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California Shock Trauma Air Rescue v. State Compensation Insurance Fund

July 23, 2009

CALIFORNIA SHOCK TRAUMA AIR RESCUE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE COMPENSATION INSURANCE FUND, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, California Shock Trauma Air Rescue ("Plaintiff" or "CALSTAR"), initiated this action against numerous Defendants seeking to recover compensation for services rendered. Presently before the Court are three Motions to Dismiss (Docket Nos. 107, 112, and 182) and a Motion to Consolidate (Docket No. 111). Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 184), which is set for hearing on August 27, 2009.

Additionally, California Association of Air Medical Services, et al. ("Amici"), subsequently filed a Motion for Leave to File Brief of Amicus Curiae (Docket No. 245) opposing dismissal of this case.

For the following reasons, the Motion to Proceed as Amicus Curiae is granted, the Motions to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction are granted, and all remaining Motions are denied as moot.*fn1

BACKGROUND*fn2

Plaintiff is an air ambulance provider rendering services within and between California and Nevada. Plaintiff is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate as an air carrier and to conduct common carriage operations. Defendants are: 1) insurance companies providing workers' compensation insurance within the State of California; and 2) employers who are self-insured for workers' compensation insurance having obtained a certificate of consent to self-insure against such claims.

Plaintiff has and continues to provide, on request, air ambulance services to employees of the Employer Defendants and to employees of the employers insured by the Insurer Defendants.

After providing relevant services, Plaintiff sends an invoice to the appropriate Insurer Defendant or Employer Defendant.

In this case, Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants have paid only a portion of those invoiced amounts. According to Plaintiff, Defendants have refused to pay the outstanding balances, claiming that Plaintiff is limited to recovering only those amounts set forth in California's Official Medical Fee Schedule for ambulance services ("OMFS"), California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 9789.80.

Thus, Plaintiff filed the instant action seeking to recover those outstanding balances. According to Plaintiff, Defendants cannot rely on the OMFS fee limitations because that state law is preempted by the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, as amended by the Airline Deregulation Act, 49 U.S.C. § 41713(b)(1) ("FAA/ADA"). As such, Plaintiff has brought causes of action for:

1) Declaratory Relief as to whether that state law is preempted; 2) Quantum Meruit; 3) Unjust Enrichment; and 4) Open Book Account.

Plaintiff asserts jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because this action allegedly arises under the FAA/ADA. Defendants disagree and have moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Also pending before this Court are the above-mentioned Motions to Consolidate, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, and a Motion for Leave to File Brief by putative Amici, each of which is also disposed of pursuant to this Memorandum and Order.

STANDARD

In moving to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12 (b)(1), the challenging party may either make a "facial attack" on the allegations of jurisdiction contained in the complaint or can instead take issue with subject matter jurisdiction on a factual basis ("factual attack"). Thornhill Publishing Co. v. General Tel. & Elect. Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th Cir. 1979); Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977). If the motion constitutes a facial attack, the Court must consider the factual allegations of the complaint to be true. Williamson v. Tucker, 645 F.2d 404, 412 (5th Cir. 1981); Mortensen, 549 F.2d at 891. If the motion constitutes a factual attack, however, "no presumptive truthfulness attaches to plaintiff's allegations, and ...


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