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Victim Gets Partial Settlement in Police Anal Probe Case

Remember that horrifying case in New Mexico where a man had a forced colonoscopy because the police thought he was hiding drugs in his ass (well, one of the three case that have come out)? The victim in that case has settled a lawsuit with the local governments involved:

A New Mexico man forced by police to undergo a colonoscopy has quietly settled his legal case against officials from Hidalgo County and Deming, N.M.

KOB-TV reports that David Eckert, 64, will be paid $1.6 million by the local governments – $650,000 from Hidalgo County and $950,000 from the city of Deming – to resolve the case, which was filed in U.S. District Court in November.

But other defendants have not yet settled:

Eckert’s lawsuit also named two doctors, the medical center and Deputy District Attorney Daniel Dougherty, who helped acquire the search warrant. Those defendants have not settled.

Unfortunately, he can’t sue the judge who signed the warrant because the courts have given judges absolute immunity. The same is true of the district attorney. But I certainly hope the doctors and hospitals will have to pay up as well, and the doctors should lose their medical licenses for it. A second victim of an almost identical situation is also suing and is represented by the same law firm.

Comments

  1. otrame says

    I agree about the doctors. And I say that as a doctor-friendly person. It was gross malpractice and they should be a)fired; b) lose their licenses and c) sued all to shit. I say that BECAUSE I am a doctor-friendly person.

    You know, in the army they teach a little “What constitutes an illegal order”–not too much, because they don’t actually want them thinking too much about obeying orders–but a little. But those are for the most part teenagers and early twenties. We are talking about doctors here. They should have been able to figure out that what they were asked to do was fucking rape. ARRRRggggghhhhh I get angry all over again every time I hear about this.

  2. markr1957 says

    I absolutely agree about the doctors too – at the very least I hope they are forced to pay so much in punitive damages that they get dropped by their insurance company and are forced out of practice by that although they should also lose their licenses for what was so blindingly obviously an act of sexual assault if not rape.

    I spent 11 years in the Army and for us the definition of unlawful commands was drummed in at every stage of training, including clear definitions and examples of commands that MUST be disobeyed, including acts of assault and abuse.

  3. eric says

    Unfortunately, he can’t sue the judge who signed the warrant because the courts have given judges absolute immunity.

    Can the city, however, fire the judge? I’m assuming it was a state/local judge and not a federal one. But one could argue that he did his job wrong and his mess cost his state employer $1.6 million to clean up. Sounds pretty fireable to me. And as a deterrent to other judges, it might work just as well as a civil suit.

  4. pocketnerd says

    Mr. Eckert should seriously consider moving. He was already on the police department’s shit list, and they were looking for an excuse to teach him his place. After embarrassing them like this, he might find himself accidentally shot to death while resisting arrest.

  5. says

    We are talking about doctors here. They should have been able to figure out that what they were asked to do was fucking rape.

    Yep. And you may remember that police brought the man to a different hospital first and they were shown the door. The police had to take him to a different county to find a hospital and doctors to perform the search, which was illegal because the search warrant was only valid in the county where it was issued. So the docs did something that other docs had already refused and they did it as part of an indisputably illegal search. Eckert should lodge an ethics/misconduct complaint with the state board and when all is said and done, the docs may actually face serious discipline.

    As for settling, malpractice insurers rarely settle quickly, but there is no way they will let this go to trial. But it could go on for a long time.

  6. eric says

    So the docs did something that other docs had already refused and they did it as part of an indisputably illegal search.

    I could see such a suit boomeranging back to the police, making them pay out even more.
    Eckert: “Doctors, you owe me $1,000,000 for performing the procedure when the warrant wasn’t good in your county.”
    Doctors: “Hey, we aren’t lawyers. Police, you owe us $1,000,000 for deciving us about the validity of the warrant.”

  7. thascius says

    The malpractice insurers may not cover the doctors in this case. Most policies have a clause where they won’t cover truly egregious misconduct, such as having sex with a patient. I have no idea of the specifics of their policies, but I’ll bet the insurers have lawyers scouring their policies for an excuse to say “Sorry, doc, you’re on your own.”

  8. tbp1 says

    Nothing can ever make this right, of course, but I hope Mr. Eckert makes enough money off of this to live comfortably for the rest of his life. And lots of people should lose their jobs over this incident.

  9. Raucous Indignation says

    As I understand this case, Mr Eckert did not consent to any of these procedures. That means this is not a question of malpractice. It is battery/sexual assault. A physician may not perform any procedure on a patient without that patient’s explicit consent. It is criminal conduct, and as such is not under the scope of malpractice insurance. These doctors could easily lose their licences and personal assets.

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