Cases & Deals

Guardian Flight prevails in Eighth Circuit

Client(s) Global Medical Response, Inc.

Jones Day obtained a significant victory for Global Medical Response, Inc. in Eighth Circuit cross-appeals involving regulation of air ambulances. The state of North Dakota passed a law capping air-ambulance prices and banning outright the sale of memberships that allow consumers to prepay air ambulances charges at a discount. GMR subsidiary Guardian Flight LLC challenged the law as preempted under the Airline Deregulation Act. The district court held the price cap preempted, but ruled that the membership ban survived preemption under the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which saves state laws regulating the “business of insurance” from inadvertent federal preemption. In a unanimous, published opinion, the Eighth Circuit reversed the district court’s holding that the state could ban memberships as a form of insurance, and affirmed its holding that the ADA preempts the state rate-setting law. It remanded with instructions to enter judgment for Guardian Flight.

Guardian Flight, LLC v. Godfread, 19-1343 (8th Cir. Mar. 17, 2021); Guardian Flight LLC v. North Dakota, No. 1:18-cv-00007 (D.N.D.); Nos. 19-1343, 19-1381 (8th Cir.)