Two Gurney-Related Suits Filed Last Week

Two gurney-related suits were filed last week, one a wrongful death suit from Los Angeles County and the other a negligence suit from Richardson, Texas.

In Los Angeles, the family of 91-year old Maria Landeros filed a wrongful death suit against the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Westmed Ambulance. Landeros died on November 21, 2019, weeks after she “fell off” a gurney resulting in serious head injuries and multiple neck fractures. The complaint does not provide a lot of details into what happened beyond the claim she “fell off” the gurney. Here is a copy of the complaint:

In Texas, a woman who was injured last year when the gurney she was on tipped over, has filed suit against the City of Richardson and two firefighter-medics. Marlene Baker filed suit last week in 134th District Court for Dallas County.

According to the complaint, on July 13, 2019, Baker fell in her home. The Richardson Fire Department dispatched an EMS unit with Timothy E. Black and Ian Robert SanFilippo assigned. According to the complaint:

  • Ms. Baker was strapped to the gurney for transporting.
  • As EMS/firemen Black and Sanfilippo wheeled the gurney outside to load Ms. Baker into the ambulance, the gurney flipped over and crashed to the ground with Ms. Baker still strapped onto the gurney.
  • Ms. Baker landed flat on her face on the pavement with the gurney still strapped to her back.
  • Ms. Baker experienced immediate pain on her left side which sustained the greatest impact when the gurney crashed.
  • Ms. Baker immediately felt intense pain in her left shoulder and her face and head.
  • Ms. Baker also had bruises, scrapes and contusions on her face, arms, and hands and a new hematoma on the left side of her forehead, and head injuries as a result of the gurney flipping over.
  • The pain from the crash was immediate and severe. Removing the gurney from
  • Ms. Baker’s back, righting the gurney and then placing Ms. Baker back on the gurney exacerbated that pain and trauma.
  • Ms. Baker was diagnosed with a complex fracture of the left shoulder that required surgery and physical therapy.
  • She also sustained a broken rib, cuts that required suture, and a concussion.

The complaint is seeking between $200k and $1 million in damages.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

To provide some perspective to the filing of both suits in the same week, that brings the total of suits involving gurney tip overs/patient drops to seven out of just over 10,000 cases in the database.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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