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Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

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March 22, 2023

Lopez v. American Medical Response West

Plaintiffs claimed injury when the ambulance in which they were transported collided with another vehicle. Plaintiffs sued for motor vehicle and medical negligence. The ambulance company moved for summary judgment based on the one-year MICRA statute of limitations (Code Civ. Proc., § 340.5). The trial court found that MICRA applied based on declarations from the emergency medical technicians establishing their certification,  concluded the lawsuit was untimely, and granted summary judgment. Plaintiffs appealed.

The Court of Appeal affirmed. The court held that, under Flores v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital (2016) 63 Cal.4th 75 and Canister v. Emergency Ambulance Service, Inc. (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 388, transporting a patient by ambulance counts as providing “professional services” for purposes of applying the MICRA statute of limitations. Plaintiffs’ injuries resulted from the ambulance company’s alleged negligence in the “ ‘use or maintenance of equipment . . . integrally related to [plaintiffs’] medical diagnosis and treatment.’ ” The court explained that because MICRA applies to all injuries resulting from professional medical negligence regardless of whether an injured party was receiving medical treatment, it was immaterial that one of the plaintiffs was not a patient at the time of the accident.