Court Reschedules Contempt Motion Against Terri Schiavo’s Husband

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 2, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Court Reschedules Contempt Motion Against Terri Schiavo’s Husband

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 2, 2004

Clearwater, FL ( — On Tuesday, a court was scheduled to hear a contempt motion filed against Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband Michael for refusing to make information available to Terri’s parents about her medical condition. Instead, Michael’s attorneys refused to agree to a hearing time, which prompted a judge to "scold" them and he set a time himself.

Deborah Bushnell, one of Michael’s attorneys, asked Circuit Court Judge George Greer of the Sixth Judicial Circuit to reschedule the contempt hearing at a more convenient time.

But Pat Anderson, attorney for Terri’s parents Bob and Mary Schindler, presented evidence to Judge Greer showing that she offered three separate hearing times to Michael’s attorneys and they replied that none were suitable. They did not offer Anderson any other preferred time for the hearing.

Judge Greer "scolded" Scott Swope, another of Michael’s attorneys, for asking for asking him to reschedule the hearing and not offering Anderson any alternatives, according to Pamela Hennessy, a representative of Terri’s family. Greer then set a hearing date for Friday morning.

Terri’s family says Michael is, once again, withholding information from them concerning Terri’s medical condition, in violation of a 1996 court order.

Two weeks ago, Terri began vomiting and Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, asked nursing and hospice staff what had caused it and what measures were being taken to treat Terri.

Terri is currently living at Park Place Assisted Living Facility in Clearwater, Florida, and staff at the facility told the Schindlers that they were under orders from Michael’s attorneys not to divulge any information.

That prompted family attorney Pat Anderson to file a contempt of court motion against Michael.

A 1996 judicial mandate by the Pinellas County Circuit Court requires Michael to provide Terri’s family with current information concerning her medical condition and treatment.

Michael’s attorneys claim he is following the court orders. However, Hennessy said Michael only recently had his attorneys notify Park Place Assisted Living Facility in Clearwater that they may disclose any information to Terri’s family — the same day Anderson filed the contempt motion.

Hennessy said Michael has still not provided any medical information to the Schindlers.

Related web sites:
Contempt motion –
Court order requiring Michael to provide medical info –
Terri Schiavo’s family –