Top of the morning:
* ICE CREAM MEMORIES: David Koon spied on Craiglist news of a Yarnell family estate sale in Searcy this weekend. He notes that the ad promises lots of memorabilia from Yarnell’s ice cream, no longer a family business in Searcy.
I just wish the new owner would bring back Angel Food among its vanilla flavors.
* DEATH IN SWLR: A report from LRPD on a shooting last night:
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.
* FATHER CHARGED WITH MURDER OF 3-YEAR-OLD: The shooting death of a 3-year-old in Greene County by his father, earlier thought to be accidental, has had a new development. The father has been charged with murder.
* ANDI DAVIS IN MORE TROUBLE: Andi Davis, the Hot Springs lawyer who’s been in a string of legal difficulties, added another theft arrest to her record yesterday, No details except a theft by receiving charge. She was released on a $3,500 bond. The day before she was arrested for theft of a trailer found at her home along with other stolen items. She shot to fame, on top of other issues, when a filing in a custody case alleged she’d had questionable contact with a list of well-known men.
* JUDICIAL ‘HELLHOLES’: A lobby group hoping to wreck personal injury lawsuits, the American Tort Reform Foundation, has published its latest account of Judicial Hellholes. These are jurisdictions where the moneyed class can’t get an even break from the courts. (Sarcasm intended, but it is true that there are some venues where the scales are out of whack in favor of the little guy.) Arkansas gets only the barest of mentions, though you might gather from Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce caterwauling that Arkansas business is on the point of collapse from work of greedy trial lawyers, runaway juries and the like. That’s hogwash. But about that one mention, which came in relation to class action litigation:
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 .