Suit Against a County Under the Emergency Medical Services Act, Plus Tort Matters

By FindLaw Staff on August 30, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Saller v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., Inc., B206763, involved plaintiffs' wrongful death suit based on theories of negligence, strict liability, false representation, and intentional failure to warn, based on the death of decedent from mesothelioma.  In reversing a jury verdict in favor of the defendants, the court held that the consumer expectations test applied to the use of asbestos at the oil refinery and his testimony concerning his expectations about its safety in its ordinary use at the refinery were sufficient to require a jury instruction on the issue.  The court also held that the question should have been submitted to the jury under a strict liability failure to warn theory as to whether the decedent, who worked at the refinery from 1959 to 1967, was entitled to a warning about the dangers of using asbestos without precautions i n light of the prevailing knowledge at the time.  Lastly, the court held that the exclusion of CACI No. 1205 was not harmless.


Ellerbee v. County of Los Angeles, B216848, involved a plaintiff's suit against the County of Los Angeles and a sheriff for negligence, claiming that the sheriff breached an unspecified statutory duty of care by failing to promptly serve a writ of execution on Sony BMG and MTV, arising from the death of plaintiff's son, for which an entertainer known as "Too Short" was responsible.  In reversing the trial court's judgment in favor of the plaintiff in part, the court held that no mandatory statutory duty was alleged or violated, and the trial court erred when it denied the county's motion for judgment on the pleadings and allowed the action to proceed to trial on a theory of common law negligence.  The court affirmed in part, as the county and its attorney have not shown that the trial court abused its discretion with regard to making an award of sanctions, and have made no effort to demonstrate any abuse of discretion as to the amount of sanctions. Lastly, plaintiff's motion to dismiss the appeal and to impose sanctions is denied.

County of Butte v. California Emergency Med. Serv. Auth., Inc., C060407, involved a county's suit against the Emergency Medical Services Authority (Authority), seeking declaratory relief and a writ of mandate, arising from the county's designation of a local EMS agency to administer some of the requirements of the EMS Act, while reserving for another local agency all of the remaining statutory powers and duties not covered by the agreement.

In affirming the trial court's grant of Authority's motion for summary judgment, the court held that the plain language of the EMS Act precluded Butte County from creating a bifurcated local agency system, and the Authority has the statutory authority to review a local EMS agency's creation of an exclusive operating area (EOA) as part of the transportation portion of the local EMS plan, regardless of whether the EOA was created through a competitive process or grandfathering, and then to reject the local EMS plan if it is not "concordant and consistent with applicable guidelines or regulations, or both the guidelines and regulations, established by the Authority."  Also, the Authority's interpretation of the "manner and scope" language of section 1797.224 is a generally applicable policy subject to the rulemaking procedures of the APA, and because the Authority did not comply with those procedures, this interpretative regulation is void and not entitled to any deference. Lastly, the fact that the Authority relied on an invalid regulation in rejecting the EOAs does not require reversal as the Authority did not abuse its discretion by rejecting the designation of EOAs based on lack of information provided by Nor-Cal EMS.

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