WLE Secures Victory for California Fire Agencies Against State Regulatory Agency

Last month, the Sacramento Superior Court entered judgment on behalf of our client, the California Fire Chiefs Association, Inc. (“CalChiefs”), and issued a peremptory writ of mandate against the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (“EMSA”), in California Fire Chiefs Association Inc. v. California Emergency Medical Services Authority, No. 34-2019-80003163.

CalChiefs, a professional association for more than 850 fire service agencies, alleged that EMSA, the State of California’s regulatory agency for emergency medical services (“EMS”), had been operating in violation of mandatory state law for at least 30 years.  Specifically, CalChiefs’ verified petition for writ of mandate and complaint for declaratory and injunction relief alleged, among other things, that EMSA’s rules implementing two key statutes regarding local governments’ provision and administration of EMS and ambulance services were void “underground regulations” because they had not been lawfully adopted pursuant to California’s Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”).

The Hon. Laurie M. Earl, Judge of the Superior Court agreed, declaring that EMSA’s rules were void “underground regulations” and commanding EMSA to cease enforcing its invalid rules until and unless the state agency properly adopts the rules in compliance with the APA.  Judge Earl also concluded that CalChiefs should be allowed to petition for an award of its attorneys’ fees for bringing an action to vindicate important public rights.

The judgment also benefits CalChiefs’ members in that they can rely on it to challenge any determinations made by EMSA regarding their rights to provide exclusive EMS and ambulance services made pursuant to such underground regulations.

Fire service agencies and other regulated entities seeking advice regarding these, or other matters relating to underground regulations, should contact Wright, L’Estrange & Ergastolo’s Administrative Law & Regulatory Disputes practice group.

Wright, L’Estrange & Ergastolo legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect any laws, subjects, or information shared. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this legal alert.