Understanding the Good Ole Boy System: Steve Simpson Gets a Job

We have already told you about how Steve Simpson admits that he is lazy in reading the fine print and doesn’t understand how mortgages work. He is an attorney, remember. We have already told you with an income of $138,000+ he still couldn’t pay his property taxes on time, but could afford a 42 foot boat.

Simpson has no real pension or trust experience, little complex litigation experience, and limited commercial experience.  Most of his experience has been in criminal matters. (Ironic?)

So how did Simpson get the job?  He was appointed in by an outsourced judge (called a special master.)  Outsourced judges are brought in when matters are so complex that it would completely overwhelm one judge, or sometimes because the judge is extremely lazy.  That Special Master was Britt Singletary.   We’ll come back to Singletary in a minute. Continue reading

Attorneys File for Big Fees in SRHS Pension Case

You can bring your enemies to their knees
With the possible exception of the North Vietnamese.
It takes a strong hit from the money machine

James Taylor – Money Machine

Jim Reeves and co. have filed for approval of the final settlement with Singing River Health System.

They also have an extensive filing in support of their $6.5 million fee.

Read the documents here: Continue reading

Swiss Cheese Chronicles: Nailing Down a Sequence of Events

With all of the responses in to the Mississippi Supreme Court, it’s time to start sorting out what exactly happened.  The responses are lacking, but we endeavor to distill truth and fact from what has been presented to the Court.  They have a tremendous undertaking before them.

We first wish to understand the sequence of events at the meeting.  There are two different versions of this.  Judge Hilburn’s story follows the pattern A – B – C while almost everyone else follows the pattern A – C – B.  The below statements are verbatim excerpts from each response; we have only removed sentences or phrases that were not pertinent to the sequence of events.

Judge Hilburn:

  • A – I immediately told them there would be no discussion of any state court matters.
  • B – I inquired as to the status of the federal court litigation;
  • C – I told those present they would not need to appear at the Jackson County Courthouse the next day, that I had prepared an email temporarily staying the state court litigation and canceling the hearing scheduled at 9:00 the next day.

Sessoms & Williams:

  • A – Judge Hilburn subsequently arrived, and again it was mentioned that there would be no discussion about the Chancery Court cases.
  • B – Plaintiffs’ Counsel, Jim Reeves, who represents clients in the Jones litigation, but not in the Almond litigation […] discussed the Jones Federal Court litigation.
  • C -Judge Hilburn announced he was staying all proceedings pending the Federal Court litigation. He also said that he was cancelling the hearing set for 9:00 AM the next day.

Incredibly, Sessoms & Williams response differs from their earlier response to the Court on behalf of SRHS.  In that version, Judge Hilburn announced the stay at the beginning of the meeting and not at the end.  It appears Sessoms & Williams sequence of events changed after having the benefit of  Judge Hilburn’s statement. See below. Continue reading

Swiss Cheese Chronicles: Sua Sponte or on Motion of the Parties?

In reading the responses to the Miss. Supreme Court, the phrase “missing the forest for the trees” springs to mind.  It seems that all parties involved have become so focused on the competing federal and chancery cases, they forget the underlying and undeniable facts.  Subsequent to the ex parte hearing, six separate orders were entered in the Almond and Lay cases.  These are orders that were a result of action taken at the January 12 meeting.

  1. Order Granting Motion to Intervene by Special Fiduciary
  2. Order Authorizing Special Fiduciary Trustee to Enter into Settlement and Release
  3. Order Authorizing Payment of Special Fiduciary Fees
  4. Order Approving Invoice for Payment by Parties
  5. Order Approving Fees and Expenses of Charles J. Mikhail
  6. E-mail order staying all cases and cancelling hearings

These are facts that are not in dispute. Some lawyers are now making claims which fly in the face of facts and the record of the court. Continue reading

Supremes to Hilburn: Explain Your Stay

The Mississippi Supreme Court today ordered Judge Breland Hilburn to explain his reasoning for entering a stay in the Almond case.  Judge Hilburn has until noon Wednesday to file his response.

Filing responses today were former SRHS Trustee Scott Taylor, SRHS attorneys Kelly Sessoms and Brett Williams, and Jackson County attorney Billy Guice.

The responses of Special Master Britt Singletary, Special Fiduciary Steve Simpson, along with plaintiffs’ attorneys Jim Reeves and Matt Mestayer are due tomorrow.

Order to Judge Hilburn
Response of Billy Guice
Response of Sessoms & Williams
Response of Scott Taylor

Timeline of Ex Parte Meeting

Billy Guice entered Singletary’s office at 2:26 p.m. Guice is alone with Singletary for 52 minutes until 3:18 p.m. when Scott Taylor arrives.

  • 2:26  Billy Guice arrives
  • 3:18  Scott Taylor arrives
  • 3:24  Jim Reeves & Matt Mestayer arrive
  • 3:27  Kelly Sessoms & Brett Williams arrive
  • 3:28  Breland Hilburn arrives
  • 3:37  Steve Simpson arrives
  • 4:04  Everyone begins to leave
  1. Billy Guice represents a non-party to the Lay case
  2. Billy Guice represents a defendant in the Almond case
  3. Singletary is Special Master in the Almond Case
  4. Billy Guice was in Singletary’s office 52 minutes before the next party, Scott Taylor, arrived
  5. Scott Taylor sits on the board of SRHS, also a defendant in the Almond case

If counsel for non-parties to Lay were invited to this conference, surely counsel for KPMG would have been as well. Maybe someone at Brunini or Sutherland can inform us.

Emergency Motion Filed at Supreme Court – Alleges Judicial Corruption

Attorneys Harvey Barton and Earl Denham have filed a motion with the Mississippi Supreme Court asking for an emergency hearing on their cases in the Singing River pension matter.
Barton and Denham point to video of a secret meeting by the judges in the case and attorneys from SRHS and for other plaintiffs.

The motion alleges a secret meeting was held at Special Master Britt Singletary’s Biloxi office. The meeting concluded less than an hour before Judge Hilburn issued orders on several motions before canceling hearings scheduled the next day. Hilburn has put an indefinite pause in place on all of his cases related to SRHS. A motion asking Hilburn and Singletary to recuse was still pending when Hilburn ordered the pause.

Attendees of the Tuesday, January 12, 2015 meeting are alleged to include:

  • Judge Breland Hilburn
  • Special Master Britt Singletary
  • Special Fiduciary Steve Simpson
  • Brett Williams, attorney for SRHS
  • Kelly Sessoms, attorney for SRHS
  • Scott Taylor, SRHS trustee and also a licensed attorney
  • Billy Guice, special counsel for the Jackson County Board of Supervisors
  • Jim Reeves, attorney for one group of plaintiffs
  • Matt Mestayer, partner with Jim Reeves, attorney for plaintiffs

Reeves, Guice, and attorneys for SRHS have recently signed a settlement agreement which seeks to stop all litigation against Singing River.

Barton and Denham’s motion asks the court to:

  • Allow the cases to continue
  • Remove Judge Breland Hilburn from overseeing the cases
  • Remove Britt Singletary as special master in the cases
  • Remove Steve Simpson as special fiduciary
  • Remove Dogan & Wilkinson, Brett Williams and Kelly Sessoms from representing SRHS
  • Remove Jim Reeves and Matt Mestayer from representing anyone in connection to the case
  • Remove Scott Taylor from his position as a trustee of SRHS
  • Appoint a new judge to oversee the cases

SRHS Watch will update this story as more information comes available.

Read the 57 page motion here.

 

Will Taxpayers Bear Burden of Attorneys’ $6.4 Million Fee?

“I am most proud of the fact that, as part of the settlement, retirees who worked hard for their benefits will not have to pay any fees or expenses for the recovery of their pension,” Reeves said.

Excerpt from press release of Reeves & Mestayer

Doug Walker repeated the statement nearly verbatim in the lead up to his interview with attorney Jim Reeves. While those statements don’t tell the whole story they are certainly true.  Under the agreement reached by Reeves and Billy Guice, retirees will not have to pay attorneys’ fees or expenses directly, because the taxpayers of Jackson County will likely do so. Continue reading