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Thursday, July 01, 2004

TCPalm: Martin Memorial loses appeal in illegal alien case

TCPalm: Martin Memorial loses appeal in illegal alien case

Martin Memorial loses appeal in illegal alien case
By Melissa E. Holsman staff writer
July 1, 2004

STUART — An appeals court has turned down Martin Memorial Medical Center's request to reconsider its May opinion that rejected an earlier ruling that allowed the hospital to deport a brain-damaged man to his native Guatemala.

In May, the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach reversed a June court order, issued by Circuit Judge John Fennelly, that essentially authorized hospital officials to charter a jet and deport Luis Alberto Jimenez, an illegal alien, to a Guatemalan hospital.


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Jimenez, now 32, barely survived a February 2000, car crash caused by a drunk driver that also killed two friends. During the two years he lived at Martin Memorial, Jimenez racked up more than $2 million in unpaid medical bills.

With the appeals court's rejection, Jimenez's Stuart attorney Michael Banks said it will be up to hospital officials to pursue the matter with the Supreme Court.

In its May ruling, the appeals court ruled Fennelly lacked the jurisdiction to authorize Jimenez's return to Guatemala. It also concluded that hospital officials failed to present "competent substantial evidence" to support Jimenez's discharge from Martin Memorial.

Hospital officials disagreed and filed the appeal that was denied in Tuesday's order.

Martin Memorial officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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