Gas station owners win verdict in theft case
HERMITAGE – The owners of a former Hermitage gas station have won a judgment against a man accused of participating in removing equipment and fixtures without authorization.
When A&M Fuel Services Inc. closed its station at 148 N. Buhl Farm Drive in 2010, owners Michael and Aileen Magnotto hired companies to remove and sell certain items.
The Magnottos closed the affiliated Hermitage Shop’n Save grocery store at the same time.
They allege in a civil lawsuit that the companies took many more items than they were allowed to.
Hermitage police prosecuted John M. Pope of Tishomingo, Okla., and he pleaded guilty to theft. He was sentenced in 2011 to 25 days to 6 months in jail and three years probation.
Pope and his company, Commercial Equipment Resale, are named with several other individuals and firms in the civil suit.
A&M recently won a judgment against Harry Yadav because he did not respond to the suit.
After the default judgment was filed, Yadav hired attorneys to protest, arguing that Yadav thought his former employer, Robert Bolea of Bolea Oil Products Inc., was handling it.
Yadav asked to open the judgment but Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. St. John denied it and set a Dec. 4 trial date to determine damages.
Yadav’s attorneys withdrew saying Yadav could not afford them, and Yadav failed to show up for the trial.
St. John said A&M is entitled to $295,640 from Yadav, who works as a convenience store clerk.
Cases against the other defendants are pending.
Sharon Regional settles wrongful death lawsuit
SHENANGO VALLEY – A Mercer County judge recently approved a $2 million settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Sharon Regional Health System and Dr. Jason A. Bennett.
Traci Augustine of Brookfield filed the suit Oct. 6, 2010, alleging the failure to diagnose a soft tissue cancer in her right elbow.
She died Oct. 14, 2011, at the age of 46 of metastatic malignant sarcoma, and her sister, Kim Sorg of Masury, the executrix of her estate, took over the suit.
Sorg also is guardian of Augustine’s daughter.
Sharon Regional denied liability and “aggressively defended” the suit, according to Sorg’s attorneys Joel J. Feller and Shanon S. Levin, Pittsburgh.
The attorneys called the settlement “excellent” given the defendants maintaining they did nothing wrong.
Of the settlement proceeds, $666,666 goes to Sorg’s attorney’s for fees and $105,120 for expenses, including hiring three experts; $188,794 for medical liens; $623,651 to Augustine’s daughter; and $415,768 to her estate.
The case was set for trial in August but was headed off by settlement negotiations.
Senior Judge Francis J. Fornelli approved the settlement Nov. 21.