Jackson County

Attorneys want state Supreme Court to cite SRHS judge for contempt

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD/2015 
 Judge Breland Hilburn listens to attorneys during court in June. Hilburn recused himself from some SRHS cases on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD/2015 Judge Breland Hilburn listens to attorneys during court in June. Hilburn recused himself from some SRHS cases on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 SUN HERALD

Attorneys for about 200 retirees of the Singing River Health System in Jackson County have filed a petition with the state Supreme Court saying Chancery Court Judge Breland Hilburn's stepping away from some of the SRHS cases and not others is contempt of court.

Attorneys Earl Denham and Harvey Barton filed a 22-page petition summarizing the year-long case that began when the hospital system tried to terminate the pension of retirees without notice and is now in the process of a federal settlement and class action suit.

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Denham and Barton's petition filed Monday began:

"The facts of this case are more akin to a John Grisham novel than a typical case."

It asked the court to consider that this case, "concerns a fraud involving approximately $150 million" and "at this point, no criminal charges have been filed, nobody has yet been determined to have any personal liability for the fraud and the only participants who lost jobs are hospital trustees, essentially volunteers who get paid $150 per meeting.

"The trustees have become the scapegoats for an entire system run amuck, and with a few top executives at the helm making financial decisions to utilize a large amount of money for other purposes which was owed into a retirement plan of Singing River Health System."

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