Attorneys for Fort Smith Emergency Medical Services intend to file a response by the end of July to a lawsuit filed by Mercy Fort Smith and Sparks Regional Health System.

Mark Moll of Jones, Jackson & Moll in Fort Smith said this week he is in the process of answering allegations made by the two hospitals in a complaint for declaratory judgment filed June 8 in Sebastian County Circuit Court.

Answers are due 30 days after the last of seven co-defendants, the Fort Smith EMS board members, have been served, according to the Circuit Clerk’s office.

The lawsuit seeks complete control of Fort Smith EMS by the hospitals and alleges that neither Mercy nor Sparks was aware of a 2013 amendment in Fort Smith EMS bylaws that no longer required the nonprofit ambulance service to have “memberships” when it adopted the Arkansas Non Profit Corporation Act of 1993.

Fort Smith EMS states representatives for both Sparks and Mercy approved the 2013 amendment that altered 1999 bylaws that provided membership in Fort Smith EMS equally among Sparks and Mercy. The board continues to have five board members appointed by Sparks and Mercy, and one appointed by the board following a resignation of a Mercy-appointed board member.