Open Records Hearing Set in Hospital Merger Suit
A Jefferson Circuit judge has scheduled a December 21 hearing on whether the University of Louisville should turn over records requested by the county attorney related to the pending hospital merger. County Attorney Mike O’Connell filed a lawsuit last week seeking what he says are substantive financial and other documents involving taxpayer money regarding the pending merger of University of Louisville Hospital, Catholic Health Initiatives and Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare.
O’Connell says U of L is withholding the records in violation of state law, but the university says the documents are exempt from disclosure because they’re preliminary in nature, fall under attorney/client privilege or otherwise protected.
Attorney William Hollander represents U of L in the suit; he told Judge Irv Maze Monday that university has been clear about why it’s withholding the records.
“Those documents were all enumerated in the proper way by the University of Louisville in its response to the open records request,” he said.
Hollander declined to comment further after a 30 minute hearing before Maze, saying he had just received the case Friday.
O’Connell says the merger involves millions of dollars in taxpayer funds and the public has the right to scrutinize the information.
“I say this with due respect but also due concern that they don’t want to disclose and haven’t disclosed any relevant financial documents or anything intricate relating to this merger,” O’Connell said after the hearing.
Judge Maze will review the documents privately prior to the December 21st proceedings.