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Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 12:29 am

We Won

After more than three years, Illinois Times is on the verge of prying loose information on settlements to resolve medical malpractice claims involving state inmates. We first requested settlements back in 2015. The state Department of Corrections, however, didn’t have them. Rather, the settlements were made and held by Wexford Health Sources, the company that holds the contract to provide medical care to inmates. The state agreed with us: The settlements should be made public under the state Freedom of Information Act, which states that settlements made by vendors who perform governmental duties are public records. Wexford argued otherwise and initially prevailed, convincing Sangamon County Associate Judge Brian Otwell, since retired, that the settlements were business records not subject to public scrutiny. Earlier this month, the Fourth District Appellate Court in a unanimous decision reversed Otwell, ruling malpractice settlements involving inmates are public records. One settlement is the basis of our case, but should the appellate decision stand, we expect to receive more.

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