Plaintiffs lawyers questioned related to controversial class-action case | Arkansas Blog

Plaintiffs lawyers questioned related to controversial class-action case


The federal courthouse in Fort Smith. - GWEN MORITZ (ARKANSAS BUSINESS)
  • Gwen Moritz (Arkansas Business)
  • The federal courthouse in Fort Smith.

The 17 lawyers involved in a class action case that was moved from federal to state court and led to a settlement that enriched plaintiffs lawyers, but perhaps not so much their clients, appeared at a show-cause hearing before U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III in Fort Smith today, Arkansas Business reports.   

Arkansas Business' Mark Friedman first reported on the legal maneuverings of class action attorneys John Goodson, W.H. Taylor and others, who represented holders of home insurance with United Services Automobile Association. Friedman reported that Goodson and Co. had struck a deal with the defendant to settle the case in state court, where judges are thought to be less focused on ensuring victims are fairly compensated. The theory is that an insurance company would settle to limit its exposure. 

From Arkansas Business:

Holmes wanted to know if the case was moved to the state court in order to avoid federal review of the settlement, which awarded attorneys John Goodson of Texarkana, W.H. Taylor of Fayetteville and other attorneys from their firms $1.85 million in fees.

"My clients are very proud of that settlement," said attorney John Elrod of Fayetteville, who represented Goodson, Taylor and 10 other attorneys who worked for the plaintiffs in the Adams case.

Elrod said the attorneys didn't do anything wrong and what they did was in the best interest of their clients — the class members — in part because it made it harder for "professional objectors" to slow down the settlement.

Holmes said it could be up to a month before he issues a ruling involving possible sanctions.

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