Palm Beach Appeals Court to Hear Arguments Today In Rush Limbaugh Medical Records Case

April 7, 2004 12:00 am

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WEST PALM BEACH, FL – With the support of the American Civil Liberties Union, conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh will enter court today to challenge the state’s request to unseal his medical records as part of an ongoing criminal investigation involving alleged “doctor-shopping.”

“While this case involves the right of Rush Limbaugh to maintain the privacy of his medical records, everyone has a stake in the outcome,” said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida. “The precedent set in this case will impact the security of medical records and the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship for every person in Florida.”

In February, the ACLU of Florida filed a friend-of-the-court brief in partial support of Limbaugh, arguing that Palm Beach County officials violated Florida’s constitutional right of privacy and state law when they seized his medical records in November.

In its brief filed with the Fourth District Court of Appeal, which is hearing today’s case, the ACLU argued that law enforcement officers violated state law by using the more intrusive search warrant process to seize Limbaugh’s medical records, rather than by obtaining a subpoena through the proper procedures outlined in Florida Statute §395.3025. The statute requires law enforcement officers to notify the person whose medical records they seek to obtain and to grant that person a hearing to object before the records are seized. The law also gives a judge the responsibility to ensure that only the information that is necessary for the investigation and to control the use or dissemination of those records by law enforcement. The statute was passed by the Florida Legislature to specifically address heightened concerns about medical privacy.

The case is Limbaugh v. State of Florida (No. 4D03-4973). The ACLU’s friend-of-the-court brief is available online at

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