Metro-Health EMS seeks documents tied to racial bias claims

By Jenie Mallari-Torres | Aug 13, 2018

PITTSBURGH — Western-Star Hospital Authority Inc., temporarily doing business as Metro-Health EMS, is suing the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, citing alleged violation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Metro-Health EMS filed a complaint July 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff allegedly lost income and profits and harm to its reputation as a result of VA's allowing the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Medcall, also known as PARC (UPMC/PARC), to attend a meeting with Metro-Health EMS and interfere with the administration of a contract for providing ambulance services to Veterans Hospitals in Pittsburgh.

The plaintiff said employees of the Emergency Medical Services Division of the PA Department of Health unreasonably and unnecessarily delayed the licensing and/or inspection of its vehicles and equipment because of a racial bias toward Metro-Health EMS's owner and operators.

In addition, Metro-Health EMS said members of the EMSW were employees of UPMC or Medvac Ambulance Service, which had a contract with UMPC to provide ambulance service.

Metro-Health EMS said the VA failed to adequately respond to a FOIA request related to an investigation launched into the plaintiff's claims.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks a judgment requiring the VA to hand over the requested documents, as well as an award of costs, attorney's fees and other relief as the curt may deem just. It is represented by Richard Perr, Phinorice Boldin and Laura Seider of Fineman Krekstein & Harris PC in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case number 18-cv-01011

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