Settlement Reached in Northumberland County Prison Federal Whistleblowers Case

Northumberland County, Pennsylvania has settled a lawsuit filed against it and the members of the Northumberland County Prison Board in Federal District Court by former Assistant Warden John Conrad and his wife, Leslie, for $87,500. The Conrads were represented by attorney Joshua J. Cochran of the law firm of Schemery Zicolello, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The federal civil rights lawsuit alleged that John Conrad was fired in retaliation for reporting abuses at the Prison and for testifying truthfully in depositions and before a Pennsylvania Grand Jury concerning instances of abuse at the Prison. Mr. Conrad alleged violations of his First Amendment Right to Free Speech, Conspiracy to Violate Civil Rights, and violation of Pennsylvania’s Whistle Blower Act.

The case was scheduled to go to trial in January 2013, but Northumberland County settled the matter for $87,500. While, as part of the settlement, the County acknowledged no wrongdoing with respect to Mr. Conrad’s firing, his attorney, Joshua J. Cochran, Esquire, indicated that the settlement amount should be considered as a the most accurate indication of the County’s belief as to whether it violated John Conrad’s rights. Mr. Cochran also noted it was not unexpected that County desired to settle in light of the other lawsuits involving malfeasance and abuse at the Northumberland County Prison.