The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

June 24, 2014

Township pays watchdog $102,000 to settle lawsuit

SOUTH PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP — Kurt D. Toth accepted $102,000 to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit he filed against South Pymatuning Township and a policeman.

Toth, a self-styled township watchdog, alleged his free-speech rights were violated when he was removed from a June 12, 2012, township supervisors’ meeting by patrolman Andreu Foriska.

He also charged Foriska with assault and battery, retaliation, malicious prosecution and abuse of process.

In the settlement contract, obtained by The Herald Monday in a Right-to-Know request, the township and Foriska state they do not admit any wrongdoing or liability. The settlement was made “solely to avoid the costs of litigation and at the request of their insurance company.”

The township likely will be asked to pay a $2,500 deductible, but has not yet been billed. The rest of the money was paid by the insurance carrier.

The settlement also buttons Toth’s lips. “If asked about this litigation by anyone other than his lawyer, accountant and/or spouse, (Toth) may say only that ‘the case has been dismissed and it has been resolved to my satisfaction,’ ” the contract states.

Toth, 47, of Orangeville Road, initially filed the suit 10 days after the meeting, and amended it twice.

Foriska charged Toth criminally with two counts of disorderly conduct and one count each of failing to disperse and disrupting a lawful meeting. Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson dismissed the disorderly conduct and failure-to-disperse charges at an Aug. 13 nonjury trial. Dobson found Toth not guilty of the remaining count.

At the supervisors’ meeting, Toth questioned an appointment to the board of auditors. Toth was unhappy with the answer by then-supervisors’ Chairman Michael Nashtock and pressed him.

Nashtock said Toth’s posture was “somewhat threatening” and he became “concerned” that Toth would “use aggression” against him and the other two supervisors, but he never cut off Toth, told him he was out of line or asked Foriska to intervene.

Foriska testified Toth “badgered” and “harassed” the supervisors and concluded Toth’s conduct was “quickly escalating toward disorderly behavior.”

Foriska approached Toth and asked him to leave. He put a hand on Toth’s wrist and Toth pulled away.

Foriska pulled out his Taser, an electronic shocking device. He testified he pointed it at Toth while Toth claimed Foriska jammed it into his ribs.

Toth went outside and he and Foriska argued. A video recording of the encounter was posted on Facebook for a while.

Toth filed a previous federal civil suit against the township stemming from two previous criminal cases filed by township police, and the sides settled for $30,000.

Text Only
Local News
  • Natural gas rates drop 5.6 pct.

    National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. on Thursday announced it lowered residential natural gas rates by 5.6 percent, effective today through October.

    August 1, 2014

  • Audit calls for better record-keeping policies

    The annual auditor’s report for the City of Farrell was presented by City Manager Michael Ceci to council members Monday.

    August 1, 2014

  • trout island trail paving Hot on the trail

    Work began last week to pave a section of the Trout Island Trail, replacing a crushed limestone surface.

    August 1, 2014 3 Photos

  • CIRT team in Jackson Center Man arrested after shooting standoff

    One Jackson Center man is recovering from a bullet wound, and the borough resident accused of shooting him sits in jail after a long night of drinking that state police say turned into a case of attempted homicide.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Speedway location City on track for new Speedway store

    Speedway is lining up its administrative and bureaucratic cones on plans for the gas station and convenience store chain to zoom into downtown Sharon.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guards, county OK deal

    County officials and guards at the Mercer County Jail have reached a tentative contract agreement that, if approved, halts the idea of privatizing operations at the facility.

    July 31, 2014

  • Doss: Public has right to know

    A major part of Farrell council’s work session Monday was spent deciding whether or not to inform the audience about an unofficial police proposal from the City of Sharon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Budget falling short despite tax hike

    Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.

    July 30, 2014

  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014