The Center of Class Action Fairness (CCAF) was appointed as a special amicus curiae to defend the judgement of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, which reprimanded five plaintiffs’ attorneys for acting in bad faith for the improper purpose of forum selection.
Instead of protecting the interests of their clients, plaintiffs’ attorneys signed a settlement to dismiss the case from federal court, where it had been removed, and immediately refiled in Arkansas state court, which was more likely to approve their questionable fee request. The settlement provided plaintiffs’ attorneys $1.85 million in fees, but only provided class members at most $300,000. After learning about this agreement from the Arkansas Business newspaper, the district court judge ordered that the attorneys show cause why they should not be sanctioned. After two rounds of briefing and hearings, the district court issued reprimands to five of the fifteen attorneys that had appeared, finding that these counsel abused the judicial process in bad faith. CCAF filed the brief following appointment as amicus by the Eighth Circuit because there was no appellee to defend the district court’s decision.
On July 25, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed the judgement of the district court ruling the plaintiffs attorneys did not violate the law.