Judge dismisses ambulance company's appeal alleging 12 Orange County cities shut out competitors for EMS

A federal judge on August 27 dismissed an appeal by ambulance company AmeriCare MedServices alleging that 12 Orange County cities used noncompetitive business practices by having their own emergency medical services or contracting with only a few companies for such services.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt upheld a ruling from 2017 in which Judge Josephine Staton sided with the cities, saying the state favored local oversight of ambulance services.
“California law specifically authorized cities to ‘maintain control of the [emergency medical] services they operated or contracted for’ … and make decisions as to the appropriate manner of providing those services,” Hoyt wrote in a memo from the Ninth Circuit.

Attorneys for the cities argued that state law permits municipalities to either provide ambulance services or contract with a company of their choice.

AmeriCare MedServices filed suit in 2016 against Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Anaheim, Orange, La Habra, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Buena Park and San Clemente. The company accused the cities of conspiring to monopolize the market and shut out AmeriCare from contracts.

Attorneys for the cities argued that state law permits municipalities to either provide ambulance services or contract with a company of their choice.

Read the entire decision here.