By: Diego Ibarguen, Associated Press Writer

Reporter’s Family Says Company Was Negligent

NEW YORK — (AP) The family of Larry Lee, a Bridge News reporter
who was killed in Guatemala in 1999, has filed a wrongful-death
lawsuit against the news organization.

The suit, filed Thursday in federal court in Manhattan, seeks
damages of at least $1 million and also names New York-based
parent company Bridge, Executive Vice President Angus Robertson,
and two former supervisors as defendants.

The suit alleges Bridge “took no reasonable precautions to
provide safety training or procedures for Lee in Guatemala,”
where, the suit added, journalists were the subject of
harassment, threats, and physical attacks.

Lee, 41, a native of Doniphan, Mo., was found Dec. 28, 1999, on a
bed in his Guatemala City apartment. Police said Lee, who had
been working in Guatemala for about a year, had been stabbed
several times.

Deanna Masella, a spokeswoman for Bridge, e-mailed the following
company statement: “Bridge continues to mourn the tragic death of
Larry Lee in December of 1999. We believe, however, that his
death was unrelated to his work for Bridge News and that our
organization and employees bear no responsibility with respect to
this matter.”

According to the suit, Bridge failed to properly implement a
system in which local authorities would be notified if a
journalist failed to report to a Bridge supervisor for more than
24 hours.

Lee’s last contact with Bridge was at 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 26. His
time of death was determined to be in the early afternoon of Dec.
28, well past the 24 hours indicated in the company’s
notification requirement, according to the suit.

Just before he died, Lee had worked on a story about human rights
abuses and corruption allegedly involving a former military and
legislative leader.

The suit seeks a ruling forcing defendants to hand over to
Guatemalan authorities all communications, news articles and a
disk from Lee’s computer, in addition to other documents relevant
to his death.

Bridge is the largest provider of financial data in North America
and is No. 2 in the world behind Reuters, delivering data on
stocks, bonds and currency to financial service companies
worldwide. Bridge filed for bankruptcy in February and hired an
investment banker to consider a sale of the company.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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