Adams, et. al. vs. The New York Times, et. al. -- An Update
In October 2003, Mike Adams, the owner of Occu-Safe, a medical clinic in Tyler, Texas, sued The New York Times, FRONTLINE and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the principal authors and producers of the print stories and the 2003 documentary, A Dangerous Business. Mr. Adams and Occu-Safe sued for libel in state court in Smith County, Texas. The complaint focused on the reporting of the medical treatment of Marcos Lopez, as described in The New York Times and in the original documentary. Because the first judge in the case was recused and the second Smith County judge recused herself, the case did not get resolved until April, 2007. After oral arguments, a Texas trial court judge granted defendants' motion for summary judgment with prejudice. Mr. Adams and his lawyers agreed not to appeal the decision if defendants did not attempt to collect court costs from him.
The original complaint in the case, along with electronic copies of the summary judgment motion, the plaintiff's response, the defendants' reply, and the judge's order, are available on request by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New York Times: A Dangerous Business
This index page compiles all of the Times reporting to date on McWane, including the original Pulitzer Prize-winning 2003 articles that were published at the time of FRONTLINE's broadcast. The page for the original series includes a multimedia feature with an interactive graphic on how cast-iron pipe is made; charts comparing McWane's safety to its major competitors; and "behind the scenes" audio from reporters Lowell Bergman and David Barstow. (Note: Free registration at nytimes.com required.)
Canadian Broadcasting Company: A Toxic Company
This CBC site offers documents related to the company's 1995 guilty plea for conspiring to unduly lessen competition in the supply and sale of ductile iron pipe, and more of McWane's response to the joint reporting of FRONTLINE, The New York Times, and the CBC.
McWane's corporate Web site highlights its environmental and worker health and safety efforts. Click the tabs on the homepage to view streaming video on these issues, as well as a message from company President Ruffner Page. Visit separate pages on health and safety and the environment for more in-depth information.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Calling itself "the world's largest business federation representing 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions," the chamber lobbies on behalf of business interests on a wide range of issues. The group tracks the votes of members of Congress and works on policy, including proposing its own ideas to reform OSHA.
AFL-CIO: Safety & Health at Work
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations represents some 10.5 million workers in 55 member unions at home and abroad. This issue page features safety and health tools for workers, the latest news as tracked on the union's blog, and facts and statistics on a variety of worker issues.
Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)
OSHA's Web site offers an overview of the agency's history, including the full text of the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health law. It provides educational materials for employers and workers, as well as a section on OSHA inspection statistics and data nationwide. For an overview of OSHA's role when a worker dies on the job, read this fact sheet (PDF file).
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NIOSH is "the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related disease and injury." The NIOSH also funds research, including this 2006 study (PDF file) which found significant underreporting of worker injuries.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities
This section of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Web site includes the most recent data on illnesses and injuries on the job, as well as the most recent Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.
Department of Justice: Environment and Natural Resources Division
The ENRD's Environmental Crimes Section is responsible for prosecuting individuals and corporations accused of violating environmental laws, including McWane, Inc. The division's Web site includes answers to frequently asked questions and a list of proposed consent decrees negotiated between the division and alleged violators.
The Protecting America's Workers Act
Read the full text of the bill introduced by Senate Democrats in April 2007. The proposed legislation would amend the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act to increase penalties for violations, enhance whistleblower protections and expand the categories of protected workers. Similar legislation has been introduced in the previous two Congresses but failed to pass. By contrast, in 2007 the U.K. Parliament passed a landmark "Corporate Manslaughter Statute", which will hold companies criminally responsible for deaths caused by gross negligence when it goes into effect in April 2008. For more on this issue in Congress, see the Web sites of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety and the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.
Workers' Compensation: State by State
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has compiled links to workers' compensation information for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. For more on workers' compensation explore this August 2007 report, published by the National Academy of Social Insurance, which provides the only comprehensive national data on the largely state-run workers' compensation programs.
Research Resources and Tools
EPA Enforcement and Compliance History Online
The Enforcement and Compliance History Database of the EPA provides a useful source for information pertaining to environmental violations and enforcement actions. Contains details ranging from the date of the facility inspection to the demographic profile of the surrounding area, as well as the total amount of monetary penalties imposed on a facility found to have violations.
Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER)
PACER, a United States Judiciary service, provides an online database that allows anyone to search through U.S. District, Bankruptcy, and Appellate court records. For a small fee, users can look up relevant case filings and court hearings if the items have been electronically stored. Useful for determining whether or not a company has been involved with any federal criminal, civil or bankruptcy litigation.
State Court Web Sites
A helpful site maintained by the National Center for State Courts, a non-profit created by Warren Burger, former chief justice of the Supreme Court. The NCSC website allows for easy access to the court websites for all U.S. states and even territories. A good reference for looking up public records that can't be obtained through PACER.
International Trade Commission Database
The International Trade Commission, a federal agency that investigates matters relating to trade practices, provides an online database of public records regarding administrative hearings on trade investigations.