JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Thursday, the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) received approval from the Mississippi State Personnel Board to proceed with hiring the Jones Walker law firm to move forward with civil litigation filed on behalf of the agency in May 2022 to recover TANF funds from 38 parties named as defendants in the pending lawsuit.

According to MDHS, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch had already approved the proposed contract with Jones Walker.

“This litigation must go forward to accomplish our stated goal of recovering and returning to the taxpayers the millions of dollars in misspent TANF funds,” said Bob Anderson, Executive Director of MDHS. “MDHS has selected Jones Walker, a firm of some 370 attorneys with offices and professionals in eight states and the District of Columbia, to continue with this important litigation. After talking with a number of firms, many of whom had conflicts with taking on this work, we selected Jones Walker because they are, in our view, the firm best suited to handle this matter and move it forward by continuing to evaluate claims against additional parties, written discovery, depositions, trial, and appeal, if necessary.”

Jones Walker has been named by BTI Consulting Group as part of its Client Service A-Team. Kaytie Pickett and Adam Stone will lead the Jones Walker team representing MDHS.

“While Brad Pigott initiated and prepared the original complaint in this case, we believe that Jones Walker is who we need to finish the process of getting to final judgment and recovery of funds. They have a deep bench and are well acquainted with complex electronic discovery platforms, which will be crucial in a case like this involving hundreds and thousands of documents. We look forward to working with the team at Jones Walker,” Anderson stated.

Pigott was recently removed as the private attorney on the case.

Gov. Tate Reeves released a statement on MDHS hiring the Jones Walker firm in the case.

MDHS has announced their selection of a new law firm to handle our TANF litigation. They have a well-known reputation for integrity, and the full-service capabilities to handle the sweeping scale of this case. 
 
They will vigorously pursue this case—wherever it leads. They will eagerly cooperate with those criminal investigators whose mission is to get truth and justice for the misconduct that occurred during the previous administration. And they will leave no stone unturned in the effort to recover misspent TANF funds. 
 
This work is just beginning, and it may take years—but we will follow the facts wherever they go and pursue it for as long as it takes. That is what the state has done since I took office, and we will continue to do it aggressively.

Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Miss.)