United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
Marshall Jr. United States District Judge
Ridgell's official-capacity claim against Mayor Debe
Hollingsworth is dismissed without prejudice.
the reasons stated on the record at the 1 May 2018 hearing,
the Defendants' motion in limine, Nq 34, is
partly granted and partly denied. By agreement, no one will
mention that the Arkansas Municipal League may pay some of
any judgment. The League's provision of defense counsel
is out of bounds, too. The Court will inquire about
connections to the League during voir dire. The related-case
issues will be handled as discussed: no mention of the Jones
settlement; otherwise, Defendants' request for exclusion
is overruled with directions to both sides to keep the proof
about the other disputes/cases to the essentials.
Court is attaching its working drafts of (1) the voir dire,
(2) the preliminary instructions, (3) the final instructions,
and (4) the verdict forms. Please file any suggestions for
the voir dire, and objections to the preliminary
instructions, by Friday, 11 May 2018. We'll discuss the
draft final instructions and draft verdict forms several
times during the trial.
Court forgot to say that counsel should have twenty-minute
openings prepared. We'll try to do them Monday afternoon,
but they may happen Tuesday morning.
• Thank you for serving. Echo “Called to
• A morning of speaking the truth, voir dire =
twelve people good and true.
• All week.
• Urgent or extraordinary obligations this week?
• Rules of the Road:
- Can I be completely fair and impartial?
- Can I decide the case based solely on the
evidence seen and heard in this courtroom, the law as
explained by the Court, and my common sense?
- Questions and Answers. You = you and your
- Raise your hand, state your name, and
- Can answer at the bench if uncomfortable
answering a particular question in front of others.
- Eighteen, but all-Notepads.
- Questionnaires. Summary. Confirm lawyers
- Case Sketch-Not evidence, just background
This is a civil case. In June 2007, Albert Ridgell was
hired by the City of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as the City
Collector by then-mayor Carl Redus. Debe Hollingsworth
was elected mayor in November 2012, and was sworn in the
following January. About seven months later, in July
2013, Mayor Hollingsworth discharged Ridgell. He was
reinstated in August, after appealing his discharge to
the City Council. Ridgell was again discharged by Mayor
Hollingsworth in October 2013. Ridgell contends that he
was discharged because of his race, and in retaliation
for having opposed discriminatory practices by Mayor
Hollingsworth and Pine Bluff. Mayor Hollingsworth and
Pine Bluff deny those claims. They say Ridgell was
discharged for unsatisfactory job performance and
- Plaintiff = Albert Ridgell
Lawyer = Austin Porter Jr.
- Defendants = City of Pine Bluff, and
Mayor Debe Hollingsworth
Lawyers = Amanda LaFever & John Wilkerson
- Witnesses [Read Lists]
- Know the parties? Lawyers? Witnesses?
Call Eighteen, But All - Notepads
General Background Questions
• Know other panel members? Know lawyers or Court staff?
• Legal training or experience? Deal with the law
regularly through work?
• Prior jury service?
• Prior court experience? Sued or been sued? Witness?
• Religious convictions against sitting in judgment?
• Negative feelings about civil justice system?
- Too many lawsuits?
- If sue, then win?
answer about you and your immediate family; approach to
answer sensitive questions
• Employed in personnel or human resources?
• Anyone ever employed by a city? A city-funded program?
• Any prior experience with the Arkansas Municipal
League? Ever worked for the League or done business with it?
Arkansas Association of Counties? Southern States Police
• Anyone work regularly with Pine Bluff? With any city?
• Any experience with, or connection to, Pine Bluff?
• Any strong opinions about Pine Bluff?
• Any strong opinions about Mayor Hollingsworth?
• Anyone ever experienced race discrimination on the
job? Gender discrimination?
• Anyone ever made a claim or complaint about
discrimination on the job?
• Anyone ever been retaliated against for opposing
Juror Question Time
The Unasked Question?
Lawyers' Follow-Up Questions? Fed.R.Civ.P. 47(a).
Strikes for Cause. Fed.R.Civ.P. 47(c).[*]
I. Peremptory Challenges. Fed.R.Civ.P.
• Three each side.
• Challenging Strikes. Race or Gender? Batson.
Seat and Swear Jury.
“You and each of you do solemnly swear or affirm to
well and truly try the matter now on trial and render a true
verdict according to the law and the evidence.”
Thanks and Goodbye venire.
DRAFT PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS
INSTRUCTION NO. 1
and gentlemen, I will take a few moments now to give you some
initial instructions about this case and about your duties as
jurors. At the end of the trial I will give you further
instructions. I may also give you instructions during the
trial. Unless I specifically tell you otherwise, all these
instructions-both those I give you now and those I give you
later-are equally binding on you and must be followed.
the judge of the law and you are the judges of the facts. As
judges of the facts, it's your duty to determine the
truth from the evidence and the reasonable inferences arising
from the evidence. In making your factual decisions, you must
not engage in guess work or speculation.
a civil case. As I said, in June 2007, Albert Ridgell was
hired by the City of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as the City
Collector by then-mayor Carl Redus. Debe Hollingsworth was
elected mayor in November 2012, and was sworn in the
following January. About seven months later, in July 2013,
Mayor Hollingsworth discharged Ridgell. He was reinstated in
August, after appealing his discharge to the City Council.
Ridgell was again discharged by Mayor Hollingsworth in
October 2013. Ridgell contends that he was discharged because
of his race, and in retaliation for having opposed
discriminatory practices by Mayor Hollingsworth and Pine
Bluff. Mayor Hollingsworth and Pine Bluff deny those claims.
They say Ridgell was discharged for unsatisfactory job
performance and insubordination.
all the evidence, you will decide what the true facts are.
You are entitled to consider all the evidence in the light of
your own observations and experiences in the affairs of life.
You may use reason and common sense to draw conclusions from
facts that have been established by the evidence. You will
then apply those facts to the law that I give you in these
and in my other instructions, and in that way reach your
verdict. While you are the sole judges of the facts, you must
follow the law, as stated in my instructions, whether you
agree with it or not.
allow any sympathy or any prejudice to influence you. The law
demands of you a just verdict, unaffected by anything except
the evidence, your common sense, and the law as I give it to
should not take anything I may say or do during the trial as
indicating what I think of the evidence or what I think your
verdict should be.
INSTRUCTION NO. 2
mentioned the word “evidence.”
“Evidence” includes the testimony of witnesses,
documents, and other things received as exhibits, any facts
that have been stipulated-that is, formally agreed to by the
parties-and any facts that have been judicially noticed-that