Supreme Court asks for briefs related to new CON law

August 7th, 2011 No comments

A month after it took effect, a law designed to streamline the appeals process related to certificates of need is having its constitutionality questioned by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

The court entered an order July 28 asking for briefs from Attorney General Jim Hood, the Mississippi Department of Health and Dialysis Solutions, LLC, that will address the constitutionality of the new law, which passed in the last legislative session.

House Bill 826 allowed healthcare providers wanting to appeal a final ruling from the MSDH over a CON application to do so directly to the state Supreme Court; previously, appeals went first to a chancery court. The bill cleared both chambers overwhelmingly, and became law July 1.

The supreme court’s order is related to Dialysis Solutions’ appeal of the MSDH’s decision not to revoke the CON for one of its competitors that wanted to open a treatment center in Winona. Dialysis Solutions argued earlier this month that the CON for Renal Care Group had expired and had been improperly extended by the MSDH.

Attorneys for Dialysis Solutions,  MSDH officials and Hood’s office did not respond to emails or phone calls seeking comment last week.

Two law professors who spoke to the Mississippi Business Journal both said that the supreme court asking for briefs on the law indicates it has qualms about it.

“I suspect the Court thinks (or at least strongly suspects) the statute is unconstitutional,” Christopher Green, who teaches constitutional law at Ole Miss, wrote in an email.

In an interview with the MBJ, Mississippi College’s Matt Steffey agreed, calling the elimination of the chancery court as the court of original jurisdiction and handing it to a court that normally only has appellate jurisdiction “quite unusual. In the overwhelming majority of instances in both the state and federal systems, appellate jurisdiction means that a lower court first considered the matter.”

When it was first ratified in 1890, section 146 of the Mississippi Constitution said that “the supreme court shall have such jurisdiction as properly belongs to a court of appeals.” In 1984, that language was amended, narrowing the supreme court’s appellate jurisdiction to “those specifically provided by this Constitution or by general law.” The new language included only one exception, allowing the Legislature to provide original and appellate jurisdiction to the supreme court in appeals from administrative agencies that are responsible for approving or disapproving rates public utilities seek to charge their customers.

“The certificate of need is different, it would seem, from rates charged by a public utility,” Steffey said. “In my mind, the interpretation is two-fold: Is this jurisdiction that properly belongs to an appeals court? It eliminates any review by a lower court. When you read that in conjunction with the second sentence (of section 146) that specifically gives the Legislature authority to give original jurisdiction over utility rates, that would strongly suggest that the constitution doesn’t contemplate that direct appeals from administrative agencies are properly within the jurisdiction of an appellate court. I think there is room for argument here, but it seems, just textually speaking, the most natural reading is that utility rate cases are different, and that this isn’t a utility rate case.”

A possible argument for the constitutionality of the new statute, Steffey said, is that 1984’s modification to section 146 was the work of overly cautious drafters, and that the language is meant to be read harmoniously, with each provision having its own meaning. “But that’s not the most natural reading of that language, in my judgment.”

Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, wrote HB 826 and it was his Public Health and Human Services Committee that sent it on its way through the Capitol, where it cleared the House and Senate unanimously. Holland said in late July that he expected it to be a step toward eliminating altogether the CON process, which the MSDH uses to keep down healthcare costs.

“It’s still a good law,” Holland said last week. “I’m OK with it. This will just keep us in a holding pattern until the Court makes its decision.”

Categories: News Tags:

Coast candidates have tough hills to climb (literally)

August 3rd, 2011 1 comment

Until graduation from Ole Miss, I lived in North Mississippi. Ackerman, Starkville, Pontotoc and then Oxford.

I still have kin in Ackerman, Starkville and Pontotoc. Even though Jackson is where my house and office are, the hill country is home, and always will be.

With that background, I’ve known for many years that folks in North Mississippi — more specifically, Northeast Mississippi — don’t think much of the Coast, as a general rule. Consequently, they don’t think much of statewide candidates from the Coast. The reasons are varied. The Coast is too much like Louisiana, and Louisiana has New Orleans, so the Coast is like New Orleans, and that makes it bad.

Then there are the casinos, which are a major hang-up for some of my relatives. The Coast has the casinos, they surmise, so candidates from there are in cahoots with the gambling business, and that makes them bad. Never mind that most every elected official from the hill country is pro-casino in one form or another. That’s not the point, and it’s also not the point to poor-mouth folks for having a bias against the Coast. That street runs both ways.

The point is this: No matter how hard they work or how much money they spend, statewide candidates from the Coast do not stand a chance in North Mississippi. Period.

Tuesday’s elections made me believe that more than ever. In the northernmost vote-rich areas, Billy Hewes and Dave Dennis were wiped out at the ballot box.

In the GOP primary for governor, Phil Bryant won DeSoto (80%), Lee (66%) and Lowndes (74%) counties comfortably. Take a look at that DeSoto total again. It’s not a misprint.

The Republican primary for lieutenant governor didn’t go any better for Hewes. Tate Reeves easily won DeSoto (65%), Lee (62%) and Lowndes (65%).

Those numbers held true in the smaller counties, too.

It doesn’t matter if you win other vote-rich GOP counties like Madison and Rankin and Lauderdale, all of which Dennis and Hewes lost. If you get beat that badly in North Mississippi, your campaign is sunk. There’s no other way around it.

It’s not like Hewes and Dennis didn’t spend time and money up north either. I know they did. The first time I interviewed Dennis was more than 18 months ago, and he was on his way back from speaking to (if memory serves) the Tupelo Rotary Club.

Hewes’ and Dennis’ individual campaign itineraries that arrived daily in my inbox on plenty of occasions had Southaven, Tupelo, Columbus, New Albany, Batesville, Ripley, wherever – name a town, it was on there.

I didn’t expect Hewes and Dennis to win any of those counties, because Bryant and Reeves had big advantages in money and name-recognition, but those margins look made-up.

Will there be a Coast candidate on the statewide ballot in 2015?

Can anybody break the Curse of North Mississippi?

The numbers say no.

Categories: Casinos, Elections, News, Politics Tags:

Nash, Taggart make their predictions

August 1st, 2011 No comments

Political analysts and authors Jere Nash and Andy Taggart offered Monday at the Stennis Capitol Press Corps luncheon their predictions for how Tuesday’s elections will go. Without delay, here they are:

Taggart, who served as chief of staff for former Gov. Kirk Fordice, likes Phil Bryant to win the Republican primary for governor, and to win it handily. “The only surprise that could be left in that race is if Phil is drawn into a runoff with Dave Dennis, and I don’t think that’s likely,” he said.

Taggart made it a point to say he supports Bryant. In the lieutenant governor’s race, Taggart said he was solidly behind Billy Hewes, who he predicted would pull off what would be an upset and beat Tate Reeves. “(Hewes) has come a long way really fast,” Taggart said.

In the down-ballot races, Taggart was less decisive. He said there will almost certainly be a runoff among two of the three GOP candidates for treasurer, the race he said was the hardest to handicap, and that any two of the three — Lee Yancey, Lucien Smith and Lynn Fitch — could make the runoff. Also headed for a runoff, Taggart said, is the agriculture commissioner’s race. Max Phillips and Cindy Hyde-Smith, both Republicans, have run strong ground and media campaigns, but Taggart stopped short of  predicting who would win should a runoff become reality.

Nash made what we thought was the most interesting point regarding the statewide races: In the last two election cycles, 2003 and 2007, the candidate for a statwide office who has spent the most money has won that race. “It will be interesting to see if that holds this year,” Nash said, noting that if it does, Bryant, Reeves and Smith would win.

In their most recent campaign finance filings, Phillips and Hyde-Smith both reported raising nearly identical amounts of money (about $150,000), so that race is a sure-enough toss-up, at least in the financial sense.

Nash spent the majority of his time at the podium on the local legislative races. He concedes that it will require a minor miracle for the Democrats to control the Senate. The fight to control the House — something Republicans have made a priority to pave the way for a GOP Speaker — “will be very, very close,” he said. 

As for the three initiatives — eminent domain, personhood and voter ID — Nash and Taggart agree that they will all pass overwhelmingly, should they survive legal challenges and actually be on the ballot.

Categories: Elections, News, Politics Tags:

New law whittles appeals chain for healthcare providers

July 31st, 2011 No comments

A bill that became law July 1 will streamline the certificate of need process for healthcare providers, but could also be the beginning of the end for the entire CON process, said a key House committee chairman.

House Bill 826, passed last session, provides a direct appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court for hospitals dissatisfied with a CON ruling from the State Department of Health. Before a hospital can expand, build a new facility or purchase certain equipment, the department of health must first grant a CON for the project. Previously, if the agency denied a provider’s CON, the first route of appeal was to a chancery court. Often, though, the final decision would lie with the Mississippi Supreme Court. The new law eliminates the chancery court from the appeals chain.

“We’re having a problem with (litigation) on all CONs and the CON process,” said Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, the bills’ author and chairman of the Public Health and Human Services Committee. “What that does is hold up the progress of healthcare for sometimes two to three years. It always winds up in the supreme court anyway.”

One CON fight that is currently before the state’s high court is the back-and-forth between  St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson and Florida-based Health Management Associates, which recently opened a new hospital in Canton. St. Dominic wants to build a satellite facility in Madison, but HMA has opposed those efforts, citing the redundancy of two major hospitals within 10 miles of each other. The department of health ruled in HMA’s favor last August, and a Madison County chancery judge affirmed that ruling last December.

The two sides are in the process of submitting briefs to the supreme court.

According to an attorney who represents St. Dominic, this new law would have saved the hospital a lot of time and money.

“For example, we had an order (denying) the Madison County CON from the department of health on Aug. 26, 2010,” said Jonathan Werne, of the Brunini Firm in Jackson. “Well, we immediately appealed that to the chancery court, both parties briefed it, and Judge Cynthia Brewer in Madison County issued a decision on Dec. 22, 2010. We then appealed that decision like seven days later (to the Mississippi Supreme Court). So there’s a four-month process that we could have avoided, saving time and expenses to both sides.”

Paul Arrington, vice president for business development at St. Dominic, said the bill’s time- and money-saving design is its main purpose, but it could also potentially serve to quicken the availability of new medical care. “The sooner you get a decision, the sooner you can start providing whatever the healthcare system delivery is. It’s not just purely about time and money.”

The bill cleared each chamber of the Legislature unanimously.

“Why the hell go through appeals?” Holland said. “Why the hell drag it on? Let’s just send it straight to the top and cut out the middle man.”

With CON-streamlining bill now a statute, Holland said he expects the legislative session that starts in January to include at least one bill aimed at eliminating more than the middle man.

“In my heart of hearts, I believe this is, quite frankly, a clarion call for the abolition of CONs. I believe pretty strongly in the free enterprise system. I believe we’re to the point, with the maturation of the healthcare delivery system, that CON has held down costs. There’s no doubt about that. But certainly, I think all of this is leading to us getting into the 21st century and getting rid of CONs.  They’re becoming obsolete.”

Legislation that would have eliminated the CON process has passed the House before, but has died in the Senate.

“We talk about it fairly often, publicly and privately, but nothing has happened yet,” Holland said.

Categories: News Tags:

First Craft Beer Week offers thanks, promotes culture

July 31st, 2011 No comments

It wasn’t quite a victory lap, but there was plenty of celebrating last week for the first Mississippi Craft Beer Week.

Gov. Haley Barbour made Craft Beer Week with a proclamation, and Raise Your Pints took it from there, using the time to hold 23 events across the state to promote the state’s fledgling craft beer culture.

Raise Your Pints is a nonprofit, grassroots organization that has unsuccessfully tried the past few legislative sessions to raise the alcohol-by-volume cap on beer made and sold in Mississippi, and to legalize homebrewing.

Butch Bailey, president of RYP, said last week’s craft beer-focused get-togethers had two missions.

“It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ to these venues, like Brent’s Drugs and Hal and Mal’s and places like that, who have supported us and to say thanks to the individuals who have  donated money and called their legislator and helped us.

“And the other point of this (was) to show the powers that be that this works. We’ve got over 23 events all over Mississippi in one week and we packed the house on every one of them. People will pay a lot of money for this, we’ll all act responsibly, we’ll all have a good time and people will make a lot of money. This works. This is an event literally built around this type of beer product, and yet the next morning the world didn’t end, nobody got killed, people acted responsibly. Wow, what do you know?”

This past legislative session was the third attempt by RYP and the lawmakers who sponsored their bills to reform the state’s beer laws. At 5 percent, Mississippi’s ABV cap is the lowest in the nation, making it illegal to make and sell 86 of’s Top 100 Beers in the World. Homebrewing beer is illegal. Bills to raise the ABV cap and to legalize homebrewing have died in committee each of the past three sessions. Raising the ABV cap would allow for a broader selection and keep beer aficionados from having to travel across state lines – taking the tax money with them — to buy something other than the 14 percent of the Top 100 that is available here. Each of the states that border Mississippi has a higher ABV cap, and has seen homegrown breweries take root.

Last week’s events weren’t meant to bemoan political roadblocks, Bailey said.

“It’s a fundraising tool for us. Not all the events are set up that way, but some of them are, and it raises awareness. This is not a fringe thing. It’s not a bunch of people going out to the riverbank and drinking to get drunk. It’s different, and this is our way to try and educate the state about this.”

The money raised will help defray the costs of the lobbyist RYP has hired, something Bailey says proves the membership of RYP – none of whom are paid – “care that deeply about advancing Mississippi’s craft beer culture. It’s a big thing, and it’s going to take a lot of work.”

Jackson-based lobbyist Hayes Dent, of Hayes Dent Public Strategies, has lobbied for RYP the past few months. Bailey said the group hopes to raise enough capital between now and the start of the next legislative session in January to keep Dent on retainer.

In an interview with the Mississippi Business Journal last week, Dent said the benefits of the RYP legislation are popular with politicians.

“This is a jobs bill,” he said. “This is economic development, pure and simple. This is about helping Mississippi be competitive with other states. This is a new industry, and nobody argues the fact that we need new and better-paying jobs in Mississippi. These guys are on to something.”

One of those guys is Brad Reeves, who owns the popular Jackson soda fountain Brent’s Drugs and who sits on RYP’s board of directors. Brent’s served as a venue for one of the Craft Beer Week events.

“Being a neighborhood place, we can get some folks in the Belhaven and Fondren neighborhoods who might be familiar with Brent’s but who might not be familiar with Raise Your Pints,” Reeves said. “And of course, the idea is to look at changing the beer laws in Mississippi to allow for more beer and more options.”

Categories: News Tags:

Vicksburg’s business community returning to some normalcy

July 25th, 2011 No comments

The first week of May, business owners along Vicksburg’s Washington Street corridor were preparing for the Mississippi River to unleash a flood the likes of which the city hadn’t seen since 1927.

They were also preparing for a slow-to-non-existent summer tourist season. Nearly three months later, the water has receded, and the bulk of the summer has passed. The results were mixed, with the water’s threat contributing to a bump in business before the bottom fell out in June.

Daniel Boone, who owns Highway 61 Coffeehouse on the northern end of Washington Street, said there was a strange dynamic in May: As the water levels a few hundred yards out his front door rose to a crest of 57.1 feet, so did traffic at his coffee shop.

“During the high water, business was great,” Boone told the Mississippi Business Journal in an interview last week. “We had so many people coming to see the really dramatic view of the flood that was basically across the street from us. We had lots of media and lots of just sight-seers. That was great for a week and a half.”

It didn’t last. Once the river reached its crest, the rubberneckers who had flocked to Vicksburg to catch a glimpse had lost interest. “The novelty was gone,” Boone said. Also gone was a lot of the out-of-town business Boone said makes up about 20 percent of his overall take.

The malaise extended through June, and Boone’s fears of the high water scaring away tourists – even though the rural areas outside the city limits were the areas affected the most – were realized. The busloads of tourists that show up to gamble at Vicksburg’s casinos – only one of which was closed – and to patronize the local businesses that make up the Washington Street area disappeared. Boone said June was “way down” from previous years. “What I was mainly concerned about was that people, especially foreign travelers, when they had travel plans, were going to see the news and cancel their plans, and that’s what happened.”

July, though, has offered hope. The same international travelers who stayed away in June have started to trickle back in, Boone said. Within the past week and a half he has had customers from Romania, Germany and England in for a cup of coffee.

“That’s always my gauge on (Vicksburg’s tourism economy) is the international people we get in here,” Boone said. “We’re in a down economy, so we’re just looking for degrees (of upward movement). We do feel like it’s started to turn back up a little bit, even though the hot summer here is never that great for a coffeehouse anyway. I think we’ve already maybe seen the worst of it.”

Down the hill from Highway 61 Coffeehouse, the worst of the flooding is over for Mary Landers. Whether the worst of its effects have passed is still unsettled. Discount Furniture Barn, which has been in Landers’ family since the 1970s, closed completely for a month, Landers said, its access road that runs parallel to the riverbank submerged. It reopened right after the Fourth of July.

Two weeks before she had to close her store, Landers said the access road was impassable, so even though she was open, her customers had trouble reaching her. The same was true nearly two weeks after she opened back up.

““Everybody knows how bad the economy has been,” she said last week. “And this certainly didn’t help me any.”

Landers said her building did not take on any water, but it came within two feet at the front door and one foot at the back door. The 57.1 foot crest was a touch lower than the National Weather Service’s original estimate.

““If it had crested at 57.5 feet it would have been in the building,” she said. “I was very lucky. Loss of business is the biggest deal. I guess we’re back to normal. It’s still slow, but it’s been slow for some time now. I’ve had some foot traffic, but it’s not like it used to be. That’s everywhere, though, not just me.”

Categories: News Tags:

MDA, MSU will try to revive ‘tired’ stripcenters

July 25th, 2011 No comments

A retail trend that started right after the end of World War II has become a modern problem, and the Mississippi Development Authority is starting the process of finding a solution.

Stripcenters, retail clusters that could feature everything from supermarkets to department stores, were one of the most visible products of the post-war U.S. economic development boom.

Often situated on the outskirts of downtown areas, they replaced the more traditional one-stop shopping areas that had flourished before the proliferation of the automobile.

With small and mid-size communities now diverting their retail opportunities back to the downtown areas, the worm has turned. The downtowns stripcenters stripped vacant 70 years ago are returning the favor. Empty stripcenters often quickly become blighted. The “Tired Stripcenter Program,” a partnership between the MDA and the Carl Small Business Center at Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, is designed to revitalize them.

“We’ve got a great Main Street program here in Mississippi,” MDA interim executive director Leland Speed said. “You go around and you start looking at all these towns, and they’re starting to get their act together with their downtowns. But to get there, you have to leave the highway and drive past a bunch of old closed department stores or Sunflowers or Jitney Jungles or something like that. They’re depressing. They’re just downright ugly. Every dang town is cursed with these things.”

Speed himself was in on the development of a stripcenter in Jackson, in the Fondren area where a hardware store and a whole foods store now sit. “So I’m guilty,” he said.

The biggest problem with stripcenters, Speed said, is their average shelf life is only between 15 and 20 years, meaning the ones built long after the post-war era have outlived their usefulness.

“The retailing universe changes,” he said. “The store isn’t the right size or the chain gets killed by competition, or something. We can’t just sit here and be victims. We have to develop an active response.”

Federal government policy has done its part to contribute to the explosion of stripcenters and the eyesore they become when they’re empty, said John Poros, director of the Carl Small Business Center. Readily available loans from the Federal Housing Administration and the Interstate Highway Act of the mid-1950s made the box-shaped stripcenters concrete gold mines. That all changed when their tax depreciation method was lowered to seven years, down from 40.

“With that, it doesn’t make sense to build something that’s long-lasting and you take care of. It makes sense to build something cheap,” Poros said.

Speed and Poros agree that pumping life back into the outdated stripcenters will require plans of action as varied as the tenants they once housed.

“You have to take an overall approach,” Poros said. “Maybe there are places to redevelop the strip to become a different program. You might get multi-family housing. You might begin to think about using parts of the strip for civic purposes or even parks and other (venues for) recreational activities. People are looking for things like that more and more when they go out to shop. All these lifestyle centers are doing very well because they understand that. Figuring out how to bring that sort of sensibility to the commercial strip is important.”

Connecting the revamped stripcenter’s new tenants to one another – as opposed to their entrances being exclusively around the edges – will have to be a common theme. “That can become a way to revitalize aesthetics, which is so important to the retail environment,” said Poros, who added that no specific communities have been targeted yet for the program.

“There are a lot of different tools, and every different place is different. It’s clear that people in their preferences are going more toward these places where they can find everything in one place, which really goes back to the old town centers where you can go one place and find everything that they need and also have a pleasant experience there. If you can build it into people’s daily lives, that’s a pretty powerful thing.”

Details of a seminar the MDA and the Carl Small Business Center hope to conduct this fall are being finalized.

 “We’re still working on what exactly we’re going to do,” Poros said. “There will certainly be a kickoff meeting about this, but we’re still trying to figure out when and where.”

Categories: Economic development, News Tags:

Wang: GreenTech on track for production this year

July 20th, 2011 No comments

In a couple months, it will have been two years since GreenTech Automotive CEO Charles Wang showed up in Tunica and announced his plans to manufacture electric hybrid sedans and sports cars there.

Since then, GreenTech has acquired a company that built the MyCar, a neighborhood electric vehicle, and said it would build that in Horn Lake in the old Dover Elevator building, hopefully by the end of the third quarter.

We recounted all of that in a story in this week’s Mississippi Business Journal. What didn’t make the story is any comment from GreenTech, due to us not having received a response from a company spokesperson before we sent the paper to the press.

Tuesday afternoon, we got a reponse to a list of questions we submitted. Among the questions were if the MyCar production was still scheduled to start this year, if construction had started on the Tunica facility, what sort of timetable GTA had for starting production in Tunica, and for an update on the raising of private capital via the EB-5 Visa investment program. Through the EB-5 program, foreigners can acquire permanent residency status by investing a minimum of $1 million into an economic development project in the U.S., or $500,000 in a project in an economically depresseed area.

Tunica would qualify as an economically depressed area, so we’ve been operating under the assumption that EB-5 money related to its GreenTech facility would have to meet the $500,000 minimum. We’ve been unable to confirm that, though, because GreenTech has been short on details in the rare public comments it makes.

The same was true of its latest offering.

“We are making progresses in accordance with our business plan and we will have our SOP (start of production) this year,” read an emailed statement attributed to Wang. “We have already begun construction in Tunica.”

So it sounds like the MyCar will start rolling off the lines in Horn Lake sometime this year; whether it’s by the end of the third quarter is still unclear. And Tunica? Construction has apparently started on the facility, but when production will start is a secret only GreenTech knows, and it’s not telling.

Marcus Dupree endorses Bill Luckett — but what about Ron Williams?

July 14th, 2011 No comments

Magnolia Marketplace has made a habit of not paying much attention to political endorsements. That’s because they rarely mean much of anything. There are exceptions, but not many.

So when Democratic candidate for governor Bill Luckett announced Thursday morning that Marcus Dupree, who a lot of folks think is the best high school football player Mississippi has ever produced, had endorsed the Clarksdale lawyer, it was strange. Why? Because Dupree endorsed GOP candidate Ron Williams back in February. You can view video of Dupree making official his affinity for Williams here.

Dupree worked for Williams’ hazardous material clean-up company after the oil spill, which probably had a lot to do with his original decision to endorse the Moss Point businessman.

We reached Williams on his cell phone, and he said he had been made aware of Dupree’s switch this morning.

“Marcus is a good guy,” Williams said. “It is what it is.” Williams added that he was under the impression that Dupree was trying to get Morgan Freeman,who’s been a big part of Luckett’s campaign, to back a movie about Dupree’s life, which would explain the flip.

Williams didn’t seem overly bothered by Dupree’s decision, probably because of what we mentioned earlier — these things rarely pack any real voting punch. “But I’m starting to understand why Jackson is so messed up,” he said of the weird things politics can make otherwise reasonable people do.

 And this is among the weirdest we’ve seen in a while.

Categories: Elections, News, Politics Tags:

Hood wants the GCCF, Feinberg to open the books

July 12th, 2011 1 comment

Real quick, here’s the full press release from Attorney General Jim Hood’s office.

Attorney General (AG) Jim Hood has filed a petition with the Court to force the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) and its administrator, Kenneth R. Feinberg to obey an AG subpoena pertaining to certain documents relevant to an investigation of the BP claims process.

 “Mr. Feinberg and the GCCF have continually made promises of compliance, but have failed to fully provide necessary information despite our repeated requests and reasonable efforts to resolve the issues,” said Attorney General Hood.  “All they have managed to do is delay, deny, deceive and dissemble.”

 The Attorney General’s Petition, filed in Hinds County Chancery Court today, asks the GCCF and Feinberg to respond to the subpoena that was served in February.  The petition says that the Attorney General has reason to believe that the GCCF and Feinberg may have violated or may be violating the Consumer Protection Act, and that he needs the documents requested in the subpoena to make this determination. 

 “We hope that by asking a court to open up the GCCF claims process for review, we will be able to ensure that victims of last year’s oil spill are being adequately and fairly compensated for their losses,” said Attorney General Hood.  “My job is to protect the citizens of Mississippi.”

Categories: Gulf Coast oil spill, News Tags: