Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ala. High Court Says Daily Can See Health Agency Records

Alabama Supreme Court BuildingImage by jimmywayne via Flickr
In Tennessee Valley Printing Co., Inc. & Michelle Rupe Eubanks v. Health Care Authority of Lauderdale County & City of Florence d/b/a Coffee Health Group (Case No.1090945), the Alabama Supreme Court last week unanimously ruled that the Open Records Act of Alabama [Code of Ala. 1975 sec. 36-12-40] entitled the Florence, Ala.-based TimesDaily access to health care agency records involving the possible sale of assets of Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital and Shoals Hospital.

In an opinion by Justice Mike Bolin, the high court reversed the trial court decision and held "the sale of the assets of the Health Care Authority, a public corporation, is subject to the Open Records Act."  The TimesDaily, which is owned by Tennessee Valley Printing Co., Inc., sought records from the Health Care Authority, but the agency promised bidders for the hospitals' assets that their submissions would be confidential, according to an Associated Press story.

The Open Records Act provides: "Every citizen has a right to inspect and take a copy of any public writing of this state, except as otherwise expressly provided by statute."

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