Friday, May 27, 2011

Citizens with video camera to receive $75,000 in Blawnox settlement

WOW - I'm in shock...Melina called to ask for help. Weird they settled
like that "at the insistence of their insurance carrier." They must
have been bound to lose big time!

Forwarded message from {PghAction}

Women to receive $75,000 in Blawnox settlement
Friday, May 27, 2011
By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A lawsuit accusing Blawnox of illegally restricting public
participation in, and recording of, meetings has been settled, with the
borough agreeing to change its policies and pay a total of $75,000 to
two women and their attorneys. Blawnox Council approved the settlement

Peggy Albright and Melina Brajovic sued last year over a series of
events beginning in 2008. They said the borough council had barred
comment at some meetings; ordered the arrest of Ms. Albright for
disorderly conduct; made non-specific threats when controversial issues
were raised; and barred Ms. Brajovic from filming meetings without
signing up a day in advance and remaining in a designated area.
When the disorderly conduct charge against Ms. Albright was
dismissed in Common Pleas Court, District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala
Jr. took the unusual step of appealing to the state Supreme Court --
but lost.

The borough will now allow public comment at both its business and
agenda meetings and lift the restrictions on videotaping, according to
Frederick B. Goldsmith, who, along with the American Civil Liberties
Union, represented the plaintiffs in U.S. District Court.
"Although the matter has been settled, the borough officials deny
any liability" for any violations of state open meetings laws or
federal civil rights, according to a press release from Blawnox. The
release quoted Mayor Thomas M. Smith as saying the settlement was made
"at the insistence of the borough's insurance carrier."

Both women, along with their attorneys, will get portions of the
settlement amount, Mr. Goldsmith wrote in a summary of the settlement.
Read more:


Mark Rauterkus
412 298 3432 = cell

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