City of Orange files for injunction against Transtar

Marilyn Tennissen Jul. 11, 2007, 7:28am

City leaders in Orange are so fed up with an ambulance service that is operating without a permit that they are seeking a court order to have the company cease and desist.

The city of Orange filed a request for a temporary mandatory injunction against RAS Management Corp., doing business as Transtar EMS, on July 2 in Orange County District Court. Judge Dennis Powell has scheduled a hearing on the matter for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 9.

On June 13, 2006, the city of Orange passed an ordinance to establish a permitting process for emergency and non-emergency ambulance service. According to the ordinance, only the holder of the permit issued by the city may pick up patients and passengers within the city limits. Prior to granting the permit, the city accepted bids and proposals from ambulance service providers.

Six companies submitted proposals, including Silsbee-based Transtar. The permit was granted to Acadian Ambulance Service of Lafayette, La.

As permit holder under the city ordinance, Acadian is the sole provider of pick-up service in Orange. Other ambulance services can transport patients into the city from outside locations, but are not permitted to pick up. Violation of the ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor.

The city claims that Transtar has "continually and blatantly violated the provisions of the ordinance." The injunction request specifies Jan. 10, March 23, June 8 and June 14 as dates on which violations occurred, but says that other violations have likely occurred.

Transtar has already been to court twice for the ordinance violations.

On May 10, 2007, a jury trial was held in Orange municipal court and Transtar was found guilty and fined $1,200. On June 28, a jury trial was held on a second charge, and again Transtar was found guilty. At the present time, two other charges are pending in municipal court.

The Orange Leader reported on the June 28 trial, and said the ambulance driver testified that he was not operating as an ambulance when he transported a patient from the Meadows nursing home to dialysis. Transtar claimed it provided the transportation as a courtesy to the woman, who was a previous long-term patient.

Despite the citations and fines, the city believes Transtar continues to transport patients and passengers.

According to the injunction request, Transtar "will continue to violate the ordinance with impunity until it is ordered to cease and desist by order of the court."

"Apparently, two adverse jury verdicts do not faze this defendant," the document states.

The defendant's continued transgressions "show a contempt for the city and its court system," the complaint says.

The city of Orange does not think it should "be forced to continually prosecute these offenses at its own expense."

It says the purpose of the court order is "to help ensure that Acadian Ambulance Service, who properly bid for the right to be the exclusive provider, remains profitable and therefore available for EMS needs of the city."

The city of Orange is represented by Chris Smith of Bush Lewis PLLC of Orange.

Case No. B070317-c

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