West Virginia supreme court blocks release of documents in Cabell Huntington, St. Mary's merger

The West Virginia Supreme Court blocked the release of 89 documents held by the state Attorney General's Office related to the merger between Cabell Huntington (W.Va.) Hospital and Huntington, W.Va.-based St. Mary's Medical Center, according to the Charleston-Gazette Mail.

The documents allegedly contained letters from politicians and local businessmen advocating in support of the merger.

Supreme Court judges voted 3-1 to grant Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's request to put a hold on Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman's order to release the documents.

The Steel of West Virginia requested the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. When the Attorney General's Office would not release them, the company filed a lawsuit against the attorney general. Mr. Morrisey claimed disclosure of the documents was impertinent because he secured the files while conducting an antitrust investigation into the merger.

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission, which also investigated the hospital merger, issued Judge Kaufman a letter advocating against the documents' release.

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