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  • Scott Poynter

Arkansas Courts Have Thunder Case


Defendants, both venture capitalist firms, have filed their appeal of Judge Alice Gray's decision in Pulaski County Circuit Court denying their motion to compel arbitration. This week, our office filed a responsive brief asking that Judge Gray's decision be affirmed and to allow the case to immediately move forward in court.

Defendants' intention in filing their motion to compel arbitration is to kick the case from the courthouse, and force it into arbitration where there is no right to a jury.

Even more problematic, in arbitration there is little chance of any compensation given that there is no way to bring a class action case in arbitration. So small dollar claims usually just go away, because they are more expensive to fight about than could ever be recovered in arbitration.

The venture capitalist firms will file a reply brief in about two weeks. It's possible the Court of Appeals could ask the Supreme Court to take the case up, or request an oral argument. A decision is expected later this fall.

ANOTHER ISSUE: This problem brings up another one. There is an item on the Arkansas ballot in November to limit compensation to victims of medical injury to an arbitrary ceiling. So no matter how horrific the circumstances, the length of time the victim had to suffer, or the agony involved ... every victim's recovery for pain and suffering would be capped at $250,000 by an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution. The measure would also limit attorneys' fees in such a way that most claims wouldn't be filed -- because they would be just too expensive to bring.

This is very sad, but exactly the reason the nursing home millionaires are backing this proposed constitutional amendment -- to take away your legal rights and further insulate them from liability.

In the end, proposed amendment to our constitution replaces fair-minded juries with politicians and lobbyist to decide things in a purely political way.

Our Nation never wanted that. It prompted the Revolution. In separating from the Kingdom of Great Britain, America's founding fathers thought the right to a jury of our peers was so important, that the jury trial right was placed in the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Please vote "NO" on this issue in November. Secure your constitutional right to a jury.


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