Letter: Attorney in Divorce Case Says John Goodson is 'Broke'

Letter: Attorney in Divorce Case Says John Goodson is 'Broke'
John Goodson

Could it be that class-action attorney John Goodson of Texarkana has little to no income?

Goodson is divorcing Courtney Goodson, who, as you know, is an Arkansas Supreme Court justice. But don’t expect a quickie.

Courtney’s attorney, Lisa Ballard of North Little Rock, wanted financial statements from John, who is a partner at the law firm Keil & Goodson in Texarkana and a principal at the Washington Advocacy Group LLC lobbying firm in D.C. (He’s also chairman of the board of trustees of the University of Arkansas System.)

Matt Keil, representing his partner in the divorce, met with Ballard in her office.

“At that meeting, Mr. Keil provided roughly 100 pages of deeds, mortgages, portions of tax returns, self-prepared spreadsheets, but no evidence of accounts or assets, and Mr. Keil represented that the law firm, Keil & Goodson was failing and had little to no income,” Ballard wrote in a May 10 letter to Judge David Laser of Jonesboro. “In a word, Mr. Keil stated that Mr. Goodson was ‘broke.’”

John Goodson’s affidavit of financial means, which was provided by Keil to Ballard, also listed Goodson’s income as $0.

Ballard said in her letter to the judge that Goodson hasn’t complied with her discovery requests and she doesn’t know if he’s really broke. She filed a motion asking Laser to compel John Goodson to cooperate.

Keil said in his court filings that Goodson’s discovery responses were as detailed as could be. And he said he has made a “good faith attempt to resolve these issues,” according to his April 3 letter to Ballard that was filed in the case.

Keil didn’t return a call for comment, and a hearing date hadn’t been set as of Thursday morning.

Goodson and his firm have been involved in dozens of class-action cases resolved with hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a strategy Goodson routinely used to force settlements in Miller County Circuit Court was a violation of federal law.

And in 2016, Goodson and other lawyers were reprimanded by P.K. Holmes III, chief federal judge for the Western District of Arkansas, for engaging in “forum shopping” in a class-action case. Goodson and others appealed the order to the 8th U.S. Court of Appeals, which overturned Holmes’ ruling.