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United States
ARKANSAS CODES TITLE 16 - PRACTICE, PROCEDURE, AND COURTS SUBTITLE 5 - CIVIL PROCEDURE GENERALLY CHAPTER 55 - GENERAL PROVISIONS

  1. Chapter 55 - General Provisions
    1. Subchapter 1 - General Provisions
      1. § 16-55-101 - Title of code.
      2. § 16-55-102 - [Repealed.]
      3. § 16-55-103 - Applicability of code.
      4. § 16-55-104 - Construction of code.
      5. § 16-55-105 - Amendment or repeal of code.
      6. § 16-55-106
      7. § 16-55-108 - Authority of deputies.
      8. § 16-55-109 - [Repealed.]
      9. § 16-55-110 - Boards -- Authority of majority.
      10. § 16-55-111 - Classes of remedies.
      11. § 16-55-112 - Authority to grant provisional remedy.
      12. § 16-55-113 - Writ of ne exeat abolished.
      13. § 16-55-114 - Notices -- Form -- Service generally.
      14. § 16-55-115 - Notice -- Additional method of service.
      15. § 16-55-116 - Notice -- Service upon certain persons.
      16. § 16-55-117 - Notice -- Duty of officer serving.
      17. § 16-55-118 - Laws requiring notice or summons for specified time before term amended to permit action taken on any day court is in session.
      18. § 16-55-119 - Computation of time.
      19. § 16-55-120 - Affirmation in lieu of oath.
      20. § 16-55-121 - Successive actions on same contract or transaction.
      21. § 16-55-122 - Contract provisions restricting disclosure of environmental hazards are void.
    2. Subchapter 2 - Civil Justice Reform Act of 2003
      1. § 16-55-201 - Modification of joint and several liability.
      2. § 16-55-202 - Assessment of percentages of fault.
      3. § 16-55-203 - Increase in percentage of several share.
      4. § 16-55-204 - Applicability of 16-55-203.
      5. § 16-55-205 - Acting in concert.
      6. § 16-55-206 - Standards for award of punitive damages.
      7. § 16-55-207 - Burden of proof for award of punitive damages.
      8. § 16-55-208 - Limitations on the amount of punitive damages.
      9. § 16-55-209 - No right to punitive damages.
      10. § 16-55-210 - No limitation on certain judicial duties.
      11. § 16-55-211 - Bifurcated proceeding.
      12. § 16-55-212 - Compensatory damages.
      13. § 16-55-213 - Venue.
      14. § 16-55-214 - Maximum appeal bond in civil litigation.
      15. § 16-55-215 - Burden of proof.
      16. § 16-55-216 - Comparative fault.
      17. § 16-55-217 - Cause of action not created.
      18. § 16-55-218 - Attorney General.
      19. § 16-55-219 - Coroner or medical examiner.
      20. § 16-55-220 - Applicability and severability.

Arkansas Codes
Title 16 - Practice, Procedure, And Courts
Subtitle 5 - Civil Procedure Generally
Chapter 55 - General Provisions

Subchapter 1 - General Provisions

§ 16-55-101 - Title of code.

16-55-101. Title of code.

This code shall be known as the "Code of Practice in Civil Cases" in this state.

§ 16-55-102 - [Repealed.]

16-55-102. [Repealed.]

§ 16-55-103 - Applicability of code.

16-55-103. Applicability of code.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, this code shall regulate the procedure in all civil actions and proceedings in the courts of this state.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by law, the provisions of this code shall apply to and regulate the proceedings of all the courts of this state, though not expressly enumerated, and of all that may hereafter be created.

§ 16-55-104 - Construction of code.

16-55-104. Construction of code.

(a) The rule of common law that statutes in derogation of the common law are to be strictly construed shall not be applied to the code.

(b) The provisions of the code, and all proceedings under it, shall be liberally construed, with a view to promote its object and to assist the parties in obtaining justice.

§ 16-55-105 - Amendment or repeal of code.

16-55-105. Amendment or repeal of code.

No act shall have the effect to amend or repeal or be construed as amending or repealing any title, chapter, article, section, clause, or provision of this code unless the intention is expressly stated, and the title, chapter, article, or section shall be particularly referred to and recited in the act amending or repealing it.

§ 16-55-106

16-55-106, 16-55-107. [Repealed.]

§ 16-55-108 - Authority of deputies.

16-55-108. Authority of deputies.

Any duty enjoined by this code upon a ministerial officer and any act permitted to be done by him or her may be performed by his or her lawful deputy.

§ 16-55-109 - [Repealed.]

16-55-109. [Repealed.]

§ 16-55-110 - Boards -- Authority of majority.

16-55-110. Boards -- Authority of majority.

An authority conferred upon three (3) or more persons may be exercised by a majority of them and a majority of three (3) or more persons may do any act directed to be performed by them.

§ 16-55-111 - Classes of remedies.

16-55-111. Classes of remedies.

Remedies in civil cases are divided into two (2) classes:

(1) Actions;

(2) Special proceedings.

§ 16-55-112 - Authority to grant provisional remedy.

16-55-112. Authority to grant provisional remedy.

A provisional remedy as provided in this code may be granted only by the judge of the court in which the action is brought, or by any circuit judge.

§ 16-55-113 - Writ of ne exeat abolished.

16-55-113. Writ of ne exeat abolished.

The writ of ne exeat as a remedy in a civil action is abolished.

§ 16-55-114 - Notices -- Form -- Service generally.

16-55-114. Notices -- Form -- Service generally.

(a) (1) The notices mentioned in this code shall be in writing and may be served by a sheriff, constable, coroner, or marshal of a town or city, whose return thereon shall be proof of the service.

(2) Notices may also be served by any person not a party or interested in the action or proceeding, whose affidavit shall be proof of the service, or by acknowledgment thereon in writing by the party upon whom served.

(b) The service of a notice shall be by giving a copy to the person to whom it is directed, or if he or she cannot be found at his or her usual place of abode, by leaving a copy there with a person over the age of sixteen (16) years residing in the same family with him or her, or if no such person is there, then by affixing a copy to the front door of the place of abode. If the person to whom the notice is directed cannot be found and has no known place of abode in this state, the notice may be served by delivering a copy to his or her attorney.

(c) The return of the officer or the affidavit of the person who served the notice shall state the time and manner of the service. If a copy of the notice is not given to the person to whom it is directed, the return or affidavit shall state the facts authorizing the manner of service pursued.

§ 16-55-115 - Notice -- Additional method of service.

16-55-115. Notice -- Additional method of service.

(a) Wherever, in connection with the taking of depositions, the filing of motions, or in any other matters either during the pendency of a suit or prior to a litigation, the law requires the service of notice by one (1) person upon another, except in the case of service of a summons, that notice may be served by registered or certified mail, addressed to the person to be served at his or her last known address, or to his or her attorney, if he or she has an attorney employed in connection with the matter in which the notice is to be served, with return receipt requested. The return receipt of the person or his or her attorney or the affidavit of the person making the service shall be evidence of service of the notice.

(b) (1) This section shall be cumulative of present methods provided by law for service of notice.

(2) Service shall be sufficient by:

(A) The method provided for in this section;

(B) Any method authorized by law prior to June 13, 1957; or

(C) Waiver in writing of service.

§ 16-55-116 - Notice -- Service upon certain persons.

16-55-116. Notice -- Service upon certain persons.

(a) (1) Where it is not otherwise specially provided, notice to a party in an action of any motion or proceeding to be made or taken in the action in court or before a judge may be served upon the party or his or her attorney.

(2) The service upon the attorney in any such case shall be by delivering to him or her a copy of the notice.

(b) A notice to a person constructively summoned and not appearing shall be served on the attorney appointed to defend for him or her.

(c) A notice to an infant or person of unsound mind shall be served on the guardian or next friend bringing or defending the action for him or her.

(d) A notice to a corporation may be served in the same manner as a summons in an action against it.

(e) Where the party has no known place of abode in this state and no attorney in the county where the action is pending, or where the parties, plaintiffs, or defendants are numerous, the court may direct the mode of serving notices and to which persons they shall be given.

§ 16-55-117 - Notice -- Duty of officer serving.

16-55-117. Notice -- Duty of officer serving.

(a) It shall be the duty of the sheriff and of every constable to whom any notice in an action may be delivered for service within his or her county to serve and return the notice to the party who delivered it to him or her.

(b) A failure to perform this duty may be punished as a disobedience of the process of the court.

§ 16-55-118 - Laws requiring notice or summons for specified time before term amended to permit action taken on any day court is in session.

16-55-118. Laws requiring notice or summons for specified time before term amended to permit action taken on any day court is in session.

Whether specifically mentioned in this act or not, any law or part of a law requiring notice or summons to be served or published a specific length of time before the beginning of a term before the steps authorized in the law may be had at such terms in any civil or special proceeding is hereby amended to permit such steps to be taken on any day that the court meets in regular or adjourned session after the expiration of the time required in the law for service.

§ 16-55-119 - Computation of time.

16-55-119. Computation of time.

Where a certain number of days are required to intervene between two (2) acts, the day of one (1) only of the acts may be counted.

§ 16-55-120 - Affirmation in lieu of oath.

16-55-120. Affirmation in lieu of oath.

Whenever an oath is required by this code, the affirmation of a person conscientiously scrupulous of taking an oath shall have the same effect.

§ 16-55-121 - Successive actions on same contract or transaction.

16-55-121. Successive actions on same contract or transaction.

Successive actions may be maintained upon the same contract or transaction whenever, after the former action, a new cause of action has arisen therefrom.

§ 16-55-122 - Contract provisions restricting disclosure of environmental hazards are void.

16-55-122. Contract provisions restricting disclosure of environmental hazards are void.

(a) Any provision of a contract or agreement entered into to settle a lawsuit which purports to restrict any person's right to disclose the existence or harmfulness of an environmental hazard is declared to be against the public policy of the State of Arkansas and therefore void.

(b) For purposes of this section, the term "environmental hazard" means a substance or condition that may affect land, air, or water in a way that may cause harm to the property or person of someone other than the contracting parties to a lawsuit settlement contract referred to in subsection (a) of this section.

(c) This section applies to settlement contracts or agreements entered into after March 12, 1991.

Subchapter 2 - Civil Justice Reform Act of 2003

§ 16-55-201 - Modification of joint and several liability.

16-55-201. Modification of joint and several liability.

(a) In any action for personal injury, medical injury, property damage, or wrongful death, the liability of each defendant for compensatory or punitive damages shall be several only and shall not be joint.

(b) (1) Each defendant shall be liable only for the amount of damages allocated to that defendant in direct proportion to that defendant's percentage of fault.

(2) A separate several judgment shall be rendered against that defendant for that amount.

(c) (1) To determine the amount of judgment to be entered against each defendant, the court shall multiply the total amount of damages recoverable by the plaintiff with regard to each defendant by the percentage of each defendant's fault.

(2) That amount shall be the maximum recoverable against that defendant.

§ 16-55-202 - Assessment of percentages of fault.

16-55-202. Assessment of percentages of fault.

(a) In assessing percentages of fault, the fact finder shall consider the fault of all persons or entities who contributed to the alleged injury or death or damage to property, tangible or intangible, regardless of whether the person or entity was or could have been named as a party to the suit.

(b) (1) Negligence or fault of a nonparty shall be considered if the plaintiff entered into a settlement agreement with the nonparty or if the defending party gives notice that a nonparty was wholly or partially at fault not later than one hundred twenty (120) days prior to the date of trial.

(2) The notice shall be given by filing a pleading in the action designating the nonparty and setting forth the nonparty's name and last known address, or the best identification of the nonparty which is possible under the circumstances, together with a brief statement of the basis for believing the nonparty to be at fault.

(c) (1) Except as expressly stated in this section, nothing in this section shall eliminate or diminish any defenses or immunities which currently exist.

(2) Assessments of percentages of fault of nonparties shall be used only for accurately determining the percentage of fault of named parties.

(3) Where fault is assessed against nonparties, findings of fault shall not subject any nonparty to liability in any action or be introduced as evidence of liability in any action.

§ 16-55-203 - Increase in percentage of several share.

16-55-203. Increase in percentage of several share.

(a) (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of 16-55-201 and 16-55-202, in the event a several judgment has been entered against multiple-party defendants, a plaintiff may move the court no later than ten (10) days after the entry of judgment to determine whether all or part of the amount of the several share for which a defendant is liable will not be reasonably collectible.

(2) If the court determines, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, that any defendant's several share or multiple defendants' several shares will not be reasonably collectible, the court shall increase the percentage points of the several shares of each of the remaining defendants, subject to the limitations in subdivisions (a)(3) and (4) of this section.

(3) (A) If a defendant's percentage of fault is determined by the finder of fact to be ten percent (10%) or less, then the percentage points of that defendant's several share shall not be increased.

(B) If a defendant's percentage of fault is determined by the finder of fact to be greater than ten percent (10%) but less than fifty percent (50%), then the percentage points of that defendant's several share shall be increased by no more than ten (10) percentage points.

(C) If a defendant's percentage of fault is determined by the finder of fact to be fifty percent (50%) or greater, then the percentage points of that defendant's several share shall be increased by no more than twenty (20) percentage points.

(4) Under no circumstances shall the combined percentage points of the remaining defendants' several shares exceed the lesser of:

(A) A total of one hundred (100) percentage points; or

(B) The total number of percentage points remaining after deducting the percentage of fault of the plaintiff, if any.

(5) Any defendant whose several share has been increased pursuant to this section, and who has discharged his or her obligation to pay the increased several share, has a right of contribution from the defendants whose several shares were determined by the court to be not reasonably collectible.

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to any punitive damages award or judgment.

§ 16-55-204 - Applicability of 16-55-203.

16-55-204. Applicability of 16-55-203.

The provisions of 16-55-203 shall not apply to a medical care provider who is named as a defendant in an action for personal injury, medical injury, or wrongful death based solely on his or her capacity as a medical director of a long-term care facility.

§ 16-55-205 - Acting in concert.

16-55-205. Acting in concert.

(a) Notwithstanding 16-55-201, a party is responsible for the fault of another person or entity or for payment of the proportionate share of another person or entity if both the party and the other person or entity were acting in concert or if the other person or entity was acting as an agent or servant of the party.

(b) (1) As used in this section, "acting in concert" means entering into a conscious agreement to pursue a common plan or design to commit an intentional tort and actively taking part in that intentional tort.

(2) "Acting in concert" does not mean the act of any person or entity whose conduct was negligent in any degree other than intentional.

(3) A person's or entity's conduct which provides substantial assistance to one committing an intentional tort does not constitute "acting in concert" if the person or entity has not consciously agreed with the other to commit the intentional tort.

§ 16-55-206 - Standards for award of punitive damages.

16-55-206. Standards for award of punitive damages.

In order to recover punitive damages from a defendant, a plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant is liable for compensatory damages and that either or both of the following aggravating factors were present and related to the injury for which compensatory damages were awarded:

(1) The defendant knew or ought to have known, in light of the surrounding circumstances, that his or her conduct would naturally and probably result in injury or damage and that he or she continued the conduct with malice or in reckless disregard of the consequences, from which malice may be inferred; or

(2) The defendant intentionally pursued a course of conduct for the purpose of causing injury or damage.

§ 16-55-207 - Burden of proof for award of punitive damages.

16-55-207. Burden of proof for award of punitive damages.

A plaintiff must satisfy the burden of proof required under 16-55-206 by clear and convincing evidence in order to recover punitive damages from the defendant.

§ 16-55-208 - Limitations on the amount of punitive damages.

16-55-208. Limitations on the amount of punitive damages.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a punitive damages award for each plaintiff shall not be more than the greater of the following:

(1) Two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000); or

(2) Three (3) times the amount of compensatory damages awarded in the action, not to exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000).

(b) Subsection (a) of this section shall not apply when the finder of fact:

(1) Determines by clear and convincing evidence that, at the time of the injury, the defendant intentionally pursued a course of conduct for the purpose of causing injury or damage; and

(2) Determines that the defendant's conduct did, in fact, harm the plaintiff.

(c) As to the punitive damages limitations established in subsection (a) of this section, the fixed sums of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) set forth in subdivision (a)(1) of this section and one million dollars ($1,000,000) set forth in subdivision (a)(2) of this section shall be adjusted as of January 1, 2006, and at three-year intervals thereafter, in accordance with the Consumer Price Index rate for the previous year as determined by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

§ 16-55-209 - No right to punitive damages.

16-55-209. No right to punitive damages.

Nothing in 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), 16-114-209, and 16-114-210 -- 16-114-212 shall be construed as creating a right to an award of punitive damages.

§ 16-55-210 - No limitation on certain judicial duties.

16-55-210. No limitation on certain judicial duties.

Nothing in 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), 16-114-209, and 16-114-210 -- 16-114-212 shall limit the duty of a court or the appellate courts to:

(1) Scrutinize all punitive damages awards;

(2) Ensure that all punitive damages awards comply with applicable procedural, evidentiary, and constitutional requirements; and

(3) Order remittitur where appropriate.

§ 16-55-211 - Bifurcated proceeding.

16-55-211. Bifurcated proceeding.

(a) (1) In any case in which punitive damages are sought, any party may request a bifurcated proceeding at least ten (10) days prior to trial.

(2) If a bifurcated proceeding has been requested by either party, then:

(A) The finder of fact first shall determine whether compensatory damages are to be awarded; and

(B) After a compensatory damages award determination, the finder of fact then shall determine whether and in what amount punitive damages will be awarded.

(b) Evidence of the financial condition of the defendant and other evidence relevant only to punitive damages is not admissible with regard to any compensatory damages determination.

§ 16-55-212 - Compensatory damages.

16-55-212. Compensatory damages.

(a) Section 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), 16-114-209, and 16-114-210 -- 16-114-212 do not limit compensatory damages.

(b) Any evidence of damages for the costs of any necessary medical care, treatment, or services received shall include only those costs actually paid by or on behalf of the plaintiff or which remain unpaid and for which the plaintiff or any third party shall be legally responsible.

§ 16-55-213 - Venue.

16-55-213. Venue.

(a) All civil actions other than those mentioned in 16-60-101 -- 16-60-103, 16-60-107, 16-60-114, and 16-60-115, and subsection (e) of this section must be brought in any of the following counties:

(1) The county in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred;

(2) (A) The county in which an individual defendant resided.

(B) If the defendant is an entity other than an individual, the county where the entity had its principal office in this state at the time of the accrual of the cause of action; or

(3) (A) The county in which the plaintiff resided.

(B) If the plaintiff is an entity other than an individual, the county where the plaintiff had its principal office in this state at the time of the accrual of the cause of action.

(b) (1) The residence of any properly joined named class representative or representatives may be considered in determining proper venue in a class action.

(2) The residency of any putative or actual member of a class other than a named representative shall not be considered in determining proper venue for a class action.

(c) In any civil action, venue must be proper as to each or every named plaintiff joined in the action unless:

(1) The plaintiffs establish that they assert any right to relief against the defendants jointly, severally, or arising out of the same transaction or occurrence; and

(2) The existence of a substantial number of questions of law or material fact common to all those persons not only will arise in the action, but also that:

(A) The questions will predominate over individualized questions pertaining to each plaintiff;

(B) The action can be maintained more efficiently and economically for all parties than if prosecuted separately; and

(C) The interest of justice supports the joinder of the parties as plaintiffs in one (1) action.

(d) (1) Unless venue objections are waived by the defendant or by unanimous agreement of multiple defendants, if venue is improper for any plaintiff joined in the action, then the claim of the plaintiff shall be severed and transferred to a court where venue is proper.

(2) (A) If severance and transfer is mandated and venue is appropriate in more than one (1) court, a defendant sued alone or multiple defendants, by unanimous agreement, shall have the right to select another court to which the action shall be transferred.

(B) If there are multiple defendants who are unable to agree on another court, the court in which the action was originally filed may transfer the action to another court.

(e) Any action for medical injury brought under 16-114-201 et seq. against a medical care provider, as defined in 16-114-201(2), shall be filed in the county in which the alleged act or omission occurred.

§ 16-55-214 - Maximum appeal bond in civil litigation.

16-55-214. Maximum appeal bond in civil litigation.

(a) Appeal bonds shall be determined under 16-68-301 et seq., and Arkansas Rules of Appellate Procedure -- Civil, Rule 8, except that the maximum appeal bond that may be required in any civil action under any legal theory shall be limited to twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), regardless of the amount of the judgment.

(b) If a party proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the party who has posted a bond in accordance with subsection (a) of this section is purposely dissipating or diverting assets outside of the ordinary course of its business for the purpose of evading ultimate payment of the judgment, the court may enter orders as are necessary to prevent dissipation or diversion, including requiring that a bond be posted equal to the full amount of the judgment.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of 16-55-220, the maximum appeal bond for any cause of action brought under any legal theory shall be limited to twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), regardless of the amount of the judgment or the date the cause of action accrued, subject to the provisions of 16-55-214(b).

§ 16-55-215 - Burden of proof.

16-55-215. Burden of proof.

Section 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), 16-114-209, and 16-114-210 -- 16-114-212 do not amend the existing law that provides that the burden of alleging and proving fault is upon the person who seeks to establish fault.

§ 16-55-216 - Comparative fault.

16-55-216. Comparative fault.

Section 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-114-209 -- 16-114-212 do not amend existing law that provides that a plaintiff may not recover any amount of damages if the plaintiff's own fault is determined to be fifty percent (50%) or greater.

§ 16-55-217 - Cause of action not created.

16-55-217. Cause of action not created.

(a) Section 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-114-209 -- 16-114-212 do not create a cause of action.

(b) Section 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-14-209 -- 16-114-212 do not alter the defenses or immunity of any person or entity.

§ 16-55-218 - Attorney General.

16-55-218. Attorney General.

No provision of 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-114-209 -- 16-114-212 shall apply to or alter existing law with respect to any claim, charge, action, or suit brought or prosecuted by the Attorney General.

§ 16-55-219 - Coroner or medical examiner.

16-55-219. Coroner or medical examiner.

Nothing in 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-114-209 -- 16-114-212 shall be construed to diminish or enlarge the powers or duties of a coroner or medical examiner.

§ 16-55-220 - Applicability and severability.

16-55-220. Applicability and severability.

(a) Section 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-114-209 -- 16-114-212 shall apply to all causes of action accruing on or after March 25, 2003.

(b) Section 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-114-209 -- 16-114-212 shall not apply to any action filed or cause of action accruing prior to March 25, 2003.

(c) If any provisions of Section 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-114-209 -- 16-114-212 or the application of 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-114-209 -- 16-114-212 to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-114-209 -- 16-114-212 which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of 16-55-201 et seq. and 16-114-206(a), 16-114-208(a), 16-114-208(c)(1), and 16-114-209 -- 16-114-212 are declared to be severable.
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