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Ex-police chief’s lawsuit dismissed again

By Staff | Jun 12, 2012

HUGHESVILLE – Borough leaders have taken steps to seek sanctions against a former police chief whose two lawsuits against the council and mayor for wrongful discharge have been dismissed in U.S. Middle District Court in Williamsport.

The latest dismissal came May 29 when U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III granted the borough’s motion for sanctions against former police Chief Richard W. Shearer and dismissed Shearer’s latest lawsuit, according to court documents.

Jones also asked the borough’s attorney to prepare time sheets in connection with the sanctions and to show any legal cost associated with defending the matter.

Initially denied by Magistrate Judge J. Andrew Smyser, the motion for sanctions – to pay for all legal costs – was granted by Jones..

Sanctions can be paid for by Shearer’s attorney or Shearer, according to court documents.

The more-than-two-year-saga began when Shearer was appointed to the position Nov. 16, 2009.

Former Mayor Frank Welsh and former Council President Frederick Newhart were in office when Shearer signed a contract that ran from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2014.

Newly elected Mayor Walter Reed then recommended council terminate the contract and council did that Feb. 8, 2010.

That year, Shearer filed a suit claiming he wasn’t given due process and sought damages in excess of $500,000.

In January, Shearer filed an identical legal action in Lycoming County Court.

The case was moved to federal court and defendants named were council members Jeffery Berger, James Savage, Andrew Mook, Richard Smith, Jillian Perry and Reed.

Numerous attempts to reach the borough officials for comment have not been successful. Council members didn’t return calls after request by the Sun-Gazette.

Borough solicitor Ryan Tira said Wednesday the borough officials typically won’t comment during litigation and before the court rules on sanctions.