State Capital Briefs (Evening Edition): Thursday, February 16
The News Service of Florida
The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday sided with a Jacksonville hospital in a battle with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company about how much information the hospital should be required to provide about its charges. The ruling stemmed from services Shands Jacksonville Medical Center provided to 29 State Farm customers as part of the personal-injury protection auto insurance system. State Farm went to court to try to obtain copies of contracts between the hospital and health insurers and to require a Shands official to be available for a deposition, according to Thursday's ruling. State Farm argued that it needed the information to determine if hospital charges for treating accident victims were reasonable. A Duval County circuit judge backed State Farm, but the 1st District Court of Appeal said the insurer was not legally entitled to the information. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the appeals-court decision. The ruling was written by Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and joined by justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince. Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston agreed with the result, though they did not sign on to the opinion. Justice Alan Lawson, who joined the court at the end of December, did not participate in the ruling. Shands Jacksonville is now known as UF Health Jacksonville.