The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 2, 2013

Court won't stop commissioners from destroying audio tapes

The Daily Item

BURKESVILLE, Ky. — WILLIAMSPORT — A Shamokin outdoors enthusiast has lost his bid for an injunction to prevent the Northumberland County commissioners from destroying audio tapes of their meetings.

David F. Kaleta did not file the required brief in support of his motion, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson wrote Thursday in denying the request.

Kaleta had sought the injunction to prevent the Northumberland County commissioners from destroying tapes that may contain material pertinent to his suit over access to the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area.

Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy had indicated they plan to destroy the tapes because they could contain information creating liability for the county.

Carlson reminded the parties although the injunction was not issued, they have responsibility to preserve any discoverable evidence in the case.

In September, county Judge Charles Saylor ruled Clausi and Bridy violated the Open Meeting Law by ordering planning director Pat Mack in a private meeting to send Kaleta a letter banning him from the adventure area land.

Kaleta sued the county for damages and in October the case was transferred to federal court.  Kaleta filed an amended complaint Oct. 31 and subsequently Clausi, Bridy and the county asked it be dismissed.

Earlier this week Carlson denied a defense motion to disqualify Timothy Bowers and Kymberly Best as Kaleta’s lawyers because as assistant county solicitors they were deeply involved in the planning and creation of the 6,00-acre recreation park on old coal strip mines.