11/18/2004 at 08:35 AM EST
The fate of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh may now rest with the Florida Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, the 4th District Court of Appeals asked the state's high court to decide whether patients must be notified before their medical records are seized or inspected, the Associated Press reports.
Palm Beach County prosecutors are looking into whether the commentator obtained prescription painkillers from several doctors near his Palm Beach home. Using more than one doctor to secure controlled substances, a process known as "doctor shopping," is a felony.
Limbaugh admitted he had an addiction to painkillers, and took time off from his radio show to enter a drug rehabilitation facility. But Limbaugh denies he has committed any crime, and he has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
In the investigation that followed, officials obtained search warrants after viewing Limbaugh's records without first notifying the radio host. Limbaugh claims that his privacy rights supersede the investigators' power to seize his records. However, last month an appeals court rejected that claim, prompting this appeal to the high court.
The Florida Supreme Court could either hear the case, which might result in a new ruling, or they could decline it, in which case the 4th District Court's earlier ruling would stand.