Judge: Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Must Hand Over Documents

July 31, 2009

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has lost a legal fight with the state’s legislative auditor and said that he’ll give auditors “hundreds of thousands” of documents they demanded from his agency.

State District Judge Todd Hernandez has ruled that Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot must have access to the documents he’s sought since 2007 for audits of the Department of Insurance and the state-backed insurer, Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

The ruling partly resolves a lawsuit Donelon filed trying to block Theriot’s access to the documents on grounds that their release is prohibited by state and federal privacy protections.

Among the documents Donelon said he plans to release are e-mails related to: ongoing fraud investigations, consumer complaints and his employees’ sick leave requests.

However, Donelon said he’s still considering whether to appeal to Hernandez’s decision – in hopes that the decision won’t set a precedent for his and other state agencies in the future.

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