Ark. R. Civ. P. 52
Reporter's Notes to Rule 52: 1. Rule 52 is similar to FRCP, but it retains prior Arkansas law by which the failure of a party to request special findings of fact by the court amounted to a waiver of that right. Anderson v. West Bend Co., 240 Ark. 519, 400 S.W.2d 495 (1966); Doup v. Almand, 212 Ark. 687, 207 S.W.2d 601 (1948).
2. Prior Arkansas law was codified in superseded Ark. Stat. Ann. § 27-1744 (Repl. 1962) which required the trial court to state findings of fact separately from conclusions of law. Where there was any substantial evidence to support the findings of the circuit judge, his decision had to be affirmed on appeal. Fanning v. Hembree Oil Company, 245 Ark. 825, 434 S.W.2d 822 (1968). Under this rule, the findings of the trial judge must be affirmed on appeal unless clearly erroneous, which is the same as clearly against the preponderance of the evidence. The rule, however, does not alter the fact that in some cases an issue must be proved by clear and convincing evidence.
3. Section (b) does not appreciably change prior Arkansas law, as it has been commonly understood that courts had the inherent power to amend its findings or make additional findings during term time. See Vaughn v. Vaughn, 223 Ark. 934, 270 S.W.2d 915 (1954), although this power was severely restricted after term time to those grounds specified in superseded Ark. Stat. Ann. § 29-506 (Repl. 1962).
4. Under this rule, motions to have the court amend its findings or make additional findings must be filed within ten days after the entry of judgment. This time period cannot be extended by the trial court as provided in Ruleherein and in FRCP .
Addition to Reporter's Note, 1989 Amendment: Rule 52(a) is amended to make clear that the same standard of appellate review applies, regardless of whether a trial court's findings of fact are based on oral or documentary evidence. The corresponding federal rule was so amended in 1985. Prior to that amendment, some federal courts had held that a more searching appellate review was appropriate when the trial court's findings were based solely on documentary evidence.
Addition to Reporter's Notes, 1999 Amendment: Subdivision (b) has been divided into two numbered paragraphs. The new third sentence of paragraph (1) makes plain that a pre-judgment motion to amend findings or to make additional findings is permissible. This is so under the corresponding federal rule, but prior Arkansas case law suggested that such a motion was not effective. See Benedict v. National Bank of Commerce, 329 Ark. 590, 951 S.W.2d 562 (1997) (motion for new trial). The new fourth sentence provides that a motion to amend findings or for additional findings not ruled on by the court within 30 days of its filing (or within 30 days of the date it is treated as filed) is "deemed denied as of the 30th day." This provision also appears in Ruleof the Rules of Appellate Procedure-Civil but was added here as a reminder to counsel.
Addition to Reporter's Notes, 2001 Amendment: The references to "trial court" in subdivisions (a) and (b)(2) have been replaced with "circuit court." Constitutional Amendment 80 established the circuit courts as the "trial courts of original jurisdiction" in the state and abolished the separate probate and chancery courts.
Addition to Reporter's Notes, 2004 Amendment: Subdivision (a) has been amended to make plain that a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law may be made "at any time prior to entry of judgment." A companion change in subdivision (b)(1) emphasizes that a motion after entry of judgment pursuant to that provision is for a different purpose, i.e., to amend findings "previously made" or to make additional findings. The effect of these changes is to overrule Apollo Coating RSC, Inc. v. Brookridge Funding Corp., 103 S.W.3d 682 (Ark. App. 2003), which held that a motion for findings and conclusions pursuant to Rule 52(a) could be made after entry of judgment.
Addition to Reporter's Notes (2014 Amendment): The text of subdivision (a) has been designated as paragraph (1) and paragraph (2) has been added. The latter implements Ark. Code Ann. §§& , as amended by Act 1116 of 2013. It is based in part on section of Act 649 of 2003, codified at Ark. Code Ann. § , which was invalidated on separation-of-powers grounds in Johnson v. Rockwell Automation, Inc., 2009 Ark. 241, 308 S.W.3d 135. A corresponding change has been made in Rule , which applies to jury verdicts. For discussion, see the notes accompanying that rule.