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Judge denies request for recusal in privacy lawsuit against CoxHealth & CEO Steve Edwards

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 5:15 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A judge denied a request to recuse himself in a lawsuit involving a mother and CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards.

The case started over a tweet posted by Edwards in the summer of 2020. Samantha Cherry made a Facebook post about her experience while trying to schedule a virtual visit. Her son suffered from swimmer’s ear. CoxHealth leaders asked her to use the promo code ‘COVID’. She said in her post she would not associate the word ‘COVID’ with her son.

Edwards tweeted about free telemedicine for the uninsured. He wrote a coupon code is required in the insurance field. Edwards said in the tweet, ‘I regret anyone would think it is part of a conspiracy theory.’ The tweet included a screenshot of Cherry’s Facebook post. It showed Cherry’s profile photo, name, and her son’s name.

In a Greene County courtroom Tuesday, Cherry asked for Judge Michael Cordonnier to recuse himself on the appearance of bias. She claims Judge Cordonnier represented Ferrell Duncan clinic in the past when he was an attorney. She also claimed he made a donation to the CoxHealth Foundation.

“I feel like I’m not getting fair treatment here,” said Cherry. “I know my rights. I feel as though I’m sticking up for myself and based on who the other party is, I’m not getting fair treatment. I should be able to speak my story. I have not negatively said anything about anyone during any of these interviews”.

Judge Cordonnier responded.

“Not that I owe you an explanation but at that time my mother was in the hospital and my mother died,” said Judge Cordonnier. “She was provided such fine care by the nurses I made it a point to make a small donation to the CoxHealth Foundation in their name because they provided such good care to my mother at the time of her death.”

Judge Cordonnier said representing Ferrell Duncan Clinic in the past was of no consequence.

The judge denied the recusal request. Cherry is asking for $5 million in the lawsuit. The judge scheduled a jury trial for February.

A CoxHealth attorney declined to comment for this story.

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