Webb v. Riceland Foods, Inc., 08:-CV-01048-WRW, Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division (November 4, 2008).
Really rotten tomatoes! Fightin’ mad onions! Awfully mean beets! Genetically modified foods! At our morning blog meeting the images that were conjured by mentioning this mutagenic term were quite frightening. Soylent Green is PEOPLE!
Dawn of the Dead type stuff; scary stuff man. Heck, Juan Jillbourn, one of our analysts, was under the table, screaming his 10 gallon hat was feeling 5 gallons flat.
After our fears that we would be turned into zombies from ingesting genetically modified foods were allayed, and Juan regained his composure, we realized that what we were really talking about was just plain old Evil Corn.
Man, those are some nice teeth.
In a span of two weeks, a case about Evil Corn popped kernels of excitement throughout the CAFA universe. (Wow, that was corny. Ouch, worse. At least it wasn’t another case about Herbecide Resistant Round-up Ready Soy Bean.
Anyway, a purported class of persons who “engaged in the production of long-grain rice for sale in the State of Arkansas in 2006” filed suit in Lonoke County, Arkansas seeking damages of all sorts. The case was removed under CAFA, and, of course, our plaintiffs sought remand.
At first, the Judge was equally horrified at just how stale his evil pop-corn tasted, and ordered remand. His analysis was simple: less than 2/3 of the class members were plaintiffs, so mandatory remand under the home-state controversy wasn’t warranted. However, the discretionary remand exception was in play because more than 1/3 of the plaintiffs, as well as the defendant, were from Arkansas. The court weighed six factors towards remand, and decided that evil corn was bad. He kicked their rotten tomatoes back to Lonoke County, Arkansas state court.
Alas, the defendants sought reconsideration. Reconsideration? Of remand? Can they do that? The Court said yes, under CAFA there were provisions for reconsideration or appeal of a remand decision without the loss of jurisdiction by the district court. Quite a nifty provision. The defendants complained that one of the six factors, not the four food-groups, had been decided incorrectly. It was the sixth: whether there were similar class actions pending in other federal courts.
At the first hearing there was no evidence presented of additional class actions regarding this subject. On reconsideration, the bad carrots came to light. Come to find out there were at least two other similar class actions pending in federal courts regarding these same subjects. Thus, the Judge decided to retain jurisdiction and fight the evil corn himself. Click here for the second decision by the Judge. Uniformity and efficiency demanded it!