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State troopers cleared in federal lawsuit

| Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

All of the Armstrong County-based state police troopers named in a federal lawsuit that alleged they violated a Templeton man's civil rights have been cleared of any wrongdoing by U.S. District Court Judge Terrence F. McVerry.

Richard “Dicky” Myers Jr., 53, filed the federal lawsuit on Aug. 30, 2011, against trooper Brian Shaffer and initially named 11 other troopers in the suit.

Myers accused the troopers of participating in the use of excessive force against him, charging him with false charges and crimes, charging his son Travis with false charges and crimes and harassing him and his son.

The other troopers named in the lawsuit were Anthony Aulicino, James DePaolo, Daniel Herr, Bradley Smail, Brian Wolfe, Thomas Dubovi, Randall Kruse, Steve McKizzop, David Naberezny, Thomas Snyder and Samuel Vicari.

According to the lawsuit, Shaffer began having an affair with Myers' wife, Jacqueline Myers, around January 2008.

When Myers became aware of the affair he contacted Shaffer in November 2009.

Since then, the lawsuit alleged that “Shafer has used his position, power and influence as a Pennsylvania state trooper to harass and otherwise deprive plaintiff (Myers) of his constitutional rights. Defendant Shaffer has enlisted the assistance and conspired with the other named defendants in order to carry out this harassment.”

On May 2, 2012, McVerry granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case but Myers filed an amended complaint.

In the amended complaint, Myers dropped five defendants who had been named in the original complaint: Naberezny, Snyder, McKizzop, Kruse and Dubovi.

The court found that the amended complaint indicated that the first alleged incident of harassment occurred on Nov. 29, 2008, instead of November 2009.

According to an order of the court dated Aug. 21, 2012, the plaintiff (Myers) alleged that the defendants, “acting under the color of state law in their capacity as PSP, individually and in conspiracy with one another, violated his constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment.”

The defendants argued that the amended complaint should be dismissed because “the allegations of conduct that occurred within the statute of limitations do not constitute valid Fourth Amendment claims and any alleged constitutional violation that occured prior to August 31, 2009 is barred by the statute of limitations.”

McVerry stated in his conclusion that the court found the conduct of the state police troopers did not violate any Fourth Amendment right.

Jonathan M. Gesk, one of the attorneys representing Myers, said in an e-mail response to a request for comment on Wednesday that his client is not appealing the judge's decision.

“Primarily the case has been dismissed because the two-year statute of limitations had expired on the primary claims of Mr. Myers,” said Gesk.

“From the outset we had argued the ‘Continuing Violations Doctrine,' which means that although wrongful acts may have occurred outside the two-year statute of limitations, we should be entitled to still pursue them as they are part of a continuing pattern that has continued within the last two years ( the limitations period).”

According to Gesk, Myers came to him more than two years after many of the allegedly wrongful acts had occurred “but was still being harassed at the time he came in.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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