MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The estate of a man who died after an ambulance transporting him to the hospital crashed can’t sue the rescuers, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.
According to court documents, 72-year-old Clarence Collis suffered a heart attack at his home in the town of Jamestown in Grant County in 2012. The Hazel Green Rescue Squad responded and loaded Collis into an ambulance.
The ambulance driver lost control of the vehicle about a half-mile from Collis’ home. The ambulance rolled over. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Collis’ estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the rescue squad in 2014. Grant County Circuit Judge Robert Van De Hey decided the case in favor of the rescue squad last year, finding that the estate failed to properly serve notice of the claim.
Wisconsin law mandates that anyone who makes a claim against a municipality based on the negligent use of a vehicle must provide notice to the municipality. The estate argued it didn’t need to provide notice because the rescue squad isn’t a government subdivision.
The District 4 Court of Appeals disagreed, upholding Van De Hey’s ruling. The towns and villages that jointly operate the rescue squad are municipalities, making the squad a municipality for the purposes of negligence actions, the court said. That means it was entitled to notice, the court concluded.
The estate’s attorney, listed in court documents as Colista Anglese, didn’t’ immediately return a voicemail left at her office on Thursday morning.