published Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Judge recuses herself from Erlanger motions hearing

A former Erlanger employee who claims the health system's board of trustees violated open meetings laws will have to wait a bit longer for his day in court.

Hamilton County Sessions Court Judge Marie Williams recused herself Monday from hearing motions filed by Patrick Kellogg against the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority board of trustees.

Kellogg last week asked the court to halt Erlanger's hiring of Kevin Spiegel as its new chief executive because he says the board violated open meeting laws during the search process. The case was assigned to Williams and set for a motion hearing Thursday.

On the same day of Kellogg's filing, the hospital board voted for a three-year, $680,000 annual contract for Spiegel.

According to Williams' office Monday, the judge is stepping away from the filings because of a close relationship she has with Dr. Phyllis Miller, who is the judge's doctor.

Miller led the search committee which recommended Spiegel.

Kellogg, who is not a lawyer, said Monday he will continue his work, despite the possibility that delays may hurt his efforts.

The case is set to be assigned to a new judge Thursday and then placed on the next motion hearing calendar the following week.

"Whatever maneuvers that are happening -- if they are coincidence or if it's actual -- I have to deal with that, make my case to the judge and let the courts decide," Kellogg said.

Pat Charles, Erlanger spokeswoman, said Friday legal counsel is reviewing Kellogg's filings and could not comment further.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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