Shickshinny Borough responds to mayor’s lawsuit

June 9th, 2015 7:30 pm

First Posted: 7/2/2014

WILKES-BARRE — The legal battle between Shickshinny Mayor Beverly Moore and the borough took another legal turn Wednesday, as borough officials filed documents alleging that any damages Moore claims she suffered were the fault of herself or other people, not the borough.

Following January’s dismissal of borough police officer Brian Morris, Moore in May filed suit against the borough and several officials, alleging a pattern of behavior including secret meetings, being denied access to municipal offices and being forced to file right-to-know requests to see borough documents.

Moore, who was first elected to the post in 1997, also named as defendants council members Michael Steeber, James Wido, and Roselee Whitebread and secretary Wendy Kramer, according to documents filed in Luzerne County Court.

Moore asked the court to require she be informed of all borough meetings, be given access to all documents without having to file a request and be given “free and unfettered access” to the borough building.

The borough’s response, filed Wednesday in Luzerne County Court, includes the following arguments:

• A denial of any liability, together with a request for summary judgment in its favor, together with awarding attorney’s fees and costs.

• Moore’s claims are barred by her “failure to exhaust available administrative remedies.” It further states that “Pennsylvania provides adequate and meaningful procedures through which (Moore) could seek to cure any local errors and irregularities.”

• The defendants “reasonably believed their actions were lawful and reasonable.”

• Any damages to Moore “were caused by (her) own willful and malicious conduct and/or negligent, reckless, intentional and/or criminal conduct, and not by the alleged actions” of the borough.

• Moore’s case fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

The borough’s response was filed by Chester County labor attorney Christopher P. Gerber, of the firm Siana, Bellwoar & McAndrew.

Moore is represented by Franklin E. Kepner Jr. of Berwick, according to court documents.