Oklahoma Supreme Court Denies Chamber Amicus Curiae

Article excerpt

The State Chamber of Oklahoma's attempt to file an amicus curiae (Latin for "friend of the court") brief hit a roadblock this week when the Oklahoma Supreme Court denied the group's request.

On Thursday the court issued an order telling the state chamber no.

Earlier this summer, the chamber had asked the court to it allow it to file the brief in support of a pending lawsuit by state Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland. Chamber President Fred Morgan, a former Republican state representative, said he was disappointed by the court's decision.

"The State Chamber has received the formal denial of its application to file an amicus curiae in the lawsuit brought by Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland challenging the constitutionality of legislation passed this past session that imposes a 1-percent tax on paid health care claims," he said. "While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court turned down our request, we will wait for the Supreme Court's final decision on the lawsuit and will re-examine our options at that time."

The court's announcement follows a hearing held by Supreme Court Referee Barbara Swimley on Aug. 4. At that hearing, Swimley heard testimony from Michael Ridgeway, an attorney for state Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland, who said the bill - which levies a 1- percent fee on health care claims - had nothing to do with insurance, but instead was designed to help balance the state's budget.

Attorneys for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority countered that Holland didn't have standing to bring the lawsuit and said the insurance commissioner's concerns were mere speculation. …