BOISE, Idaho — The latest update in St. Luke's lawsuit against anti-government activist, and former gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy includes a deposition and a default ruling in St. Luke's favor, as ruled by Judge Lynn Norton Monday morning.
The judge's order follows months of absence on Bundy's part, who has not been in attendance for any of the legal proceedings. In the ruling, Judge Norton stated Bundy along with the others named in the suit, Ammon Bundy for Governor and People's Rights Network, failed to plead or otherwise defend against the complaint within the time allowed by law. It is expected that the Gem County Sheriff's office will be serving Bundy the paperwork swiftly.
In an interview with KTVB today, Gem County Sheriff's Office said deputies stopped by twice this morning to see if he was there but he wasn't. The second time there were 2 people's rights people there. There was no information on when Bundy would be served the legal papers.
Bundy and his People's Rights Network announced there is a Bar-B-Que at his house tonight at 6:00p.m.
"Lisa and Ammon Bundy are hosting a BIG BBQ at their house tonight. Come eat Bundy Beef cooked on the Traeger and enjoy the good weather and friends. If you want to camp on the green grass in the orchard you are welcome. Bring the whole family," the website states.
In case the Gem County Sheriff's Office needed to find him, they now know where he might be.
In the order of default, it states that Bundy had ample time and understood that he should have responded to prior legal actions.
"Defendants Ammon Bundy, Ammon Bundy for Governor, and People’s Rights Network have failed to plead or otherwise defend against the Fourth Amended Complaint within the time allowed by law," the order of default stated.
Judge Norton also ordered that the aforementioned groups sit for a deposition no later than this coming May. On the first, the groups must have identified a representative, and file all necessary paperwork by May 8. The judge ruled all the plaintiffs must sit for a deposition by no later than May 24, 2023.
There, the court will decide what penalties, if any, need to be applied. Bundy currently still has a warrant out for his arrest for contempt, related to the St. Luke's lawsuit. The deposition and default ruled in St. Luke's favor and Judge Lynn Norton ruled all the plaintiffs must sit for a deposition by no later than May 24.
The lawsuit stems from a days-long protest organized by Bundy outside St. Luke's in Boise over the baby taken by Child Protective Services (CPS). "Baby Cyrus" was removed from his parents after Health and Welfare determined he was malnourished and in imminent danger. The hospital also alleges Bundy has harassed, intimidated, and defamed several members of its staff.
Bundy claims that the child should have never been taken from his parents and, he has said that people should have torn the hospital down to go and get the baby.
The morning after the infant was hospitalized at St. Luke's Meridian, on March 12, Bundy was arrested for trespassing because he refused to leave the hospital. Bundy and his People's Rights Network. He then organized several days of protests at St Luke's in Boise, claiming the boy was "medically kidnapped" by doctors and child protective services.
The protest forced the hospital to go into lockdown for a couple of hours on March 15, out of fear which led to patients being diverted and not allowing visitors.
Two months later, in May of 2022, St. Luke's filed a lawsuit for defamation and several other claims, including invasion of privacy, against Bundy and his campaign and the People's Rights Network.
Attorneys for St. Luke's claim there was a concerted effort to disrupt hospital business. False statements were made about CPS, and the hospital and its staff were attacked online.
St. Luke's told KTVB it wants the harassment to stop and for the false and defamatory things that have been posted online to be taken down.
Last week, the judge issued a civil warrant for Bundy's arrest and St. Luke's attorney, Erik Stidham, asked for a "default judgment" in the case.
According to the court record, the arrest warrant was not issued because Bundy would not respond to the lawsuit or show up to any hearings; rather, it is related to charges of contempt of court. Judge Norton said Bundy is violating her orders.
This is where the civil case crosses the line into a criminal issue. This is the fourth time attorneys have brought up contempt issues in court.
Stidham said the judge put an injunction and protective order in place to stop Bundy, his People's Rights Network and others from harassing, threatening, and intimidating potential witnesses for their lawsuit.
He also said that they have proof, through Bundy's own statements, that he continues to harass, threaten and intimidate people. In court filings St. Luke's claims Bundy and his network encourage violence against their enemies by naming plaintiffs in the suit and continuing to make defamatory comments.
Bundy repeatedly claims he is being harassed, that the hospital wants it to get to the point where he is arrested and told KTVB, "I'm sure they want to destroy me."
Stidham said that they wouldn't have taken all of these steps if not for Bundy's actions.
"Not only not appearing in this case, but continuing to harass folks in violation of the judge's orders," Stidham said. "So there's a myriad of reasons why Mr. Bundy needed to be served with process. Now, had he appeared or had he been willing to accept service, none of this would have been required. So it's just disingenuous flat out for Mr. Bundy to say he's being served all these times. He's made that, he's created that."
In a phone interview with KTVB on May 20, Bundy said he will not show up to hearings or respond because he can't afford to pay attorneys to represent him and can't defend himself against St. Luke's powerful team of lawyers. He said the best way to, "logically mitigate damages is to allow them to get a quick default judgement," and then deal with the consequences.
Bundy said St. Luke's wants him to do something that will be beneficial to them, which is for him to get upset.
"I gave them that, and I wish I wouldn't have," Bundy said. "But it still doesn't change the fact they're harassing me."
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