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Indiana Court: Causes of Death are Public Record

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EVANSVILLE — The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that causes of death are public records and must be available at county levels.The ruling Tuesday came in a lawsuit filed by the Evansville Courier & Press and resident Rita Ward after the Vanderburgh County Health Department denied access to the information in 2012.The health department said state law required it to restrict access to the information, and a local judge sided with the agency. The state appeals court upheld his ruling.The Supreme Court acknowledged that public disclosure of the cause of death might be painful for relatives and friends of the deceased. But it said the General Assembly has rejected numerous attempts to exempt death certificates from public records laws.Attorney General Greg Zoeller hailed the decision.