Hearing scheduled for contested Ark. class action

Michelle Keahey Oct. 4, 2012, 1:12am


TEXARKANA, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - On Thursday, Miller County, Ark., Judge Kirk Johnson is scheduled to hear arguments on a motion to stay a class action case that is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lawyers for Plaintiff Greg Knowles and for the defendant Standard Fire Insurance Co. are expected to argue over whether their case should be placed on hold while the Supreme Court decides if a plaintiff like Knowles can defeat removal to federal court by stipulating, on behalf of unnamed class members, to seek less than less than $5 million.

In the Circuit Court of Miller County, Knowles filed the class action lawsuit on April 13, 2011 against Standard Fire Insurance Co. claiming breach of contract. Knowles argues that Standard Fire failed to pay for general contractors' overhead and profit charges associated with damage to his home caused by hail on March 10, 2010.

The insurance company is also accused of fraudulently concealing its obligation to pay similar charges to its insured throughout the state of Arkansas.

With various arguments under the Class Action Fairness Act, Standard Fire removed the case from Miller County Circuit Court to federal court in Arkansas. However, the case was remanded back to Miller County based on the plaintiff's limited damage stipulations. Standard Fire attempted to appeal the remand to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, but was denied.

The Supreme Court granted certiorari in September and oral arguments are expected in the early part of next year.

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