Saturday, January 16, 2016

Judges accused of misconduct in Singing River case.

Singing River Health System retirees accused the judges presiding over their lawsuit against SRHS of misconduct.  The plaintiffs filed an emergency motion with the Mississippi Supreme Court yesterday.  They charged the judges and several lawyers in the case held a secret meeting to discuss the case on January 12.  The motion states:

Due to serious concerns regarding the impartiality, bias, and ongoing conduct of Judge L. Breland Hilburn and Special Master Brett Singletary, the Special Master appointed by Judge Hilburn to oversee the discovery, interviewing witnesses, and obtaining expert consultation, Plaintiff filed a motion to recuse both Judge Hilburn and Special Master Singletary on or around December 4, 2015. The hearing on the motion to recuse was set for January 13, 2016 at 9:00 am. As was Plaintiff's Motion to Resume Discovery.

At approximately 4:51 p.m. on January 12, 2016, Plaintiffs counsel received an unexpected e-mail order from Judge Hilburn. In said e-mail, Judge Hilburn announced that he was staying the Jackson County Chancery Litigation i.e. plaintiff's lawsuit. The stay, though noted to be Temporary Stay, has no set end date, and may continue in perpetuity.

Plaintiff was left stunned.

Prior to issuing said Order cancelling Court on January 13, 2016, and thereafter, Judge Hilburn attended a clandestine, ex parte meeting the very day of his extraordinary Order, January 12, 2016, with numerous members of the Defense Counsel and other attorneys with interest adverse to Plaintiffs. The secret meeting was held at the law office of Special Master Britt Singletary in Biloxi, Mississippi, and ended less than an hour before Hilburn entered his e-mail order staying Plaintiff's litigation. This meeting was never noticed and Plaintiff and her attorneys were not intended by the attendees to learn about the meeting.

The secret meeting with Judge Hilburn was attended by the following attorneys, all of whom have interests adverse to or conflicting with the Plaintiff:

1. Attorney Brett Williams, a partner with the Dogan and Wilkinson Law Firm, the law firm representing Singing River Health System, and son of Roy Williams, long time counsel for Singing River Health System who was also a partner with Dogan and Wilkinson and only left the practice approximately one month after this litigation began;
2. Attorney Kelly Sessums of the Dogan and Wilkinson Law Firm, the law firm representing the Singing River Health System;
3. Attorney and former Judge Steve Simpson, the Special Fiduciary appointed by the Court to represent the interests of all of the plan beneficiaries;
4. Attorney William "Billy" Guice of the Rushing and Guice Law Firm, special counsel hired to represent Jackson County, Mississippi;
5. Attorneys James "Jim" Reeves and Matthew Mestayer of the Reeves and Mestayer Law Firm, counsel for approximately eight plaintiffs in the Federal Class Action lawsuit, who are referred to as the "Lay" Plaintiffs;
6. SRHS Retirement Plan Trustee, Scott Taylor who was recently appointed Trustee of the Singing River Health System by John McKay;
7. Special Master Britt Singletary, appointed by Judge Hilburn to facilitate discovery; and of course
8. Judge L. Breland Hilburn, Chancery Court Judge over the Singing River Health System Litigation, appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Each of the aforementioned parties can be seen on the film labeled Exhibit 1- Video Camera "1," Exhibit 2- Video Camera "2," and in the set of still images taken from the video labeled as Exhibit 3- "Still Images 1-9." The secret January 12, 2016, meeting clearly violated numerous ethical rules applicable to the attorneys present and, most importantly, the Code of Judicial Conduct which requires Judge Hilburn and Special Master Singletary to remain impartial and forbids them from engaging in such ex parte communication.

The Plaintiffs are filing for an emergency hearing by the Mississippi Supreme Court as the only venue where the Plaintiffs may obtain justice. This case involves a local government divided in a One Hundred Fifty Million dollar ($150,000,000.00) conspiracy and fraud affecting as many as three thousand two hundred (3,200) plan beneficiaries, all of whom have been employed by the Singing River Health System. What started as a travesty for the retirees of the hospital has now been exacerbated due to the judicial corruption of the special Judge appointed by this very court and his appointed Special Master, Britt Singletary. Judge Breland Hilburn, who was appointed to replace Chancellor D. Neil Harris, has by his actions, forced Attorneys for the majority of the Plaintiffs to file a motion for the Judge to recuse himself. In the Chancery action for discovery and accounting, the Judge has intentionally delayed and refused discovery, refused to make the Defendants follow the law, and has been so opposed to the undersigned Plaintiffs' counsel that there is not a semblance of fairness or justice.

The recusal motion, amongst other motions, was set for hearing on January 13, 2016. On January 12, 2016, Judge Hilburn had a secrete ex parte meeting with most of the attorneys representing interests opposed to the Plaintiffs represented by the undersigned counsel, as well as the Court appointed special fiduciary and a newly appointed Trustee of the hospital. At the conclusion of the meeting, Judge Hilburn sent out an e-mail at 4:51 pm canceling the next days hearing under the guise of judicial economy regarding the parallel pending Federal Court Class Action Certification. All state court actions have been stayed by Judge Hilburn pending his further orders if necessary. This order was in furtherance of the conspiracy between Judge Hilburn and most of the defense attorneys along with a few of the Plaintiffs' attorneys, Jim Reeves and Matthew Mestayer, who stand to make in excess of six million dollars ($6,000,000.00) in attorney fees in the class action for entering into a despicable deal with the County and Singing River Health System that does not protect the retirees in the future, and provides no guarantee of future payments.

Judge Hilburn knowingly and intentionally violated multiple Judge Hilburn knowingly and intentionally violated multiple Judicial Canons when he attended and participated in the clandestine meeting with the above mentioned attorneys. The attorneys involved have committed ethical breaches for which they should all be sanctioned, and the trustee and fiduciary have violated their duty to protect the retirees and plan beneficiaries. This conspiracy is in furtherance of a previous conspiracy to terminate the plan benefits and
extinguish the debt that the Health System owed to the plan for failure to make their share of the plan contributions since 2009, and likely prior, as well as lost earnings.

This case demands the immediate attention of the Supreme Court to protect the integrity of the entire judicial system in Mississippi.

However, Judge Singletary denied any wrongdoing took place.  He told WLOX:

Singletary confirmed a meeting took place at his office Tuesday afternoon.

"There was nothing secret about it," Singletary said. "It had nothing to do with any pending motions in state court. It was about the federal court case."

Singletary said when the meeting began, Judge Hilburn made it clear the meeting would focus solely on the status of the Singing River Pension Fund and the status of the federal court case related to the proposed class action settlement. According to Singletary, since the meeting was not about the state case and Denham and Barton have refused to join the federal settlement, there was no obligation to include them in the meeting.

"The state court cases were severed, so they had no right to be there," Singletary said.

A proposed class action settlement to fund the retirement plan is pending before U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola. A hearing in that case is scheduled for Wednesday morning. Rest of story.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see how this is covered in the Clarion Ledger.

Informal Secret Santa Meeting said...

Unrelated, but isn't Simpson the same guy, who as a judge, was sanctioned by the Supreme Court for ordering a state agency to employee a certain unemployed representative from the said unemployed man could get another year in order to retire on the PERS system?

And we are surprised that men of this questionable caliber are found to have attended a clandestine meeting?

Anonymous said...

This state is corrupt to its very core.

Anonymous said...

Judges and Lawyers taking care of themselves......old news nothing to see here.....move along.

Only difference between them and the thugs on the street is that the judges and lawyers bury misdeeds in leagaleeze that no one but themselves can understand and they get away with it.

Anonymous said...

State-court meeting about fed-court status? Not telephonic but in person? Not impossible, but odd.

Anonymous said...

And one wonders why Mississippi is the most corrupt state in the Nation. Thanks to people like these and former judges and attorneys ( tobacco lawsuit), we wonder if you can ever get a fair trial if you go to court. By the way, has anyone heard from Mike Moore lately? Or did he get enough off the tobacco money which so happened to be deposited in a bank in Pascagoula, where he was from.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the post recalling the prior misconduct of the lawyer who was a judge back then?

Anonymous said...

Judges and lawyers are just as crooked as the normal people. They are just in a position to get away with their thefts. There is always some one who will defend their right to steal from people.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget this all began with current Mississippi Baptist Medical Center CEO, Chris Anderson. Time to send him back!

Anonymous said...

It's Breland Hilburn on the bench. Did anyone expect anything less than a circus?

This is the same guy who issued error-riddled midnight orders to help out Team Dickie in Wilson v. Scruggs.

That same case is the one that DeLaughter inheirited from Hilburn. That same case is the one over which DeLaughter would go to jail. Dickie too.

Dickie was willing to bribe DeLaughter, but didn't feel the need to bribe Hilburn? You have to ask yourself why.

Anonymous said...

5:43 - think you might have your judges confused unless of course there were two such situations. Judge Buffington (no longer on the bench after having been beaten at the last election) ordered the Simpson County Board of Supervisors to hire former Justice (and former Representative) Oliver Diaz so that poor Oliver could get one more year in PERS.

Anonymous said...

This filed by attorneys that use their personal relationship to get appointed on cases all the time and have conversations outside the view of opposing counsel as well. If all parties are present, there is nothing wrong with it. The attorneys complaining admit that they refused to be part of meetings and had to be ordered by the Judge to finally attend one. I find it extremely strange that they refused to be part of meetings but then complain when meetings happen when they aren't there.

All The Lawyers said...

@1:37 ~ Thanks Kingfish. It would have taken fewer keystrokes to just accept the post and type 'different crooked guy'.

Anonymous said...

The lawyers that the State Court Judge met with represent a group of plaintiffs in the Singing River Hospital pension fiasco. They are pushing a federal class action court settlement that will pay themselves around $6 million dollars in fees. The lawyers filing the complaint against the State Court Judge, Hillburn, DO NOT wish for their clients, around 200 plaintiffs and former Singing River Hospital employees, and "stiffed" pensioners, to be a part of the federal class action suit, or to be forced into it, or to be forced into accepting it's settlement agreement.

Anonymous said...

Never heard about a class action suit where the lawyers didn't screw the people that were supposed to be their clients. It is just a legal way for lawyers to steal.

Anonymous said...

"Clandestine? Seriously?
January 17, 2016 ~ scottctaylortrustee

When I was appointed to the SRHS BOT eleven months ago, "

"If a secret meeting occurred where the presiding trial judge of the Chancery Court cases met with his appointed Special Master, his appointed Trustee, the SRHS attorneys,"

Anonymous said...

1:37 here. (1) no, I'm not KF and (2) yeah,could have done that but I like to remind folks what a crooked and sorry Judge that Buffington was. Chose not to follow your process - didn't know that made me a bad guy. May I please have your forgiveness since you evidently are the one charged to make sure all comments are appropriate and in proper style?

Kingfish said...

If I'm not mistaken, wasn't that Buffington and Diaz?

Anonymous said...

SRHS trustee, also a lawyer, has piped up defending his presence.

Yes, that Scott Taylor. The architect of Dickie Scruggs' claims in Wilson/Luckey v. Scruggs.

Anonymous said...

Can someone blow that picture up? Does the sign in the window say anything about "Home Cookin" or the hours they are open for bidness?

Anonymous said...

"Singing River Health System’s newest trustee, Scott Taylor, has resigned from that position. He said Harvey Barton, the attorney representing more than 200 retirees who have sued the hospital system over its failed pension plan, made comments on social media that could be perceived by some as a “call to arms.”"

Anonymous said...

Hilburn gets in his response. Can anyone explain how this man passed an LSAT or the bar exam? Have his clerks been covering for him during his entire career? His composition skills are that of a sixth grader. Plenty more [sic] opportunities in this one.

One you get past the poor grammar, you have to start dealing with the feeble logic.

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya


Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Who is the hottest reporter?


Who is the Hottest Reporter in Jackson?

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS