Anti-government activist Ammon Bundy, known for leading an armed occupation of federal land in Oregon in 2016, has been ordered to pay $26 million in damages to a Boise hospital, its CEO, a doctor, and a nurse practitioner. The lawsuit was filed by St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, after Bundy accused them of malpractice in the treatment of a child who was taken into protective custody by the police.
Bundy’s protests outside the hospital led to his arrest for trespassing. The child, who was suffering from severe malnourishment, is the grandson of far-right activist Diego Rodriguez, who was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The jury ordered Rodriguez and his “Freedom Man” organizations to pay $26.5 million in damages.
Accountability for Intimidation, Harassment, and Disinformation
St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center issued a statement saying that the jury’s decision “imposes accountability for the ongoing campaign of intimidation, harassment, and disinformation these defendants have conducted.”
The $26 million judgment against Bundy was split between compensatory and punitive damages, and it includes not only Bundy personally but also his failed gubernatorial campaign and his political organization, People’s Rights Network.
Refusal to Appear in Court
Both Bundy and Rodriguez refused to appear in court, resulting in a default judgment against them. Bundy wrote an open letter to the hospital and state officials before the verdict was announced, stating that he could not pay any judgment because he had liquidated all his assets except for a few.
St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center stated that any money they or their CEO could collect in the case would be donated to their program that serves children who are suspected victims of neglect or abuse.
Ammon Bundy is best known for leading the armed occupation of the federal Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016. A federal jury found him not guilty on all charges. In 2022, he ran for governor of Idaho as an independent and received 17.2% of the vote.
The verdict against Ammon Bundy and his associates serves as a reminder that individuals must be held accountable for their actions, even if they are prominent activists or political figures. The damages awarded in this case also highlight the importance of ensuring that medical professionals are able to carry out their duties without fear of intimidation or harassment.