by Max Brantley
At 9:44 p.m. officers received a call to 7212 Shetland to a subject that had been shot. Information was obtained from the subject that he and someone else had been shot at 7414 Mablevale Pike. Upon arrival officers located a deceased subject in a vehicle on the parking lot. The first subject was shot in the arm and his injuries are not life threatening. No suspect information is available at this time.UPDATE: Thomas Gilbert, 31, has been identified as the homicide victim. Terrence Brison, 32, also was wounded. Brison told police that three men shot them after robbing them while sitting in an SUV on Mabelvale Pike. They fled in a four-door Toyota.
Lower courts need a reminder that magic words do not control CAFA [Class Action Fairness Act] jurisdiction . Fortunately, the Supreme Court just provided one: in its March 2013 decision in Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles . The case arose in Miller County, Arkansas, where, as reported by Fortune, “a handful of local law firms have made almost $400 million in fees over the past seven years, all from class-action settlements that have been procured without a judge’s ever having ruled that these cases are even worthy of class treatment, let alone meritorious .” Plaintiffs’ lawyers were able to keep Miller County a class action magnet following CAFA by inserting into each complaint a “stipulation” that the class members would not seek more than $5 million dollars, the threshold amount needed for federal courts to have jurisdiction under the federal law .
The Supreme Court held that plaintiffs’ lawyers cannot avoid CAFA through such manipulation . Writing for the Court, Justice Stephen Breyer held that to find otherwise would “exalt form over substance, and run directly counter to CAFA’s primary objective: ensuring ‘Federal court consideration of interstate cases of national impor- tance .’” He went on to observe that allowing the plaintiff to stipulate to damages below the jurisdictional level would “have the effect of allowing the subdivision of a $100 million action into 21 just-below-$5-million state- court actions .” This is exactly the type of gerrymandering plaintiffs are engaged in with the 100-plaintiff limit, and courts should put a stop to it .