JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The judge at the center of the Singing River Health System cases has recused himself from at least some of the proceedings. Judge Breland Hilburn will not preside over any cases involving attorneys Earl Denham and Harvey Barton.
The law firm alleged that Hilburn violated a Supreme Court order to hold a hearing on recusal motions. A judge ruled on Feb. 1 that the allegations by Denham and Barton did not require recusal, and denied the requests without holding a hearing. Barton then promised to appeal the ruling directly to the state Supreme Court.
According to a court document sent to WLOX, none of the nearly 30 lawyers involved in the litigation joined the motion by Denham and Barton which requested court and Special Master's recusal.
Hilburn's recusal only applies to cases being handled by Denham and Barton. According to Denham, Hilburn stepping down from only a handful of cases does not solve the problem.
"I don't think this judge should have anything to do with any of the cases in Mississippi," Denham said.
Barton said Hilburn's decision is "not acceptable," and he won't be satisfied until the judge is removed from all of the cases. Denham said he still plans to file an appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court, citing the "secret meeting" between Hilburn and the other attorneys.
Attorney Jim Reeves issued a statement Thursday lamenting Judge Hilburn's resignation:
Britt Singletary, the Special Master appointed to the case, released a statement saying Hilburn asked him to remain in that position: