Before I get started with some links how about a nice picture from yesterday’s retiree protest at Ocean Springs Hospital:
It appears the lawyers representing the pension plan, finding no joy on their manufactured recusal motion here on the coast expects the State Supreme Court to stop next weeks hearings on the retiree suits:
They are doing this to avoid having to produce documents that would help everyone get to the bottom of things. You wonder what kind of skeletons are buried in those docs as I am reminded of something I wrote last month:
By their actions SRHS has demonstrated a preference for keeping a law firm with major conflict questions involved in the pension litigation and using that firm’s support of Judge Harris’ opponent in last year’s election as a lever to force Harris off the case. The heart of the Harris recusal motion is predicated on that fact. Remove Dogan & Wilkerson from the equation and the Harris recusal motion they filed goes up in smoke. Simply put, the powers running SRHS must fear Judge Neil Harris more than they do their own legal conflicts. The implications of that fact are stunning and foretell a tale of major muck still being hidden.
Once those documents are produced, my prediction is the SRHS pension plan’s law firm, Dogan and Wilkinson will not be long remaining on the case.
So now we have Jackson County spending big money on the Laporte CPA firm while SRHS spends big money on their own actuary. The price of getting religion at SRHS sure is steep folks.
In other news the fallout from Supervisor William Martin’s indictment and suicide continues. I have been told by sources in Jackson that the Martin indictment is related to the MDOC corruption probe. The timing of former MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps guilty plea and the Martin indictment are not coincidental in my opinion.
Sometime back when the SRHS pension plan fiasco first entered the news cycle, the gang at the Hospital had an early set of talking points that included yammering about how the plan was a public sector plan and that ERISA did not apply (Slabbed debunked those talking points here). Today of course the pension plan litigation is back in state court exactly where SRHS originally said it belonged in those early statements. Except now they do not like the Chancellor assigned to the case.
Quietly and behind the scenes Slabbed has been getting some sage legal analysis from the local legal community. As is often the case I can’t disclose any of what has been shared but what I can do is point to what we already know and maybe gain a few clues about the forces at play. In short this is not about the Health System as much as it is about the folks that control it and the scrappy group of retirees that aren’t going down without a fight. We start with the latest:
The Sun Herald linked a copy of the recusal opposition from retiree Cynthia Almond to accompany the story and it is a must download and read. Retiree lawyers Harvey Barton and Earl Denham turn the Hospital recusal motion on its head, pointing out the glaring legal conflicts that exist between SRHS and its law firm, especially at the time the acts that are the subject of the litigation were perpetrated.