Hospital sues Ammon Bundy, others involved in Boise protests over child welfare case
BOISE, Idaho — St. Luke’s Health System has filed a lawsuit against far-right Idaho gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy and others involved in a slew of protests in March related to a child protective services case — protests that prompted the hospital to go on lockdown.
The St. Luke’s complaint was filed in Ada County on Wednesday, with Bundy; his activist organization, the People’s Rights Network; and Diego Rodriguez, a Bundy campaign adviser and the grandfather of the child involved in the case, as named defendants.
Other defendants are Bundy’s campaign, and a website and political action committee operated by Rodriguez.
In March, police took custody of a 10-month-old baby at a gas station in Garden City after authorities said they feared the baby’s weight loss was potentially life threatening. Bundy drove to St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center that same evening and eventually was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing.
Over the ensuing days, protesters gathered at St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center, where they believed the baby was being cared for, and at the private homes of individuals involved in the case.
“The complaint alleges there was a concerted effort to disrupt St. Luke’s business through false statements related to care and repeated defamation of St. Luke’s parties,” said a Wednesday statement from St. Luke’s.
The hourlong lockdown “interfered with St. Luke’s ability to provide care for our community,” according to the statement.
“It is important for us to stand up to the bullying, intimidation and disruption, and the self-serving and menacing actions of these individuals, for the protection of our employees and patients, and to ensure our ability to serve our community,” St. Luke’s President and CEO Chris Roth said in the statement.
The lawsuit aims to force the defendants to cease “ongoing harassment and to remove defamatory and false material they have posted and shared online,” according to the St. Luke’s statement. It also asks for $50,000 in damages, which the hospital said would be donated to a St. Luke’s program that evaluates children for alleged abuse.