(251) 299-0101

Open Records Act

The Health Care Authority for Baptist Health v. Central Alabama Radiation Oncology, LLC, [Ms. 1171030, June 28, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2019). The Court (Mendheim, J.; Parker, C.J., and Shaw, Wise, Sellers, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Bolin and Bryan, JJ., concur in the result; Mitchell, J., recuses) affirms the Montgomery Circuit Court’s judgment requiring Baptist Health, an affiliate of UAB Health Systems, to disclose certain records to Central Alabama Radiation Oncology, LLC pursuant to the Alabama Open Records Act, § 36-12-40 and -41, Ala. Code 1975.

The Court concluded that “regardless of how Baptist Health began, it chose to partner with the University of Alabama to become a government-authorized health-care authority.” Ms. *20. Consequently, the Court “conclud[ed] that the circuit court did not err in determining that the Authority is subject to the Open Records Act.” Ms. *24.

The Court further held that the records in question were not covered by the “Stone” exception to the Public Records Act. The Court noted that “[t]he exception set forth in Stone must be strictly construed and must be applied only in those cases where it is readily apparent that disclosure results in undue harm or embarrassment to an individual, or where the public interest will clearly be adversely affected, when weighed against the public policy considerations suggesting disclosure.” Ms. *25, quoting Chambers v. Birmingham News Co., 552 So. 2d 854, 856-57 (Ala. 1989).

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