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Reilly v. York County

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  1. Court Access

Case Number: 1:18-cv-01803-MCC

Court: U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

Client: York Daily Record

Motion to Intervene and Unseal Filed: July 5, 2022

Background: In April 2021, the York County Prison and contractor PrimeCare Medical entered into a settlement agreement with the estate of Veronique Aundrea Henry, a 32-year-old inmate who died by suicide in September 2016. A wrongful-death lawsuit filed by her estate alleged that Henry’s death was the result of insufficient mental health care and negligence by corrections officers.

The York Daily Record, which has investigated several inmate deaths at the prison in recent years, filed a request for details of the settlement agreement under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. In response, York County released the $5,000 settlement it reached with Henry’s estate. However, the county did not provide access to the settlement between the estate and PrimeCare, which provides health services to the prison.

On behalf of the York Daily Record, attorneys for the Reporters Committee and the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic filed a motion to intervene and unseal details of the full settlement, including those related to the agreement reached between the estate and PrimeCare. The newspaper argues that the public has a right to access the court records under the First Amendment and common law.

Quote: “PrimeCare’s actions here impact public tax expenditures and the health and safety of incarcerated individuals,” attorneys for the York Daily Record wrote in a brief filed in support of its motion to unseal the records. “Because the settlement records were sealed, questions remain concerning PrimeCare’s portion of the settlement as it continues to serve as the prison’s health care contractor.”

Co-counsel: Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic

Update: On Aug. 5, 2022, the court granted the York Daily Record’s motion to intervene and ordered the unsealing of the settlement agreement.

Filings: 

2022-07-05: Motion to intervene and unseal

2022-07-05: Memorandum of law in support of the York Daily Record’s motion to intervene and unseal

2022-07-22: Order

2022-08-05: Order granting motion to intervene and unseal