Metro West Ambulance – Challenge to Clark County Ordinance

Ball Janik LLP represented Metro West Ambulance, challenging Clark County, Washington’s ordinance establishing an exclusive ambulance service provider within Clark County for all emergency and non-emergency patient transports originating within the County. Metro West had an agreement with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (the “VA”) to provide ambulance services in the Portland Metropolitan Area, including within Clark County. Clark County threatened criminal prosecution against Metro West for services provided within the County under the VA contract. Metro West sued the County, asserting claims of federal preemption, antitrust violations and Commerce Clause violations under the United States Constitution and seeking to prevent enforcement of the ordinance against Metro West.

Although Clark County defended the action, the private ambulance company that held the contract with Clark County intervened and took on primary responsibility for the defense. The matter was resolved on competing motions before Judge Robert Bryan in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Judge Bryan ultimately found that the county ordinance was preempted by federal law and allowed Metro West to operate under its contract with the VA within Clark County.

Bruce H. Cahn (litigation partner) represented Metro West Ambulance in this matter.


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