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Schuylkill County News

Schuylkill Commissioners to Consider Approving $1.7 Million Settlement in Halcovage, Retaliation Lawsuit

They meet Thursday at 10 a.m. for a vote.

Schuylkill County Commissioners are poised to vote Thursday to approve a $1.7 million settlement with one of the plaintiffs in the 2021 Jane Doe v. Schuylkill County sexual harassment lawsuit.

Commissioners meet at 10 a.m at the Courthouse in Pottsville and this item is on their meeting agenda. The Commissioners are meeting Thursday, rather than Wednesday, this week due to Election Day on Tuesday.

According to the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, the Commissioners will consider a motion to settle that 2021 lawsuit with Jane Doe 1 for the amount of $1.7 million. Of that money, $983,649.33 goes to the plaintiff. The remainder, $716,350.07, goes to Catherine Lowry, the attorney representing Jane Doe 1, and her firm, Derek Smith Law Group, of Philadelphia.

Schuylkill County’s insurance carriers are picking up $1.5 million of the tab and the remaining $200,000 will come from the County itself, if this motion passes.

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If this motion passes, it’ll only settle one-quarter of the lawsuit hanging over the County and specific defendants for the last 3 years. There are still 3 more Jane Doe plaintiffs in the case.

In that lawsuit, the Jane Doe plaintiffs claim they were subjected to years of sexual harassment by former Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage and that the County, as their employer, did nothing to stop him and actually retaliated against them for blowing the whistle on it.

In addition to Halcovage and the County government, as a whole, County Administrator Gary Bender, former Solicitor Glenn Roth, and former Human Resources directors Heidi Zula and Doreen Kutzler are named as individual defendants.

Jane Does 2-4’s part of the lawsuit is still headed for a potential trial in the future.

In a previous Canary report, this $1.7 million settlement on Jane Doe 1’s case was originally agreed to in early March. However, after Magistrate Judge Daryl Bloom ruled against the individual defendants’ motions for summary judgement on their cases, the plaintiffs attempted to up the ante and asked for $2 million in settlement money.

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The County objected and requested Bloom issue an order enforcing the original settlement it believes it had reached with Jane Doe 1.

In a court filing on Wednesday, lawyers on both sides said they were actively negotiating a potential deal and that Bloom should hold off on that enforcement order, had he agreed to it.

FULL COVERAGE: For our coverage on this issue since the beginning, follow this link: Jane Doe v. Schuylkill County

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Coalregion12

    April 25, 2024 at 7:38 am

    And George Halcovage will not have to pay a penny for any of his wrongdoings.
    Totally wrong.
    Have to love working for the government.

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