Chief ME Andrews to appeal 'Ortiz' case before district court ru

Chief ME Andrews to appeal 'Ortiz' case before district court ruling


Lubbock County's Chief Medical Examiner notified the 237th District Court he intends to appeal a lawsuit against him and the company that runs the ME's office to the 7th Court of Appeals before the court rules on the case.

This is in the Ortiz v. Matshes et al suit, a case in which a grandmother claims the medical examiner's office "disassembled" her child to benefit Evan Matshes' research -- he's the man at the head of NAAG Pathology Labs, the company contracted to perform pathology work for the county. Sam Andrews, as an employee of NAAG, is the county's chief forensic pathologist.

In a "notice of accelerated appeal," Andrews states his intention to appeal Judge Ruben Reyes' June 24 decision to deny his motion to dismiss the case. Andrews' attorneys claim the court's letter ruling doesn't constitute a "final and appealable interlocutory order," and the "accelerated appeal" is in case either the court or the appellate panel considers that letter to be a court order.

Earlier this week, attorneys for Rebecca Ortiz and the pathology company argued over Ortiz's claims of "mental anguish;" Ortiz's attorney claims the suit isn't to silence or affect the company's rights to governmental speech -- protected by state law -- but rather over its actions, claiming improper policies and procedures during Elaina Castilleja's autopsy. The company claims any anguish Ortiz is experienced isn't caused by the office's work, but rather someone telling her about the autopsy -- even reading from Ortiz's affidavit saying she's "obsessed with the idea Castilleja's organs are on a shelf in California."

The next hearing on Andrews' motions to dismiss is scheduled for August 8 in the 237th District Court 

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