Freedom of Information Act Ruling, Sangamon County Case 17-MR-324

Bruce Rushton and Illinois Times v. Illinois Department of Corrections and Wexford Health Sources, Inc., intervenor, Seventh Judicial Circuit, Sangamon County, 17-MR-324. 

Plaintiffs, Illinois Times and one of its reporters, Bruce Rushton, brought suit against the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to compel the production of a private settlement agreement between Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (Wexford), the medical vendor for IDOC, and a Plaintiff in a suit alleging the unconstitutional provision of medical care.  The IDOC was not a party to the settlement agreement. Prior to the lawsuit, Wexford had provided the IDOC a minimally redacted copy of the settlement in a good faith attempt to allow IDOC to evaluate the Plaintiffs pending FOIA request, which IDOC ultimately provided to Plaintiffs over Wexford’s objection. After Plaintiffs filed suit to compel production of the unredacted settlement agreement under FOIA, Wexford intervened.  On February 16, 2018, Hon. Brian T. Otwell granted Wexford’s Motion for Summary Judgment, holding that Wexford is not a public body under 5 ILCS 140/2.20. Additionally, 5 ILCS 140/7(2) does not authorize disclosure under FOIA because Wexford’s independent business decision to settle claims does not directly relate to its governmental function. Wexford is represented by Andrew DeVooght & Nina Ruvinsky of Loeb & Loeb and Andrew M. Ramage of Brown, Hay & Stephens, LLP.

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