The U.S. Attorney’s Office is intervening in a lawsuit in which a Galveston County man is suing the health district, asserting he was diagnosed with hepatitis C after visiting a dental clinic officials closed in February because of concerns with infection and sanitation controls.

Timothy Burton initially filed the lawsuit against the Galveston County Health District in the 56th District Court, asserting he was a patient at its dental clinic from March 2015 to April 2018.

But federal officials filed a notice to move the case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District in Texas, asserting the health district was acting as a federally supported health care facility at the time.

Officials then added the United States as a defendant in the case in federal court, court records show.

The United States has sovereign immunity from such lawsuits and the plaintiff hasn’t yet exhausted all of his options with the responsible federal agency, which is a prerequisite to filing the lawsuit, the defendants’ answer asserts.

Some claims might also be barred because of a two-year statute of limitations, the answer asserts.

Attorneys for Burton have not responded to federal prosecutors’ answer since the case moved to federal court, records show.

PUBLIC INFORMATION LAWSUIT

A Houston-based consulting firm has sued the Friendswood Police Department, seeking body camera footage from officers responding to a disturbance call related to a divorce proceeding between a Houston police officer and his wife.

Dolcefino Communications LLC, representing a Houston officer’s wife and her parents, filed suit Monday against the Friendswood Police Department in 55th District Court in Harris County, seeking discovery.

Police officer Allan Comstock filed two reports with the Friendswood Police Department in July, according to the lawsuit.

Comstock in the first report asked to speak with a specific Friendswood officer and requested that officer go to his daughter’s boyfriend’s home and forcibly remove her, the lawsuit asserts.

Friendswood officers along with Comstock went to the residence, picked up the daughter, and dropped her off with his wife, Mindy Lee Comstock, and her parents, the lawsuit asserts.

Later the same day, Allan Comstock reported another disturbance at the residence and asked officers to remove his daughter and 15-year-old son, who were asleep, the lawsuit asserts.

Officers responded to the scene and handcuffed and detained the grandfather, Joseph Manley, and removed the children, according to the lawsuit.

Manley was released and never charged, the lawsuit asserts.

“You have a Houston Police Department officer who, it looks like, was using the Friendswood Police Department for his own personal gain and instructing them what he wanted to do,” said Jeff Diamant, attorney for the consulting group.

A judge in Galveston County had ordered Mindy Lee Comstock in contempt for not turning over the children for the allotted time, but there was no court order to send officers to get them, officials with the consulting group said.

SEAWALL FALL

A Texas resident is suing Galveston seawall souvenir shop Murdochs, seeking more than $1 million.

Cathy Conner filed suit against Pier Properties doing business as Murdochs Bath House on Nov. 6 in the 10th District Court, asserting she tripped and fell over a stool an employee left on a walkway.

Conner sustained injuries to her neck, hip, back, ankle, knee and other body parts, according to the lawsuit.

The defendant has not yet responded to the lawsuit, court records show.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

Reporter

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