Burress, et al v. Union Pacific, et al

Filing 457

LETTER ORDER re witness list. Signed by Judge William R. Wilson, Jr on 5/27/09. (bkp)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS RICHARD SHEPPARD ARNOLD UNITED STATES COURTHOUSE 500 W. CAPITOL, ROOM D444 LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS 72201-3325 (501) 604-5140 Facsimile (501) 604-5149 May 27, 2009 Mr. Robert L. Henry , III Barber, McCaskill, Jones & Hale, P.A. 400 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 2700 Little Rock, AR 72201-3414 Mr. Kirkman T. Dougherty Hardin, Jesson & Terry - Fort Smith Post Office Box 10127 Fort Smith, AR 72903-0127 Re: Dear Counsel: In 2004, when this case was based on negligence and violations of the safety compliance act only 5-6 days was the estimate.1 Why six days for what should be a pared down case? Please advise. Issues of contributory negligence have been excluded and I have determined that there was, indeed, potential liability. The only issues for trial appear to be (1) whether the settlement amount was reasonable in view of Plaintiffs' injury, pain and suffering, lost earnings, and loss of consortium; and (2) whether the settlement was made in good faith based on Defendants' risk of exposure (which is analyzed based on the attorneys' and corporate representatives' beliefs in light of the information available at the time of settlement). None of the witnesses below appear to be able to testify as to issues relevant at trial, as I understand them (this is not an all inclusive list): Mr. Dan Tinkle (ConAgra shift supervisor who witnessed the accident); Mr. Langley Puckett (a Transportation Specialist/Engineer who is ConAgra's "top guy in Batesville," who "inspected the safety appliances" on each rail car); Mr. Fern Sampson (a trainmaster for the Railroads); Mr. Richard Martin (a ConAgra employee with information about whether the couplers were working properly); Mr. Harvey Crouch (a civil engineer who wrote a report on the accident scene and knows regulations); and numerous EMTs and emergency room doctors. Cordially, /s/ Wm. R. Wilson, Jr. Original to the Clerk of the Court cc: Other Counsel of Record Burress v. Union Pacific Railroad, et al, 1:01-CV-00072-WRW In 2004, the Railroads estimated only five days (Doc. Nos. 195, 196) and ConAgra predicted six days for trial (Doc. No. 198). 1 Page 1 of 1

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