Miller County Lawyers Want Standard Fire Suit Back in Texarkana

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 12:00 am  

John Goodson

Standard Fire appealed, and the case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. On March 19, the high court issued a unanimous decision in favor of Standard Fire. It said the plaintiffs can’t say from the get-go that they aren’t seeking more than $5 million in fees and damages. The Knowles case was sent back to U.S. District Court.

Fresh Review

On March 28, just nine days after the Supreme Court ruling, attorney W.H. Taylor of the Fayetteville law firm Taylor Law Partners, Keil & Goodson and the two Texas firms filed a motion asking Holmes to reconsider whether the $5 million damages threshold had been met in the Knowles case.

Holmes had ruled in 2011 that the case was worth more than $5 million, but since Goodson and the other plaintiffs’ attorneys stipulated that they wouldn’t seek more than $5 million, Holmes believe he had no choice but to send the case back to Miller County.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that Holmes’ finding is no longer binding and the court should take a “fresh review of Standard Fire’s evidence,” according to the motion. The plaintiffs’ attorneys would like to conduct a limited discovery to show that the case is worth less than $5 million.

What sparked the lawsuit in the first place was hail damage to Knowles’ Miller County home. He claimed in the lawsuit that Standard Fire didn’t pay enough of his claim to cover a general contractor’s overhead and profit, which is 20 percent of an estimated job. Knowles said his Standard Fire agent never told him he was entitled to receive the money for the contractor.

Taylor said in the filing that Standard’s total amount of damages and attorneys’ fees of $5,024,150 for the proposed class is wrong. He calculated it at $4,997,837, a dispute of just $26,313 but huge in that the lower figure would allow the plaintiffs to keep the case in the county court that has been so lucrative in the past.



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