66°F
weather icon Drizzle

Lawyers in Summerlin TB lawsuit seek judge’s removal

A man pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit against Summerlin Hospital has asked District Judge Joe Hardy Jr., whose father is a doctor and state senator, to withdraw from the case because of an appearance of impropriety.

Ruben White, who claims malpractice led to the tuberculosis-related deaths of his wife and twin daughters, recently filed a motion requesting Hardy’s voluntary recusal.

“This case is under intense media scrutiny and is being heavily followed by both the Nevada press and the press from around the country,” according to the motion. “The mere appearance of impropriety should be seriously considered and weighed appropriately. To avoid the appearance of impropriety, this court should voluntarily recuse itself.”

In his response, Hardy said he can be fair and impartial to all parties and counsel in the case.

“In my opinion, there is no statute, rule, ethical standard, or other compelling reason for me to recuse from presiding over this case,” the judge wrote.

Chief District Judge David Barker is expected to rule on the matter Thursday.

White argues in his motion that Hardy’s father, Republican state Sen. Joe Hardy, has an economic interest in the outcome of the case. White indicated he plans to file a motion in the case asking that the state’s cap on medical malpractice damages be declared unconstitutional, and he argues that the judge’s father is “an active opponent” of removing the cap.

In addition, White’s attorneys previously sued the senator in a wrongful-death case. They claimed a campaign sign had obstructed the view of drivers approaching a crosswalk and led to the death of a 13-year-old boy. The senator later was released from the case, and the plaintiffs proceeded against the company that managed his campaign.

Finally, White argues that Sen. Hardy has received “significant campaign contributions from various medical providers, including Summerlin Hospital,” and “contributed significantly to his son’s campaign” for district judge.

“It is for these reasons, the Honorable Joe Hardy possesses an economic interest in the outcome of this case, as well as an appearance of bias, because it necessarily will affect his father’s financial circumstances and political goals,” according to White’s motion.

Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Joe Hardy Jr., 42, in April to fill a vacancy on the Clark County District Court bench.

“Throughout his career, Joe Hardy has demonstrated the qualities necessary to serve Nevada families as a fair and thoughtful member of the judiciary,” Sandoval said in a news release at the time.

The younger Hardy ran unsuccessfully for a District Court seat last year. The elder Hardy was in the Nevada Assembly from 2003 to 2010 and has been in the Senate since 2011.

Attorney Robert Cottle, who represents White, called Sen. Hardy “the most active political doctor in Clark County.”

“Judges are supposed to recuse themselves if it might appear to a layperson that there’s a conflict,” the lawyer said.

Cottle asked for a public hearing on the recusal issue, but Barker opted to consider the matter privately.

According to White’s recusal motion, Sen. Hardy “has consistently voted against measures to repeal” Nevada’s medical malpractice cap, which limits non-economic damages to $350,000 a person.

White filed his malpractice lawsuit in May 2014, and it was reassigned to Judge Hardy after he took office. White’s wife, Vanessa, has been identified as the source of a 2013 tuberculosis outbreak at Summerlin Hospital.

According to the malpractice complaint, 25-year-old Vanessa White was admitted to Summerlin Hospital on May 9, 2013. Her twin girls, Abigail and Emma, were born prematurely “in substantial part because of the failure to identify and treat” their mother’s tuberculosis, the lawsuit alleges.

The mother died July 1 at a California medical facility. Emma died June 1 at Summerlin Hospital, and Abigail died Aug. 1 at the hospital.

According to Judge Hardy’s response to the recusal motion, his father “did not personally contribute funds” to his campaign; instead, his father’s election committee contributed funds.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow her on Twitter: @CarriGeer

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
CCSD police on the arrest of Deamonte Warren - VIDEO
CCSD police arrested Chaparral High School custodian Deamonte Warren on Friday on three counts of a school employee having sex with a student and an additional count of providing alcohol to a minor. (Courtesy CCSD Police)
Woman charged with sex trafficking an 11-year-old girl on the Strip (Michael Quine)
Gigi Mitchell faces seven felony charges including sex trafficking and child abuse for bringing an 11-year-old girl to the Las Vegas Strip to work as a prostitute.
Bel Air Drive Officer Involved Shooting Presser - Video
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly goes over the officer-involved shooting on Bel Air Drive.
Former Las Vegas police officer get 25 life sentences for sexually abusing child
Former Las Vegas Police officer Bret Theil was sentences to 25 consecutive life sentences at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, May 15, 2019, for sexually abusing a child over a decade. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Man pushed off bus in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Las Vegas police arrested 25-year-old Cadesha Bishop on May 6, after she allegedly pushed Serge Fournier, 74, off of a parked bus near Fremont Street and 13th Street about 4:50 p.m. March 21.(Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
$1 million bail set for mother charged with drowning 2-year-old daughter
The 44-year-old mother who police say drowned her 2-year-old daughter in a bathtub in a northeast Las Vegas apartment on Saturday made her first court appearance on Tuesday, May 14th.
Officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child appears in court
Matthew James Terry, a Las Vegas police officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child, appears in court Monday morning, May 13, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seek hit-and-run driver
A motorcycle officer pulled over a Mercedes SUV, and after the officer came to a stop, it shifted into reverse, intentionally hitting the officer.
Thedrick Andres becomes Henderson Police Department acting chief
Henderson Police Department Acting Chief Thedrick Andres speaks about his goals in his new position at the Henderson Police headquarters, Monday, April 29, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2 dead, 1 wounded after east valley neighborhood shooting
One man and one woman are dead and another man wounded after a shooting Thursday afternoon in an east valley neighborhood.
Bail denied for former police detective charged with murder
Bail was denied Tuesday for former Metropolitan Police Department detective, Pamela Rene Bordeaux who is accused of fatally shooting her daughter’s ex-husband during supervised visitation with his child.
Third suspect in death of California doctor appears in court
The third and final suspect in the killing of a California doctor, Jon Kennison, 27, appears in court Friday, April 19, 2019. Kennison, Kelsey Nichole Turner, a former model, and Diana Pena, face charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Richard Cleaves of Pahrump arrested in burglary on former Binion property
Updated press release regarding burglary on a former Binion property: Richard Cleaves, 56 of Pahrump, has been arrested on a warrant for burglary, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, and destruction of property. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Judge denies bail for suspect charged in the killing of California doctor
Diana Pena, one of three people charged in the killing of a California doctor, is being held without bail after her fingerprints were found on the car where Dr. Thomas Burchard's body was discovered.
Ex-NFL player and girlfriend held without bail in child’s death
Former professional football player Cierre Wood and his girlfriend, Amy Taylor, face charges of murder and child abuse in the death of Taylor's 5-year-old daughter. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP identifies man who was shot by trooper on Mount Charleston
Nevada Highway Patrol updates the media on the April 2, 2019 officer involved shooting on Mount Charleston. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas court grants '90 Day Fiancé' defendant continuance
"90 Day Fiance" stars Colt Johnson and his mother Debra left the Las Vegas Justice Center Thursday, after the court granted Larissa dos Santos Lima a continuance in her misdemeanor case, in which she is accused of domestic violence against Colt. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Details released on in-custody death
Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank addresses media about details of an in-custody death at Clark County Detention Center on March 31. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man hurt in shooting with Nevada troopers at Mount Charleston
A man was injured in a shooting involving Nevada Highway Patrol troopers Tuesday afternoon at Mount Charleston on state Route 157 near Echo Trail. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officer wounds inmate during escape attempt
An officer fired on an inmate who stole a vehicle and tried to flee, ramming several cars and leading officers on a chase until he ran out of gas.
Man fatally shot during a 'beer skip'
A store clerk is being questioned after a man was fatally shot during a robbery at a gas station Friday. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Las Vegas police give details on fatal shooting
Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer gives a briefing on a fatal shooting near downtown Las Vegas that occurred on March 27, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas community pays tribute to boy killed by car
The community joined friends and family at Wilbur & Theresa Faiss Park, Wednesday evening, to remember the boy who was struck and killed by a car crossing South Fort Apache Road from Faiss Park, near West Maule Avenue, on Monday. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Person of Interest Found For Downtown Las Vegas Bar - Video
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is seeking help to find a person of interest in a potential homicide case at a bar in downtown Las Vegas.
Metro briefs media on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Police address media about officer-involved shooting that started on Maryland and Vegas Valley, and concluded downtown, near the Golden Nugget.
Update on OIS at Vegas Valley and Maryland
The incident began at the Steinberg Diagnostic Medical parking lot and ended downtown.
Amy And Spencer Powell Recount Hit And Run
Amy Powell and her son Spencer recount the day Spencer was hit by a truck while riding his bike. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah arrested in Amarillo, TX
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah was arrested in Amarillo, TX on a Nye County warrant for open murder, burglary, obtaining money under false pretense, use of credit card w/o owner consent, and destruction of evidence. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
Metro Presser For OIS 6 (Full)
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Metro Presser For OIS 6
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Domestic disturbance call ends in suicide
A man died by suicide after police tried negotiating with him outside of his ex-girlfriend’s home on March 13. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by Las Vegas police
A 20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by a Las Vegas officer on Saturday night is also accused of burglarizing a Boys & Girls Club minutes before the shooting.
Commercial Robbery On 3000 Block Of North Las Vegas Blvd - VIDEO
On February 19th, 2019, at approximately 10:23 am, a robbery occurred to a business located on the 3000 block of North Las Vegas Boulevard. The pictured suspect entered the business, approached the counter and pointed a firearm at the victim demanding money. The victim complied and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported.
DEA Launches New Program To Combat Opioid Epidemic
The Drug Enforcement Administration is launching a new effort in Nevada to combat the opioid epidemic.
THE LATEST