PRINT PAGERush Limbaugh Wants His Medical Records Back with His Doctors
Rush Limbaugh's attorneys filed a brief Thursday with the Florida Supreme Court arguing that Palm Beach County prosecutors violated state law when they seized his medical records and that an appeals court erred in finding prosecutors acted appropriately.
The only remedy, Limbaugh's lawyer Roy Black wrote, is to return the records to Limbaugh's doctors and bar prosecutors from seeking access to them again.
The 30-page brief sets off a new round of legal wrangling surrounding the prosecutors' use of search warrants to obtain Limbaugh's records from four doctors in the fall of 2003. Black maintains the seizures were illegal and has been contesting them for more than a year.
A Palm Beach County Circuit judge ruled prosecutors were entitled to the records as part of their investigation into whether Limbaugh engaged in "doctor shopping" -- obtaining more than one prescription from different doctors. In October, the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach ruled prosecutors had a right to use search warrants for medical records in a criminal investigation.
Limbaugh, 53, a Palm Beach resident, has not been charged with any crimes. His records have remained sealed since they were seized, with the exception of a one-day window where prosecutors reviewed them before Black filed his first appeal in December 2003.
Black argued again Thursday that prosecutors should have followed a procedure set out in state law and notified Limbaugh that they intended to obtain his medical records. Then Limbaugh could have asked a judge to decide whether prosecutors could issue subpoenas for the records. Prosecutors say they reviewed Florida case law and determined they could seize the records with search warrants without notifying Limbaugh.
"Medical records in the possession of doctors, hospitals or other medical facilities are confidential and may not be obtained in any civil or criminal action except pursuant to subpoena, after prior notice to the patient and a [court] hearing," Black wrote in the brief.
Michael Edmondson, a spokesman for Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer, said prosecutors wouldn't comment.
Prosecutors have 20 days to file their brief with the Supreme Court, and then Black has another 20 days to file a reply.
Peter Franceschina can be reached at email@example.com or 561-832-2894.
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