Former Woods Run prison guards sue Corrections officials over unfair suspensions
Three former guards at the state prison at Woods Run sued four Department of Corrections officials on Thursday, claiming they were unfairly suspended during an ongoing prison abuse scandal.
Guards Sean Storey, Kevin Johnson and Jerome Lynch sued Corrections Secretary John E. Wetzel, Deputy Secretary Shirley M. Smeal and former Superintendents Daniel Burns and Melvin Lockett.
According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Lockett suspended the men without explanation on April 1, 2011, and without pay or benefits, which is in violation of a union contract.
Johnson had a due process hearing on Feb. 28, according to the lawsuit, and Storey and Lynch had one on March 30. Attorney Eric C. Stoltenberg, representing all three men, said Storey resigned around the time of his hearing.
“He quit out of complete frustration. He was completely fed up with the Department of Corrections, they way they trampled on his civil rights,” Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg said Lynch filed a grievance in connection with his firing. Lynch faces a Feb. 5 jury trial on charges including simple assault.
Johnson wasn't charged and is still employed at the prison. But he is awaiting an arbitration hearing because he was demoted from sergeant to corrections officer, Stoltenberg said.
All three men are demanding lost wages, compensation for paying toward health benefits and other related financial issues. The Department of Corrections declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.