Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "wrongful death" ...

  • Quarantining Lawsuits

    This report revealed how the two major health care systems in Roanoke concealed wrongful death lawsuits against them, after they agreed to settle the claims of medical malpractice. To do this, the hospitals had the lawsuits dropped quietly in the court where they were filed. They then went to out-of-town courthouses to settle the cases, largely out of public view.
  • Illinois Public Hospitals Pay $180 Million for Wrongful Death Cases

    Public hospitals in Illinois paid more than $180 million over a decade for patient deaths, a figure that points to numerous medical errors despite efforts to reduce mistakes. While system-wide failures at VA hospitals are widely reported, our investigation points to problems at other public medical centers. http://www.bettergov.org/illinois_public_hospitals_pay_180_million_for_wrongful_death_cases/
  • Watching Tony Die

    Wendy Halloran first requested public records from the Arizona Department of Corrections (“ADOC”) in the fall of 2010, shortly after Anthony Lester died at the Manzanita Detention Unit in Tucson. As she investigated the incident, Halloran learned that ADOC officers who responded to the call in Lester’s prison cell retrieved a video camera to document the incident. The resulting video depicted the officers’ response to Lester’s suicide attempt. In June 2011, Halloran first requested that ADOC make a copy of the video available for inspection and copying. However, ADOC denied her request, citing the privacy interests of Lester’s surviving family members, who had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against ADOC alleging that ADOC’s officers stood by and refused to render first aid to Lester as he bled to death in his cell. Halloran continued reporting on Lester’s death, but without the aid of the video that showed what happened. In July 2012, Halloran renewed her public records request for the video. ADOC again denied the request, citing only the privacy concerns of Lester’s family. Halloran then contacted the attorney representing Lester’s family, who informed Halloran in early September 2012 that the family did not object to disclosure, provided that two small sections of the video in which Lester was partially clothed were redacted. Upon learning that the family did not oppose disclosure, Halloran renewed her public records request on September 6, 2012 with ADOC for the video. Despite Lester’s family voicing no objections to disclosure, ADOC again denied Halloran’s request, now inexplicably citing Lester’s privacy interests. Three days after denying her request, ADOC offered to allow Halloran to view the video, but continued to refuse disclosure of a copy of the video -- despite no distinction in the Arizona Public Records Law between the rights of inspection and copying. On September 20, 2012, Halloran viewed the video. She renewed her request for a copy of the video on September 24, and narrowed her request, seeking only the first 12 minutes of the video that involved ADOC’s response to Lester’s injuries. ADOC again denied Halloran’s request, citing only Lester’s “personal privacy” interests – a dubious legal proposition because courts rarely recognize privacy interests of the deceased. Having exhausted all attempts to convince ADOC to comply with the law and release the video, KPNX and Halloran filed a Special Action against ADOC on October 2, 2012. ADOC continued to resist disclosure of the video, first requesting that the case be transferred to the judge who was presiding over the Lester family’s wrongful death lawsuit, and then filing two separate responses to the lawsuit. In its responses, ADOC asserted for the first time that disclosure of the video could pose a threat to prison safety and security, and prejudice the jury pool in the civil case. In addition, the agency continued to cite the privacy interests of Lester and his family to oppose disclosure of the video – even though Lester’s family did not object to disclosure. On November 21, 2012, Arizona Superior Court Judge David M. Talamante ordered ADOC to produce the video to KPNX and Halloran, finding that ADOC failed to meet its burden to withhold the video under the Arizona Public Records Law. Judge Talamante rejected all of ADOC’s arguments, and suggested he was inclined to grant KPNX’s request for attorneys’ fees. ADOC later agreed to pay more than $26,000.00 in attorneys’ fees to KPNX as a result of its wrongful denial of Halloran’s public records requests.
  • Botched Sting

    This story exposed how local Florida police cost a young woman her life by manipulating her into working an undercover sting, then botching the operation. Rachel Hoffman was a typical American college student who was also twice arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Scared and facing jail time, Rachel agreed to be a police informant. Police told here that no charges would be filed, that prosecutors would never know and that they would protect her. Only after her death, and following this investigation, did the police admit that their recruitment of Rachel Hoffman violated their own policies.
  • Right By Miles

    This story looked back to a traffic accident six years ago (2002) in which a car driven by a teenager ran off a back country road in the middle of the night and his passenger, a 16-year-old named Miles White, was killed. The polk County Shriff's Office investigated, ruled it a single car accident and charged the 19-year-old driver with DUI-manslaughter. The Times was able to show that the sheriff's office had engaged in a cover-up. It was not a single-car crash; it was caused by a Polk County sheriff's deputy, who, as it turned out, was a sexual predator who like teenage boys. He chased the boys that night, hit their rear bumper and ran them off the road. The Times showed that before the accident, the sheriff's office had been warned that they had a deputy who was using his undercover vehicle to stalk teenage boys. They had not heeded that warning and left him on the road. If he then caused an accident that killed a boy, the department would have been on the hook for multimillion dollar damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. The office chose instead to cover up the truth.
  • Blackwater

    Continuing the coverage of Blackwater, a private military company, from 2006, the Pilot exposed "several unresolved issues surrounding the unprecedented privatization of warfare that has become a hallmark of the wards in Iraq and Afghanistan."
  • A Stunning Toll

    Fort Worth Weekly partnered with University of North Texas students who made open records requests of all Texas law enforcement agencies to obtain data on deaths and injuries in Texas resulting form law enforcement agency individual's Taser use.
  • Tread Secrets: Evidence Disappearing

    Cooper Tire & Rubber Company settled many plaintiffs, hired an ex-con to retrieve evidence of tread failure at fatal crash sites, and were able to make judges seal the records in wrongful death and product liability cases.
  • Tread Secrets

    In this story, KNXV created a database of lawsuits against Cooper Tires relating to accidents caused by tire tread separation by obtaining internal documents from an inside source at Cooper. The documents reveal that Cooper knew of the tire defects but chose not to remedy them in order to save money. The story led to legal action by Cooper against KNXV to prevent rebroadcast and uncover the inside source of documents.
  • "Prison medicine: Costly decisions, dire consequences"

    This series of stories revealed substandard medical care in Ohio prisons. The death of a 19-year-old inmate from a staph skin infection prompted the investigation, which later revealed a settlement from a wrongful death lawsuit, prison doctors who lied about their backgrounds and state-hired doctor-placement agencies with repeated problems. Four months after the investigation the Ohio Prison Department recommended 140 changes to the prison medical system.