Chief Justice recuses on tort reform, casino cases

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 476 views 

Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Kemp has recused from hearing cases involving Issues 1 and Issues 4, the tort reform and casino amendments.

Kemp previously testified to the state legislature in opposition to a portion of Issue 1 that dealt with that branch overseeing judicial rule making.

Kemp disclosed his recusals in a letter on the web site of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Issue 1 would cap attorney fees, limit damages in personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death lawsuits, and give the legislature the authority to control the rules of court procedure.

Issue 4 would permit casinos in four Arkansas counties – Garland, Crittenden, Pope, and Jefferson – with two of the casino licenses being granted to Oaklawn and Southland. Tax revenues generated by the casinos would be distributed to the state’s general revenue fund, to cities and counties in which the casinos are located, and to the Arkansas Racing Commission for purses for horse and dog races.

Both proposals face legal challenges and are being considered by the state’s high court.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has not taken a position on the tort reform proposal but who has stated opposition to the casino amendment, will fill Justice Kemp’s position for hearing the cases.