Terry L. Fleming scored a legal victory last week when a judge dismissed a civil lawsuit that accused him of human trafficking and sexually exploiting younger women.
Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Patricia James said in her order that Rabekah Fendley of Conway “is not a victim of human trafficking, as envisioned by the Human Trafficking Act of 2013.”
If you recall, Fendley was one of five women who, in separate lawsuits, sued Fleming, the founder of Little Rock’s PerfectVision Manufacturing, one of Arkansas’ largest private companies.
In addition to the human trafficking allegations, Fendley also alleged a conspiracy among Fleming, PerfectVision, attorney Charles Darwin “Skip” Davidson of Little Rock and his law firm, Davidson Enterprises PLLC, and others, including Fleming’s adult daughters and a son-in-law.
James also found that Fendley failed to state facts to show that the defendants “knowingly engaged in the behavior” listed in the Human Trafficking Act.
Fendley’s allegation of outrage also was dismissed. “Taking the facts pleaded in the Amended Complaint as true, plaintiff failed to state facts to show defendants willfully and wantonly engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct,” she wrote.
James dismissed Fendley’s entire case.
“Judge James’ order dismissing Rabekah Fendley’s lawsuit speaks for itself,” attorney Timothy A. Steadman of Holleman & Associates, who represented Fleming, his adult children and his son-in-law, said in an email to Whispers. “Fendley made reputation destroying allegations, using serious labels but had no facts to support those labels.
“Her lawsuit, and the other similar lawsuits against Fleming, have absolutely no merit,” Steadman said. “Bringing these claims is an insult to the very real victims of human trafficking.”
Davidson said in a statement to Whispers that he and the defendants were pleased with the ruling.
“Judge James carefully studied all the claims and had a hearing that lasted all day and heard arguments from Plaintiff’s attorney,” he wrote. “Judge James then determined that the claims had no merit and were not entitled to a day in court.”
Gene A. Ludwig of the Ludwig Law Firm of Little Rock, who is representing Fendley and three other women making claims against Fleming, declined to comment. Attorney Luther Oneal Sutter of Sutter & Gillham of Benton is representing another plaintiff.
Those cases against Fleming are pending, but Davidson said the defendants expect to see them dismissed as well.
Davidson said the defendants are now looking into pursuing claims against Fendley and Ludwig for filing the complaint.