ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's Supreme Court says hospitals don't have to turn over documents related to doctor performance even when there's evidence they committed fraud against patients.

The high court in a Wednesday opinion reversed a lower court ruling that plaintiffs suing two South Dakota hospitals and several doctors should have access to certain materials used by hospital peer review committees to review physicians' performance.

Circuit Court Judge Bruce Anderson said the statute that protects the disclosure of those materials can be breached under a crime-fraud exception. The Supreme Court ruled that the exception doesn't exist and that creating one is better left to the Legislature.

Anderson is overseeing more than 30 lawsuits against Dr. Allen Sossan, who is accused of killing and injuring patients in Yankton between 2008 and 2012.

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