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Orange Rescue Squad sues over 'stand down' order

Posted April 7, 2009

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— The Orange County Rescue Squad filed suit Monday against the county and its emergency medical services director, claiming that an order to "stand down" was illegally issued last summer and has harmed the squad's operations.

The suit seeks $1.2 million in damages and a court order rescinding the June 27 order to stand down and compelling the county to again use the rescue squad's services.

EMS Director F. Rojas Montes de Oca removed OCRS from the 911 system after receiving reports that questioned the squad's competence and professionalism. Volunteers with the squad defended themselves against the complaints, saying the allegations were untrue or were taken out of context.

After an extensive review, Montes de Oca allowed OCRS to return to limited service in December. The squad now provides service for special events, overflow medical calls and search-and-rescue operations on land. It responds to vehicle wrecks only if requested by a local fire department with limited resources.

The lawsuit alleges Montes de Oca never gave OCRS written warning or held a hearing on the allegations before issuing the stand-down order, violating the squad's constitutional rights. Montes de Oca also libeled OCRS by issuing a report detailing the allegations against the squad when he knew the claims were false, the suit charges.

OCRS is now treated differently from other rescue squads that have similar franchise agreements with the county, which has harmed it financially, according to the suit.

County officials weren't immediately available Tuesday for comment.

11 Comments

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  • dcremeans Apr 7, 2009

    I'm Dan Cremeans, I do not think that this law suit is a pathetic attempt for funding. Not sure who cremeansdan is...

  • The Fireman Apr 7, 2009

    This will get ugly and OCRS is gonna wish they had tucked that tail and ran away.

  • cremeansdan Apr 7, 2009

    pathetic attempt to get funding...

  • thinkbeforeyoublab Apr 7, 2009

    They have to pay for that expensive truck they have and don't need.

  • ignc73 Apr 7, 2009

    The lawsuit alleges Montes de Oca never gave OCRS written warning or held a hearing on the allegations before issuing the stand-down order, violating the squad's constitutional rights.

    What constitution guarantees this group their "right" to a written warning/hearing, I'm wondering?

  • XARABELLE Apr 7, 2009

    The OCRS guys have their hearts in the right places, but I agree with Montes, their heads sure weren't. You can't endanger several lives to save lives!

  • SO LOW Apr 7, 2009

    Tron- you are correct! Not to mention, De Oca has a lot more info on OCRS that was never addressed, OCRS is biting off more than they can chew!

    They should have sit down and shut up, now it's time for the "good stuff" to come out in the open. They don't know what they are up against!

  • Raleigh Boys Apr 7, 2009

    So the rescue squad screwed up a few times. Now they want money for it. Nice.

  • FragmentFour Apr 7, 2009

    From article - Montes de Oca also libeled OCRS by issuing a report detailing the allegations against the squad when he knew the claims were false, the suit charges.

    Ahah - now THAT'S a biggie. People gripe and complain about EMS/EMTs and related services all the time, but if the claims were KNOWN to be false, Montes de Orca is in a world of hurt and so is the county.

  • FromClayton Apr 7, 2009

    well hang on now, What did the OCRS do? Are the alligations somewhat true? I would not want a squad that is not up to par taking care of me or my loved ones. Have the alligations been proved completly false? I remember when they came out, they were pretty bad.

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