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Goodson, other attorneys appeal reprimands by judge.

Twelve plaintiffs' attorneys last week filed notice that they will appeal Chief U.S. District Court Judge P.K. Holmes Ill's finding that they abused the court system in their manipulation of a controversial class-action case.

The attorneys include five who were reprimanded last week, including the husband of a state Supreme Court justice, because Holmes found that they acted in bad faith in their handling of the class-action case.

The other seven plaintiffs' attorneys who have joined in the appeal were found to have abused the judicial process, but Holmes did not sanction them because he said their misconduct did not didn't rise to the level of bad faith.

Three defense lawyers were similarly found to have abused the system but without bad faith. They had not filed a notice of appeal as of late last week.

The notice filed by the 12 plaintiffs' attorneys indicates that they will ask the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis whether their conduct abused the federal court system and whether the court had inherent power to sanction them for it. They will ask the appeals court whether Holmes abused his discretion in reprimanding the five attorneys, according to the filing by New York attorney Gregory P. Joseph of Joseph Hage Aaronson LLC.

The attorneys who were reprimanded were John Goodson of Texarkana, husband of state Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson and a member of the University of Arkansas System board of trustees; Goodson's law partner, Matt Keil; Jason Earnest Roselius, a partner of Mattingly & Roselius of Oklahoma City; R. Martin "Marty" Weber Jr., of counsel of Crowley Norman LLP of Houston; and Richard E. Norman, a partner at Crowley Norman.

The case at the center of the matter was Mark & Katherine Adams v. United Services Automobile Association. The Adams case, which concerned the method used to calculate homeowners' insurance claims, was pending in Holmes' court for 17 months until both sides jointly agreed to dismiss it in June 2015. (Under court rules, the judge did not have to approve the agreed dismissal.)

The case was refiled the next day, with a settlement agreement attached, in Polk County Circuit Court, where the settlement was approved without any questions by Circuit Judge Jerry Ryan.

Holmes, who learned that the case was moved to Ryan's court for settlement from an article in Arkansas Business in December, said the settlement that was negotiated "benefited everyone but the class members" and indicated that he would not have approved it had the case still been in his court.

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Title Annotation:Legal
Author:Friedman, Mark
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Aug 15, 2016
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