Fayette County Prison

Exterior of Fayette County Prison

Recently added defendants in a lawsuit brought by a Fayette County man who claimed his rights were violated when he was in county prison without a hearing argued that they should be dismissed from the suit.

Steve Lubic of Perryopolis alleged after he was picked up at his home on simple assault charges on Feb. 7, 2017, he was subjected to deplorable conditions at the Fayette County Prison before he was released Feb. 13. The assault charges were out of Allegheny County.

His attorney, Charity Grimm Krupa, filed an amended complaint in May, naming the county’s prison board, state police Trooper Matthew Uram and prison employees T.J. Fike and Lou Krukowsky.

In a motion filed on behalf of all the defendants except for Uram, a county attorney argued the punitive damages sought cannot be imposed on the county, the prison board or employees in their official capacities.

“The rationale for the unavailability of punitive damages against governmental entities is obvious: punitive damages are intended to punish,” wrote attorney Michael R. Lettrich in the motion. “An award of punitive damages against the government would be paid by the taxpayers.”

Lettrich contended the amended complaint doesn’t state whether Fike and Krukowsky were being sued in their official or individual capacities, or both, adding that seeking punitive damages against either employee in an official capacity is improper.

Lettrich added that the claim against the prison board was filed beyond the statute of limitations, as the events in the complaint occurred between Feb. 7 and 13 of 2017.

While the original complaint was filed on Feb. 8, 2019, the prison board was added on May 9, going over the two-year time limit for suing by nearly three months.

In a separate motion, Deputy Attorney General Yana L. Warshafsky argued Lubic waited too long to sue Uram.

“Feb. 7, 2017, was the only day on which Trooper Uram had any interaction with (Lubic),” Warshafsky wrote.

U.S. District Judge Maureen P. Kelly is expected to rule on the matter.

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