Idaho sheriff refuses to serve Ammon Bundy. Hospital asks justices to weigh in - East Idaho News

Idaho sheriff refuses to serve Ammon Bundy. Hospital asks justices to weigh in

  Published at  | Updated at

BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Attorneys for St. Luke’s Health System have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to weigh in after an Idaho sheriff said his office will no longer serve far-right activist Ammon Bundy with legal papers, citing concerns over safety.

St. Luke’s is in the midst of a civil defamation case against Bundy and his associate Diego Rodriguez, as well as several organizations led by the two men. The hospital system said both men led a “baseless smear campaign” against the hospital and lied about the circumstances of a child welfare case involving Rodriguez’s grandchild, according to previous Idaho Statesman reporting.

In its petition to the Supreme Court, St. Luke’s said it has been unable to find private process servers to deliver legal documents to Bundy. St. Luke’s lawyer Erik Stidham wrote that private servers expressed concerns about “online attacks, armed protests at their homes and violence.” According to the petition, Bundy reported some private process servers for trespassing on his property. Process servers are not specifically exempted from trespass laws in Idaho.

St. Luke’s has largely relied on the Gem County Sheriff’s Office to deliver legal documents to Bundy’s Emmett home, Stidham said. But recently Gem County Sheriff Donnie Wunder said Bundy’s behavior toward sheriff’s office employees serving legal papers “is becoming a concern.” As a result, Wunder said, his office would no longer serve documents to Bundy, either.

St. Luke’s is asking the Idaho Supreme Court to compel Wunder to “comply with his statutory duties to serve process and notices,” as well as prohibit Wunder from pursuing trespass charges against process servers who enter Bundy’s property.

Bundy did not return a request for comment.


In a document dated April 12, Wunder wrote that Bundy was “becoming more and more aggressive” toward civil process servers contacting him over court proceedings in the St. Luke’s lawsuit. The sheriff said Bundy has been avoiding servers and has been confrontational when they succeed in contacting him.

Wunder said Bundy called Gem County emergency dispatch on April 6 after he was contacted at his home by two sheriff’s deputies and told a dispatcher he wanted a record of the deputies trespassing on his property.

Wunder said in his statement that he spoke with Bundy on April 10. Bundy, who gained notoriety in two armed standoffs with government officials in the 2010s, told the sheriff he feels as though he’s being harassed, Wunder said.

“Mr. Bundy went on to also say that he is at his breaking point,” Wunder said. “By the tone in his voice, I believe he is.”

Wunder said he is concerned for the safety of his deputies and the process servers contacting Bundy.

“In my opinion, if this continues, there is potential for someone to get hurt,” Wunder said.

On April 10, the same day Bundy and Wunder spoke, Bundy published a blog post on the website for the People’s Rights Network, a far-right group Bundy founded in 2020 that claims to bring neighbors together against tyranny.

The post detailed the April 6 incident Wunder described. Bundy said two deputies came to serve him papers and were told by his son that he wasn’t home. Bundy noted he was in the shop adjacent to his house, where deputies quickly found him after allegedly looking into the shop windows, according to Bundy.

“I could not believe the audacity of these deputies,” Bundy wrote. “When I saw that one of them had actually come into the covered storage section of the shop, I began to yell at him to get off my property. I came out the door near him and chased him out of the storage area demanding that he get in his vehicle and leave.”

Bundy said the first deputy returned to the vehicle, but the second “wanted to confront” Bundy.

“Nose to nose I demanded that he leave my property immediately and never come back,” Bundy wrote.

Bundy noted that he has recently been served with “reams” of papers related to the St. Luke’s case and said he doesn’t know if he has ever been as upset as he was during the April 6 incident.

Bundy said the media has tried to portray him as a violent person since standoffs against government officials in 2014 and 2016. The 2014 incident in Nevada occurred when Bureau of Land Management officials corralled cattle belonging to Bundy’s father, Cliven Bundy, after the elder Bundy refused to pay fees for grazing his cattle on public land. In 2016, Ammon Bundy led the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Though Bundy was charged with multiple crimes, he was never convicted in either incident.

Bundy wrote in the blog post that he isn’t a violent person, adding that “after Thursday’s confrontation with the Gem County sheriff deputies, I feel like they are going to keep pushing and pushing until I become what they say I am.”


In its petition to the Supreme Court, St. Luke’s argued that the health system and its employees “had the courage to stand up to the bullying of Bundy and (the People’s Rights Network).”

“It would be unjust if Bundy’s threats and the sheriff’s concerns for the safety of his deputies deprived the St. Luke’s parties of due process in a lawsuit which seeks to hold Bundy and (People’s Rights) accountable,” the petition said.

Bundy was arrested in March 2022 and charged with trespassing at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center after he failed to leave the property in connection with the child welfare case now at the center of the defamation lawsuit. In the following days, Bundy and Rodriguez rallied supporters to protest outside of St. Luke’s in downtown Boise, where they blocked an ambulance bay.

At one point, St. Luke’s went into lockdown over security concerns. The hospital later said “at least four” patients had to be diverted to other hospitals because of the protesters.

In May 2022, St. Luke’s sued Bundy, Rodriguez and the People’s Rights Network. The health system said it wanted the defendants to remove “defamatory and false material” shared online about St. Luke’s.

Bundy has failed to remove online statements about St. Luke’s and has not shown up to court hearings.

In January, he pleaded guilty to the trespassing charge at St. Luke’s Meridian. He characterized the plea as a “peace offering” to St. Luke’s.

In February, 4th District Judge Lynn Norton, who is presiding over the civil defamation case, issued an order allowing St. Luke’s to seek punitive damages in the case. They could total up to $7.5 million, according to previous Statesman reporting.

The case is set to go to trial July 10.