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Pennsylvania Prisoner Settles Federal Assault Suit Against Fayette County Prison Guards

by Christopher Zoukis

Timothy Michael Reckner, a prisoner at Fayette County Prison, Pennsylvania, who was allegedly assaulted by prison guards on several occasions, resulting in physical and emotional injuries, agreed to a settlement with the various parties.

     While Reckner was incarcerated in Fayette County, he was allegedly cooperating with state authorities in a homicide investigation involving another prisoner. According to Reckner, between August 17 and September 2, 2009, he was reportedly assaulted repeatedly by guards Joseph George Yeagley and Bruce McCombie for being an informant. The guards also allegedly let other inmates know that he was a “snitch.” He claimed that his phone service was shut off and that Yeagley destroyed a letter Reckner wrote to his mother describing the abusive treatment.

     On June 6, 2011, Reckner filed a civil rights claim in federal court against Yeagley, McCombie, Warden Larry Medlock, the Fayette County Prison Board and the County of Fayette. He argued that the defendants acted under color of law to violate his First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, committed assault and battery, and acted negligently.

     Reckner alleged physical injuries, including a displaced patellar, instability of the patellar, torn meniscus, torn lateral meniscus, back sprain and strain, contusions, lacerations and permanent scarring. He also claimed a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, mental discomfort, anguish, distress, great pain, and suffering. He sought compensation for his injuries, medical expenses incurred, present and future loss of earnings, as well as punitive damages, attorney's fees and court costs.

     On December 12, 2011, Reckner agreed to a settlement, and a notice of voluntary dismissal was submitted three days later. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

See: Reckner v. County of Fayette, et al., United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Case No. 2:11-cv-00745-MPK (Dec. 12, 2011)

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Related legal case

Reckner v. County of Fayette, et al.