Archived Story

SEOEMS mediation postponed until 2013

Published 12:19am Sunday, December 9, 2012

The second mandated mediation session over lawsuits focusing on the now defunct Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services has been postponed until February.

Bank records and information from SEOEMS have been requested by all three counties that once made up the emergency medical services and those records have not all be received yet.

“All three counties agreed to meet on Feb. 8 for mediation, once we have been able to receive the information and digest it,” Brigham Anderson, Lawrence County Assistant Prosecutor, said.

Acquiring all this information was the reason for the postponement of the last mediation session that was set in August. At that time, Anderson said they had bank records that said what funds were spent but not to whom the checks were made out.

The mediation session was mandated by the Fourth District Court of Appeals following the filing of a lawsuit by Athens and Jackson counties against Lawrence County and a subsequent suit by Lawrence against Athens, Jackson and SEOEMS.

For decades the three counties operated SEOEMS, disbanding it in December 2012 when Athens and Jackson pulled out.

In March, Athens and Jackson county commissioners filed a lawsuit in the Fourth District against Lawrence, claiming the county owed a share of the SEOEMS dissolution costs. Lawrence has disputed that saying the suit was filed in the wrong court.

In May, the Lawrence County Commissioners filed its own suit in common pleas court seeking more than $1 million in damages over what it alleges is the failure to reimburse the county for receipts paid over expenditures.

If mediation does not resolve the dispute, Anderson said he will ask the court of appeals to rule on the county’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit of Athens and Jackson and proceed with its own suit.



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