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Florida's Top Court May Hear Limbaugh Case

The state Supreme Court is being asked to consider whether prosecutors violated Rush Limbaugh's (search) privacy rights when they paid a surprise visit to his doctors and seized his medical records for an investigation into his use of painkillers.

An appeals court, which previously ruled against Limbaugh, asked the high court on Wednesday to decide whether patients should be notified before their medical records are seized or inspected.

The Supreme Court could decline to hear the case, allowing the lower court's decision to stand.

Last month, Florida's 4th District Court of Appeal (search) rejected the conservative talk radio host's claim that his privacy rights trumped investigators' power to seize his medical records.

Limbaugh appealed that decision, asking the appeals court for a rehearing or for the Supreme Court to decide the matter. The request for a rehearing was denied.

Investigators seized Limbaugh's medical records in November 2003 to see if the conservative radio commentator engaged in "doctor shopping," or illegally visiting several doctors to receive duplicate prescriptions.

Limbaugh has not been charged with a crime and the investigation remains at a standstill pending a decision. Prosecutors have not been allowed to review the medical records while the case is heard.

Prosecutors went after the records upon learning that Limbaugh received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach (search) mansion.

Limbaugh contends the investigation is politically motivated, but admitted an addiction to pain medication last October, saying it stemmed from severe back pain.

He took a five-week leave from his afternoon radio show to enter a rehab program.

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