Federal Judge P.K. Holmes
will hold a hearing June 24 on what type of punishment to hand down to 16 lawyers he's found colluded in forum shopping
when they abruptly transferred a class action lawsuit out of his court to a state court where it was immediately settled.
The result was a settlement with an auto insurance company with a hefty fee for attorneys but a settlement for insurance policy holders that has been criticized as unlikely to produce much for those damaged.
Holmes has a range of options in setting punishment, some potentially damaging to the plaintiffs' lawyers ability to continue class action practice without a damaging black mark on their record.
So it is perhaps not surprising that many of the lawyers have, as they say, "lawyered up."
A court watchers sends along to me Tuesday filings that indicate 12 of the plaintiffs' lawyers have engaged a roster of out-of-state lawyers to add to their local counsel. Asking permission to appear in the Arkansas court were Greg Joseph, Mara Leventhal, and Courtney Solomon of Joseph Hage Aaronson LLC in New York, and Russell Post of Beck Redden LLP in Houston.
Joseph, my informant notes, has written a book
on a relevant subject: "Sanctions: The Federal Law of Litigation Abuse."
The added counsel will represent John Goodson, W.H. Taylor, William B. Putman, Stevan Earl Vowell, Timothy J. Myers, D. Matt Keil, Jason Earnest Roselius, Richard Norman, R. Martin Weber, Jr., A.F. (Tom) Thompson, III, Kenneth Casey Castleberry, and Matthew L. Mustokoff.
One other plaintiffs' lawyer and three defense lawyers also are to appear before Holmes.