Court Rejects Appeal of Ex-JonBenet Housekeeper

The former housekeeper for JonBenet Ramsey's (search) family lost a Supreme Court (search) case Monday over plans to tell about her grand jury testimony in a book.

Justices, without comment, refused to consider Linda Hoffmann-Pugh's (search) free-speech challenge of Colorado grand jury secrecy rules.

Hoffmann-Pugh worked for John and Patsy Ramsey when their 6-year-old daughter was found strangled and beaten in the basement of their Boulder, Colo., home on Dec. 26, 1996.

She testified before a grand jury that ended its term in 1999 without issuing an indictment, but is prohibited from disclosing details of the testimony.

She has written a book, "The Death of an Innocent." But her attorney told the court that the secrecy rules have interfered with the publishing of it.

Colorado lawyers told justices in a filing that the former housekeeper can still publish a book about her experiences, she just can't reveal what she told the grand jury.

The case is Hoffmann-Pugh v Keenan, 03-661.

Also Monday, the justices:

-- Rejected an appeal from St. Louis University in a case involving a polio vaccine. The university was ordered in 1991 to pay $16 million to the family of a baby who contracted polio and was paralyzed after receiving vaccine. The university tried to recover the money from the government and American Cynamid Co., the vaccine maker. The university claimed the vaccine Orimune, which was given to Danny Callahan, violated government regulations. The case is St. Louis University v. American Cynamid Co., 03-557.

-- Declined to consider what states can do to give consumers more options for local telephone service. Justices rejected appeals from MCI and Wisconsin regulators over a plan in that state to speed up competition for phone service. An appeals court ruled that federal law blocked states from requiring the former Bells to set up rate plans for companies like MCI that want to compete. The cases are WorldCom Inc. v. Wisconsin Bell, Inc., 03-603, and Bie v. Wisconsin Bell, 03-656.

-- Refused to consider protecting Allstate Insurance Co. from claims for damage from the 1994 Northridge, Calif., earthquake. The company had challenged a law that allowed homeowners to refile claims from the quake that claimed more than 70 lives. The case is Allstate Insurance Co. v. Noah, 03-341.

-- Refused to consider when the government must pay legal fees in environmental cases settled out of court. The Bush administration challenged an appeals court ruling that granted the Sierra Club fees in a dispute over clean air regulations. The case is Environmental Protection Agency v. Sierra Club, 03-509.

-- Declined to hear an appeal from Alcan Aluminum Corp., which was ordered to pay $13.6 million for cleanup of hazardous waste sites in central New York. The case is Alcan Aluminum Corp. v. United States, 03-433.