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Judge to rule soon in suit involving ex-sheriff

September 13. 2013 11:27PM

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WILKES-BARRE — A Luzerne County judge said Friday he’ll soon decide on a request by a former county sheriff to dismiss a lawsuit surrounding statements he made that were allegedly defamatory.

Judge Michael Vough heard from attorneys Tom Marsilio, who represents George “Nipper” Nowakowski who filed the original suit in 2009, and Donald Brobst, who represents former county sheriff Michael Savokinas.

In the suit, Nowakowski alleges statements Savokinas made were “defamatory and particularly humiliating and embarrassing for an individual who has spent his entire career in law enforcement.” The statements appeared in a Times Leader article about marijuana that was found in a county sheriff’s vehicle.

The suit claims Savokinas knew his statements were “false, malicious and made with reckless disregard for the truth.”

Marsilio originally filed a lawsuit in 2009 against Savokinas as county sheriff, but dropped that suit and filed a new one in 2010 against Savokinas, who had resigned from his position in September 2009.

Savokinas’ attorney argued the most recent suit should be dismissed because it was filed outside the statute of limitation and long after Savokinas allegedly made the comments.

Brobst also argued Savokinas is protected by state law in the suit because he made the comments while serving in an official capacity — as county sheriff — even if he is sued as an individual in the newest filing. Brobst said it is obvious Savokinas made the statements about his job as a sheriff and while he was serving as sheriff.

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