regulation, such as the sale of insurance. Henry convinced the federal court to certify questions about the scope of the safe harbor to the Arkansas Supreme Court, and then briefed and argued the appeal. In a 6–1 decision, the Arkansas Supreme Court held that regulated activities are not categorically protected by the safe harbor, essentially overturning years of precedent in the federal courts and preserving the ability of Arkansas consumers to challenge unlawful conduct. A copy of the majority opinion is here.