On February 22, 2017, a jury returned a verdict against our client, Tim Young, in his claim that a doctor at Gila Regional Medical Center, Bryant Beesley, M.D., battered him when he conducted a rectal digital search at the request of Hidalgo County Sheriff’s officers.
On October 14, 2012, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s deputies brought Tim Young to Gila Regional Medical Center with a warrant that authorized a search of Tim Young, but did not authorize any invasive medical procedure. Dr. Bryant Beesley failed to read the warrant. Instead, he simply reacted to the deputies’ concerns that they believed Tim had impacted drugs in his rectum. Dr. Beesley defended the case by claiming Tim consented to the invasive search. Dr. Vellman, who works at Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado, testified he would have done the same thing. We fought against the defense of consent, arguing strenuously that consent is never a defense when a warrant is used to justify a search.
At trial, we urged the court to instruct the jury under a common law battery claim instead of battery under medical negligence. We contended that no physician-patient relationship existed between the doctor and Tim Young. We believe that, if the court intended to allow the jury to consider the alleged consent of Tim Young, they should consider the duress and coercion of law enforcement officers. You can read our short brief in support of judgment on the issue of consent here. The court rejected our defense.
We will be appealing the dismissal of Tim’s civil rights claims. We believe strongly that doctors should not become arms of the police state. Prior to trial, the District Court dismissed Tim’s civil rights claim alleging a violation of Tim’s Fourth Amendment rights to be free of unreasonable searches. You can read our Motion for Summary Judgment here.
We are disappointed in the outcome, but respect the jury and the hard work the members of the jury put into reaching a verdict.