(WBIR - Loudon County) Rural/Metro is suing Lenoir City, claiming city officials improperly entered into a contract with another ambulance service.
The lawsuit was filed in the Chancery Court for Loudon County on May 20, 2014, a month after Lenoir City approved an agreement with Priority Ambulance Service, and is asking Lenoir City be ruled to pay "an amount not to exceed $1 million" in addition to requesting the Priority Ambulance Service contract be terminated.
Rural / Metro claims in January 2011 it entered into a contract with Loudon County to provide exclusive emergency and non-emergency ambulance transportation. It also claims in August 2011, Rural / Metro entered into a Medical Transportation Service Agreement with Fort Loudon Medical Center to provide the hospital with emergency and non-emergency medical transportation services.
In the lawsuit, it is said Lenoir City approved an agreement with Priority Ambulance Service in April 2014 giving Priority Ambulance Service the exclusive right to transport patients within the city limits. It's stated in the lawsuit Lenoir City's director of public safety, Don W. White, notified Fort Loudon Medical Center that "Priority [Ambulance Service] will be the sole provider within the Lenoir City jurisdiction for patient pickup and delivery".
Rural / Metro claims the Lenoir City Council approved the Priority Ambulance Service agreement without the approval of the city attorney, and claims other procedures were violated as well.
"It's our opinion the lawsuit is without merit and we will respond by filing a motion for it to be dismissed," said Jim Scott, city attorney for Lenoir City.
"It's been our historical practice and policy not to comment publicly on ongoing litigation. We will work within the legal system and see where that process goes," said John Karolzak, chief relations officer for Rural / Metro Corporation.
Priority Ambulance service's vice president of Tennessee operation Rob Webb also issued a statement.
Priority Ambulance Service: Statement Regarding Rural / Metro Lawsuit Against Lenoir City