Court Says AG Can’t Release Confidential Records

Blumenthal Add B

The state Supreme Court has decided that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal cannot make public the confidential business documents he obtains through a subpoena, siding with a Florida insurance company that sued to prevent disclosure of the information.

On Monday, the justices agreed with Brown & Brown Insurance Inc. of Tampa and Daytona Beach, Florida, in a case that stemmed from Blumenthal's investigation of the insurance industry.

Brown & Brown provided documents but then sued when Blumenthal did not assure the company that the information would be confidential.

Michelle H. Seagull, a lawyer for Brown & Brown, said she is gratified the Supreme Court unanimously limited Blumenthal's authority.

Blumenthal said the ruling does not limit his authority to subpoena, though he acknowledged some limits on his ability to share documents outside the office.

“Our insurance investigation has already uncovered and helped stop a culture of bid rigging, concealed contingent commissions and other anticompetitive practices, and has returned nearly a billion dollars to businesses, individuals and state taxpayers,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “I am reviewing the court’s decision -- which reversed two trial court rulings -- and will consider seeking legislative action to overrule its impact.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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