Lawsuit against City, Rescue dismissed, settled

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By Calen McKinney

Claims brought by a Lebanon man alleging that two Rescue EMTS injured him have been dismissed by a judge. However, according to an attorney in the case, the man's claims have been settled out of court and will cost the City's insurance carrier $40,000.

Louisville attorneys Diane Bluhm and Kevin B. Sciantarelli filed a claim on behalf of Alton Turpin in Taylor Circuit Court on Dec. 27, 2005.

The City of Campbellsville, Campbellsville/Taylor County Rescue, Rescue Director Dan Durham and Rescue personnel Nicholas Pickett and Joe Middleton as well as Ferno-Washington Inc. of Louisville were named as defendants.

Multiple counterclaims, third-party and intervening complaints followed Turpin's initial lawsuit, claiming other parties were to blame.

According to Turpin's claim, Pickett and Middleton were working as EMTs and responded to an emergency call on Dec. 28, 2004, at O'Reilly Auto Parts on East Broadway in Campbellsville at 10:42 a.m.

According to the ambulance run report, Turpin, then 72, of 628 Golfview Terrace, complained of ankle pain after he fell inside while working at the store.

Turpin claims Middleton and Pickett injured his finger while transporting him on a stretcher - manufactured by Ferno-Washington Inc. - for transport by ambulance.

Lexington attorney Spencer Noe represented the City's insurance carrier, the Kentucky League of Cities, in the suit.

Turpin's claim states he was seriously injured and has sought medical treatment for his injuries. He states he has incurred medical expenses and suffered physical pain and mental anguish. He alleges he also lost the ability to work.

He asked for damages, interest, court costs and a trial by jury.

In January 2006, Noe filed an answer to Turpin's claims on behalf of Rescue, Pickett, Middleton, Durham and the City of Campbellsville, stating that Turpin's injuries were the result of his own negligence, the negligence of a third-party, or are the result of a prior injury or medical condition.

Also in January 2006, Noe filed a counterclaim against Ferno-Washington Inc. and alleged the company's defective paramedic equipment caused Turpin's injuries.

In January 2006, Louisville attorneys D. Craig York and Emily K. Fritts filed an answer to Turpin's complaint on behalf of Ferno-Washington Inc. denying responsibility for any defect to the stretcher used to transport Turpin.

In February 2006, Rescue and the City of Campbellsville filed a third-party complaint against Med Tech Medical Services LLC.

The complaint states Rescue contracts with Med Tech for stretcher services and alleges the company was negligent in performing those services.

In January 2007, Cincinnati, Ohio attorney Jason E. Abeln filed an intervening complaint on behalf of American Casualty Co. of Reading against the defendants and sought $65,292.29 in reimbursement for workers' compensation benefits, along with interest and court costs.

In August 2007, a report included in court records stated that mediation attempts to settle the claims in Turpin's case had been unsuccessful.

However, a forensic expert report filed as part of pre-trial records states that the stretcher used to transport Turpin was defective, and that was the cause of Turpin's injury.

All of the claims, counterclaims, third-party and intervening complaints in Turpin's case were dismissed with prejudice in an agreed order signed by Taylor Circuit Court Judge Doughlas M. George on Tuesday, April 8. The order does not state whether a settlement was reached in the case.

According to Black's law dictionary, when a claim is dismissed with prejudice, the plaintiff is not allowed to prosecute the claim again.

Lexington attorney John McNeill, who represented Med Tech in the case, said Thursday that his clients didn't do anything wrong and paid nothing as a result of the case's dismissal.

On Friday, Noe said he had no comment on the dismissal of the case other than to say it has been settled. Noe agreed to release the terms of the settlement reached between Turpin and the City of Campbellsville and Rescue.

The settlement, however, does not release the claims Turpin brought against Ferno-Washington. The settlement states each party is to pay its own attorney's fees and the settlement is not to be considered an admission of liability.

The settlement also includes a confidentiality clause that states the settlement information is not to be discussed with any third parties.

Noe said the dismissal means the case has been completely settled, though Turpin may have received additional money in settlements with other parties.

However, he said, the $40,000 Turpin received is the only settlement related to the City of Campbellsville.

Campbellsville Mayor Brenda Allen and Durham declined to comment for this story. City Attorney John Bertram said he was not directly involved with the case and did not know any details about the settlement. Attorneys Sciantarellis, Abeln and Brown did not return phone calls.

- Staff Writer Calen McKinney can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 302 or by e-mail at reporter@cknj.com.