Ems Lawsuit Case Study

Actual Cases Involving EMS Providers

Zepeda v. City of Los Angeles
The record reveals that plaintiffs commenced an action against defendants City of Los Angeles (City) and Robert Rosito[1] for the wrongful death of their son Jerman. According to the allegations of the complaint, Rosito shot Jerman in the neck on February 28, 1988. Even though they were in no apparent danger, a paramedic team employed by the City purportedly refused to render medical attention or otherwise assist Jerman until the police arrived at the scene. The complaint further averred that Jerman eventually died because the paramedics breached “a duty to come to the aid of the decedent or at least make inquiry as to the status of the decedent.”… Read More

Wright v. City of Los Angeles (1990)
This action arises out of the death of Jerry Eugene Wright, Jr. Plaintiffs and appellants are his parents, Jerry Eugene Wright, Sr., and Ethel Mae Wright, and brother and sister, Donald Troy Wright and Sharon Carol Wright. Defendants and appellants are the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles [219 Cal. App. 3d 325] Police Department Officer Robert Saurman and Los Angeles Fire Department Paramedic Daniel Maloney… Read More

SCHULMAN v. County of Los Angeles Fire Dept./Paramedics
On the night of May 3, 2004, plaintiff Sarah Schulman, a 22 year-old student at Pepperdine University, ate dinner with several friends at Dukes Restaurant in Malibu. In addition to her meal, she consumed one alcoholic drink. Following dinner, at approximately 9:00 p.m. she returned home. At 9:45 p.m., she left home and went with several friends to the “Dume Room,” a small bar/restaurant on Heathercliff Drive near Pt. Dume in the western portion of Malibu. The idea was to participate in the Karaoke entertainment which was provided that night. Her small group arrived… Read More

Hackman v. American Medical Response
Defendants Robert Odom and Lurelle Robbins, paramedics employed by defendant American Medical Response (collectively defendants), were dispatched to the scene of an accident involving a car driven by Hackman. After a brief discussion with Hackman and a peace officer, during which Hackman declined treatment or transport because she felt she had suffered no injury, Odom and Robbins (together hereafter Paramedics) left the scene. Hackman collapsed at the scene 20 minutes later and Paramedics… Read more

Florida EMTs may go bankrupt because of a malpractice lawsuit
A child was born 15 weeks premature and was not breathing. The family called 911. The paramedics arrived, performed CPR on the child, and brought the child back to life. These paramedics should have been commended as heroes for saving this child’s life. Instead, they were sued and found liable for $10 million… Read More

Smith v. Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services, et al
The widow of a Bluffton man who suffered a heart attack and died 11 days later has filed a lawsuit alleging that an ambulance’s delay at an unmanned security gate in her neighborhood led to her husband’s death.Sarah Smith of Baynard Park filed the negligence and wrongful death lawsuit Dec. 17 on behalf of her late husband, James Smith, 65, who died April 18… Read More

Andrews v. Hamilton County et al
A woman who was injured in a motorcycle wreck has filed suit, saying an EMS worker unnecessarily disrobed her after giving her an extra dose of morphine. [She] is asking over $1.5 million in the Circuit Court complaint against Hamilton County, Hamilton County Emergency Services and EMS workers Roger Davis and R. Smith… Read More

Peete v. Metro. Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson County
In a wrongful death action brought under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 against individual firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians, denial of qualified immunity for defendants is reversed where the district court erred in failing to grant defendants qualified immunity… Read More

Andujar v. Rodriguez
In suit alleging defendant paramedics acted with deliberate indifference to plaintiff’s serious medical needs arising after plaintiff jumped from a truck he and accomplices had hijacked, denial of summary judgment to defendants is reversed… Read More

Cleveland v. City of L.A.
The Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime exemption for an employee engaged in fire protection activities does not apply to dual function paramedics… Read More

Summary judgment based on qualified immunity properly denied, where paramedics moved decedent, who complained of neck injury, without stabilizing his neck… Read More

Check Back for New Cases

A contentious suit against two Beaufort County paramedics has ended in a $150,000 settlement to the victim of a 2008 beating who claims the medics mishandled his injuries.

In 2009, Brian Lanese and his wife Tracy filed a lawsuit against paramedics Jeffrey Knieling and Shayna Orsen, and Beaufort County alleging that the paramedics’ negligence resulted in Brian’s being hospitalized for brain injuries.  In 2008 he was assaulted by multiple assailants in his backyard, but according to the suit the paramedics assumed he was intoxicated or on drugs. He was hospitalized for a month following the assault and is reported to have nearly died from his injuries.

The Island Packet identified a number of outstanding questions that the lawsuit originally sought to address, including:  

  • “Why the paramedics concluded when they saw Lanese sprawled on the floor that he was drunk or on drugs. Lanese’s wife had told them that he’d had nothing but iced tea.
  • Why they wanted to take Lanese to Hilton Head Hospital instead a Savannah hospital staffed and equipped to treat serious head injuries. They reversed course and headed for Savannah only after an emergency room doctor at Hilton Head Hospital directed them to do so.
  • Why Lanese’s wife and a neighbor — a paramedic himself who was off-duty — had to carry Lanese to the ambulance with no help from Knieling or Orsen and without a backboard or neck collar to immobilize him.
  • Why the two paramedics spent nearly 20 minutes at the Lanese home, during which Lanese received little medical attention. EMS protocol recommends spending no more than 15 minutes.”

The suit originally sought $600,000 in damages, but was settled on March 14, 2012 for $150,000 following a court sponsored mediation process. Neither the county nor the paramedics involved admitted to any wrongdoing.

It is unclear how the victim would have connected the alleged delay in treatment to the injuries he sustained.

More on the story.

assault victimBeaufort County EMSead injuriesfailure to treatprompt treatment2012-03-30

Curt Varone

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