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St. Luke's legal flub extends lawsuit against Ammon Bundy

St Luke's Hospital Building
Frankie Barnhill
/
Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho district court judge declined to levy sanctions against Ammon Bundy, his close associate, Diego Rodriguez, as well as organizations linked to the two, in a lawsuit brought by St. Luke’s Health System – for now.

On Tuesday, Fourth District Court Judge Lynn Norton said lawyers for St. Luke’s failed to serve the men with proper documentation of the lawsuit that should have included the Ada County Courthouse’s address and contact information for the clerk of the district court as required.

“I’m not trying to drag this out, but to me, if there’s not proper service, any judgment is void,” Norton said.

Earlier this month, she required both men to respond to the lawsuit within 14 days, but neither did.

Given the bureaucratic flub by lawyers for St. Luke’s, Norton said she would extend that deadline to Aug. 5.

Neither men, nor attorneys representing them, attended Tuesday’s hearing.

The medical group filed the lawsuit in May against the two men.

In court documents, St. Luke’s claims the men launched a “knowingly dishonest and baseless smear campaign” alleging the health system and its employees were complicit in the “widespread kidnapping, trafficking and killing of Idaho children.”

Rodriguez’s grandson was referred to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in March due to concerns over a health condition that had previously hospitalized him, according to the lawsuit.

Law enforcement told the Idaho Statesman the child’s parents then missed two follow-up appointments with their healthcare provider, prompting them to take the infant under the state’s care.

Rodriguez and Bundy organized protests at multiple locations within the health system, including one demonstration that prompted a lockdown of St. Luke’s downtown Boise campus.

The lockdown led to at least four patients in ambulances being diverted elsewhere,according to the Idaho Statesman.

Legal filings show Bundy, his gubernatorial campaign and another group he leads were all served with notice of the litigation.

The manager of a process server company said he could not find Rodriguez at multiple addresses to give him the legal paperwork notifying him of the case, according to court documents.

But according to a blog post on his website from June 30, Freedom Man,Rodriguez wrote he was now a resident of another country “where I will be for any future hearings anyway.”

Ultimately, St. Luke’s and its staff named in the suit want Bundy and Rodriguez to pay no less than $50,000 and a court order forbidding them from posting disparaging remarks against them.

Editor's note: St. Luke's is an underwriter of Boise State Public Radio but had no knowledge of, or involvement in, this story.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!