Stahl brief challenges board ruling

Larry Limpf

A court brief filed by legal counsel for Mark Stahl, a battalion chief with the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District, contends the decision to discipline him by the district board of trustees wasn’t supported by a “preponderance of substantial, reliable and probative evidence.”
In a reply brief filed in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court, Stahl’s attorney points to contradictory statements made during an Aug. 30, 2019 hearing before the district’s board of trustees, which was accepting testimony from district personnel involved in an emergency run a year earlier. During the run to a Williston residence, an intraosseous procedure was performed on an elderly man by Justin Frank, an emergency medical technician who didn’t have the required certification for the procedure.
The board found Stahl guilty of misconduct in office, suspended him for 60 days without pay and set a one-year probationary period for him.
Stahl’s brief says department personnel gave different accounts of who handled the intraosseous kit before it was given to the EMT and there is conflicting testimony about Stahl giving an order to administer the drug through the I/O procedure.
“However, the board points to no evidence whatsoever as to how and when Stahl became aware of Frank’s action. It did not cite any evidence that anyone had told Stahl that Frank had done it,” the brief says. “It did not cite any rule, regulation, or protocol requiring Stahl to find out after the fact what happened at the scene for which the paramedic was in charge of all medical procedures and doing the run report. In short, there is nothing at all that is close to a preponderance of substantial, reliable, and probative evidence on which to find Stahl guilty of misconduct in office due to misfeasance.”
The board found that Stahl “knew or should have known” that an EMT had performed the I/O insertion that was beyond his certification and failed to report the violation after it became known to him.”
Visiting Judge Janet Burnside is to decide the case as Judge Bruce Winters has recused himself. She gave the parties until May 12 to request a hearing for oral arguments to back up their briefs.


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