Attorneys for Sparks Regional Medical Center were granted a motion on Wednesday by a Sebastian County Circuit Court judge to have the hospital dismissed from a lawsuit that seeks to gain control of Fort Smith Emergency Medical Services.

Mercy Hospital Fort Smith remains a plaintiff in the lawsuit that was filed in June, claiming concerns by the director of the state Medical Trauma System over the “time it takes to transfer trauma patients to the appropriate care venue.”

Tim Hearn, executive director of Fort Smith EMS and a former Mercy employee, told the Times Record in July that the trauma transfer issue was about transfers to out-of-town facilities, if neither Sparks nor Mercy could tend to a patient.

Attorneys for Fort Smith EMS and seven co-defendants filed a motion to dismiss Sparks Regional Medical Center from the lawsuit in late July saying the statute of limitations in a central complaint of the lawsuit expired two years ago.

In the order filed Wednesday granting voluntary dismissal from the lawsuit to Sparks Regional Medical Center, Circuit Judge Stephen Tabor states the attorneys for Sparks did not plead their complaint in the proper legal manner.

“As evidenced by the pleadings, SRMC (Sparks Regional Medical Center) did not agree to be a party to this action nor did they authorize anyone to bring the action on its behalf,” Tabor wrote. “It is clear, in the Court’s view, that SRMC is not the real party in interest.”

Tabor also denied a motion Wednesday to separate Fort Smith EMS from the seven co-defendants.

Kutak Rock filed suit June 8 in Sebastian County Circuit Court with Mercy Hospital Fort Smith and Sparks Regional Medical Center as plaintiffs because the entities essentially claimed they were not aware of a 2013 amendment to the Fort Smith EMS by-laws that no longer required it to have “members.” The by-laws were adopted from the Arkansas Non Profit Corporation Act of 1993.

In late July, attorneys for Fort Smith EMS also filed a motion to dismiss Sparks from the lawsuit because an executive with the hospital signed an affidavit stating he never gave authority to the attorneys with Kutak Rock in Fayetteville to have Sparks Regional Medical Center named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Kutak Rock filed its motion to voluntary dismiss Sparks Regional Medical Center on Wednesday following Tabor's order that cited Rule 17 allowing them 10 days to substitute "the proper party."

Baptist Health in Little Rock announced in July it was in the process of acquiring Sparks Health System, the parent organization of Sparks Regional Medical Center.