Ammon Bundy won’t respond to lawsuit, so St. Luke’s takes more legal action
Ammon Bundy and his partner Diego Rodriguez are not following court proceedings in a lawsuit that stems from a child protection case, according to new court filings.
Bundy ignored a court order and Rodriguez is nowhere to be found, according to motions and affidavits filed this month by St. Luke’s Health System and its other plaintiffs – St. Luke’s CEO Chris Roth, the hospital Boise health system and two health care. suppliers.
The lawsuit filed in May accused the men and their closely related political organizations – People’s Rights Network and Freedom Man PAC – of defamation and harassment.
Rodriguez’s grandson was hospitalized in March at St. Luke’s with severe malnutrition and was placed in child protection.
Idaho extremists target judges, prosecutors and health workers in doxxing campaigns
Rodriguez, Bundy and their supporters urged people to protest at St. Luke’s, doxxed health care providers associated with the boy’s medical care and, according to the lawsuit, halted operations at the Boise hospital.
At one point, the hospital was closed for an hour and unable to accept patients in ambulances.
Bundy, Rodriguez and their organizations launched “a knowingly dishonest and baseless smear campaign,” according to the lawsuit. The men made false claims, including that St. Luke’s “engaged in large-scale kidnapping, trafficking, and murder of Idaho children.”
St. Luke’s on Friday asked an Ada County court to impose penalties on Bundy for refusing to respond to the lawsuit or provide information, “despite acknowledging to the public that he was at the aware of the trial and said in interviews that he planned to ‘expose’ the hospital,” one of the documents read.
Bundy “continues to make false and defamatory statements” and refuses to comply with court orders to turn over documents, St. Luke argued.
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Indeed, court records show nothing submitted by Bundy or Rodriguez in their defense. There is no record of Bundy following the court order to hand over St. Luke’s documents that they could use as evidence. (Bundy and Rodriguez may also request documents from St. Luke’s but did not appear to have made an attempt on Tuesday.)
St. Luke’s attorney had requested documents on Bundy’s People’s Rights Network and Rodriguez’s Freedom Man PAC, including: who operates or owns an interest in their websites; the legal structure and officials of the two organisations; and the identity of the persons who wrote or published the allegedly defamatory statements. They had until June 17 to respond.
The health system and its co-plaintiffs asked the judge to impose penalties on Bundy for flouting his legal obligations.
Instead of responding to the lawsuit in court, Bundy spoke about it during his gubernatorial campaign. He said in an interview that the lawsuit is “an opportunity to further expose (the hospital and other plaintiffs) because they’re pretty mean,” the motion says.
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They asked the judge to order Bundy to sit for a deposition where he would have to answer their questions about the website and who controls People’s Rights Network, and to order him to pay the deposition fee.
“Bundy has demonstrated a tendency to ignore court orders,” he said, citing the prison sentence Bundy received after he tried to reclaim hours he spent on his gubernatorial campaign as community service, against the instructions of a judge.
This story “demonstrates that penalties less than those requested would not be effective,” the motion reads. Bundy’s “obstructionist and deceptive behavior (wasted St. Luke’s time and money),” he said.
“Because Bundy’s actions demonstrate indifference to the judicial process and disregard for the harm it causes others, and because Bundy’s refusal to obey the court order is not substantially justified … (St. Luke’s and its co-plaintiffs) are entitled to their reasonable costs, including attorneys’ fees,” the sanctions motion stated.
According Idaho Rules for Civil Suitsthe judge could consider Bundy’s conduct a contempt of court, could skip the trial and simply rule in favor of St. Luke’s and the other plaintiffs, or could impose other types of penalties.
Bundy was served trial on May 12. But Rodriguez has managed to avoid being officially served with the trial since mid-May.
The person hired to find and deliver the lawsuit and summons attempted to serve Rodriguez at three different addresses over a two-day period. At each address, someone answered the door but said they didn’t know Rodriguez, or a neighbor said they didn’t know “if anyone lived in that apartment,” the summons said. The server went to one of Bundy’s campaign events in Meridian a week later on May 21, but couldn’t find Rodriguez there either.
Finally, he sent the summons by certified mail to addresses in Boise and Orlando, Florida.
Earlier this month, St. Luke’s attorney requested that Rodriguez be served via newspaper publication.
“It appears that Mr. Rodriguez can no longer reside in Idaho,” Holland & Hart attorney Erik F. Stidham wrote in an affidavit.
“Furthermore, I have learned that there appears to be a material tax lien against Mr. Rodriguez put in place by the State of Idaho,” Stidham wrote. “The existence of the tax lien raises concerns that Mr. Rodriguez left the state to avoid prosecution in the state of Idaho.”
Idaho State Tax Commission filed a lien in November against Rodriguez for $138,392 in unpaid taxes, according to a tax lien search by the Idaho Capital Sun.
The affidavit notes that Rodriguez publicly commented on the lawsuit and, after reading it, continued to make allegations similar to those described in St. Luke’s complaint.
“Despite being aware of the lawsuit, Mr. Rodriguez made no effort to contact me or my company,” Stidham wrote.
A hearing is scheduled for July 12 in Ada County on motions to sanction Bundy and serve Rodriguez with the lawsuit by publishing a notice in a newspaper.