Monday, May 11, 2009

The LuLac Edition #813, May 11th, 2009



At last Monday’s Judicial debate, Attorney James Tierney was only to be too willing to talk about his close contacts with all of the Lackawanna County Judges. He said he consulted all of them before he ran to get their feedback. Tierney was even downright loquacious about his relationship as a clerk with President Judge Chester Harhut. Now all of a sudden the candidate for Lackawanna County Judge has clammed up regarding an award he and his barrister wife received from their own insurance company. From Sunday’s Times Tribune: In April 2006, he and his wife were awarded between $2 million and $3 million from his own insurance company for damages they sustained or may suffer in the future, according to those close to the case. Mr. Tierney said he suffered injuries to his arm and hand that may make it difficult or impossible to work at some point in the future, though he told The Times-Tribune “no one knows when that might happen or if it will.”
The case came to Lackawanna County President Judge Chester Harhut, for whom Mr. Tierney worked as a law clerk in the mid-1990s and who is the godfather of Mr. Tierney’s 10-year-old son.
Judge Harhut said he remembered little about the case, other than that he appointed Larry Moran, a Scranton attorney who advertises as a personal-injury lawyer, as the neutral arbitrator.
Mr. Moran and Mr. Tierney also share a link. Mr. Moran’s son, Larry Moran Jr., is currently working as Mr. Tierney’s campaign coordinator.The award Mr. Tierney received was the result of an underinsured motorist claim, which is filed when someone is injured by a motorist who does not have adequate insurance to cover the injured party’s damages. Judge Harhut was hesitant to speak about Mr. Tierney’s case because of reports that the FBI is investigating underinsured and uninsured motorist cases in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. The Times-Tribune received a letter sent on Mr. Tierney’s behalf from attorney Dionysios G. Rassias, of the Beasley law firm in Philadelphia. Mr. Rassias wrote that he found it “impossible to believe that Mr. Tierney’s prior lawsuit has any relevance or public interest whatsoever” and maintained that “Mr. Tierney’s adjudication was commensurate with statewide awards for injuries and damages like his.”The letter also threatened legal action, saying, “As you continue to develop this piece, please accept my assurance to you that your failure to fully, fairly and accurately portray Mr. Tierney subjects you, your editors and The Scranton Times to significant claims and damages.”


The Times Leader endorsed the following candidates for Judge, newcomer Michael Blazick, C.J. Bufalino, Richard Hughes and Tina Polachek Gartley. It is certainly a feather in the collective caps of all the candidates, especially the 35 year old Blazick. But whether endorsements mean much these days is open to conjecture. Also, as the old saying goes, the only vote that counts on Election Day is the one in the voting booth. Or in front of the computer screen.


Dr. James Susek of Plains announced candidacy for the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board Friday afternoon. Susek, a dentist with a private practice in Wilkes-Barre, will seek the position as a write-in candidate. He and his wife, Mary Ann, live with their four children in Plains and are members of the Catholic community there. He is president of the Coughlin High School boys soccer booster club and Plains Rotary club. Susek graduated from Coughlin High School in 1972, King’s College in 1976 and Temple University School of Dentistry in 1985. Susek originally planned to run this spring but was knocked off the ballot by a challenge from candidate Christine Katsock.


As part of our on going series in covering the Luzerne and Lackawanna County Judicial races, we are going to do brief profiles on those candidates running. In today’s edition, we continue with Attorney Joseph Sklarosky, Junior. The order was determined by our lottery at the LuLac Forum last week.


There are many candidates in the race for Luzerne County Judge. It’s important that you, the voter, know who you are voting for.
With this in mind, it's with great excitement and a deep sense of responsibility that we announce the candidacy of Joe Sklarosky Jr. for election to one of three openings on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. A trial attorney for the last 15 years, Joe, too, has been shocked and disappointed by recent events regarding the Luzerne County courts. With your help, Joe will work with us, the voters and residents of Luzerne County, for a better tomorrow.
Joe’s message to us is straightforward: integrity, accountability, and experience. Those are the values he promises to bring to the bench as our judge. He also pledges what should be a given in any court of law: an even playing field every single day in every single case. No exceptions. With this in mind, we ask you to cast your vote for integrity by choosing Joe Sklarosky Jr. for Luzerne County Judge on Tuesday, May 19.
Joe Sklarosky Jr. was raised in West Wyoming and Plains Township. His wife, Megan Kennedy, was born and raised in Hazleton. They live in Mountaintop, where they are raising three children: Kate, Jack, and Matthew. They are expecting their fourth child in June.
Joe’s family has deep roots in Luzerne County. His paternal grandfather, Toefil Paul Sklarowski, was born in Ashley (the last name was changed in school to Sklarosky). Joe’s paternal grandfather left school to work in the mines for 10 years before becoming a bricklayer. He married a Polish girl, Rose Zdanowicz, and they settled in the Georgetown section of Wilkes-Barre Township, where Joe’s dad and uncle were born and raised.
Joe’s maternal grandfather was Andrew H. Tutko, a Russian boy born in Pittston. He, too, entered the coal mines, working in them for 15 years before leaving to work for a pipe company. He met and married Helen Elizabeth Kubik, a Slovak woman from the Pittston area. They settled in the Shantytown area of Jenkins Township and raised five daughters, including Joe’s mom, Patricia.
Joe’s family has a strong union tradition, too. Both Rose and Helen worked as garment workers for most of their lives, and both were members of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU). Joe’s grandfather Toefil was a longtime member of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen International Union No. 30 of Wilkes-Barre. Both of Joe’s grandfathers were in the United Mine Workers of America, and his wife’s great-grandfather was president of the UMWA and lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania. Joe’s father was a member of Laborers International Union of North America Local 215 in Hanover Township. Joe proudly upholds the family’s union traditions today as a member of Teamsters Local 401.
A graduate of Coughlin High School, Wilkes-Barre, Joe earned his undergraduate degree from King’s College, graduating summa cum laude. He graduated cum laude from Widener University School of Law.
Joe began practicing law in 1994, and in 1995 he was named an assistant public defender in Luzerne County court. Over the years, Joe has tried dozens of jury trials and participated in thousands of court proceedings, appearing in a courtroom almost daily. Outside of the courtroom, Joe is a member of the board of directors of Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity, a position he’s held since 2000. He is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Wilkes-Barre.
When not spending time with his wife and children, Joe enjoys being outdoors. A lifelong sportsman, Joe grew up hunting and fishing. He has been a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) for about 16 years. Joe also enjoys trying to improve his golf game and plays adult league soccer at the Wyoming Valley sportsdome when his schedule allows. He has volunteered his time at local schools, speaking at career day at GAR High School for several years and coaching the former Bishop Hafey High School Mock Trial team.

Why Joe Sklarosky Jr.?
Like most Luzerne County residents, Joe Sklarosky Jr. is shocked and disappointed by recent events in the court system.
For 15 years, Joe has dedicated his professional life to public service and protecting the rule of law and fairness in our judicial system.
Now, Joe Sklarosky Jr. wants to serve us as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Joe understands the awesome responsibility that comes with the position. Each judge holds countless lives in his or her hands every day. The lives of victims and the lives of the accused, and the lives of their family members, friends, and loved ones. The lives of husbands and wives going through separation.
The lives of children affected by crime or by divorce, and those children who are accused of committing a crime. The lives of thousands of citizens who have never set foot in a courtroom but who rely on the basic fairness of our judicial system for their safety and protection. Joe will blend his years of in-court experience with the strength of his character and bring integrity, accountability, and experience to the bench as our judge. Joe cares about our judicial system because Luzerne County has been his home for all his life. It's where his parents and grandparents grew up. He and his wife are raising their children here. And Joe has always taken an active role in the community. That’s why he’s running for Luzerne County judge.
We need to fix what’s been broken.
We need integrity.
We need Joe Sklarosky, Jr.
We’re asking for your vote for Luzerne County judge on Tuesday, May 19.


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At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wishing Tina well, but I agree with another poster, who is filming her commercials? Tina is a vibrant, attractive woman. Her spots have her drab and boring. I think the poster used the term "ugly her up" that is exactly what is happening. Why would someone do this? I don't think attractiveness in a woman is a negative.
Good luck Tina.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going for Tina and Sklrosky. I saw Tina at the League and was impressed and I thought Sklarosky hit it out of the park at the LuLac Forum when he was answering audience questions.
And as a Wilkes Barree area resiudent, I'm glad Doctor Sustek is going to do a write in campaign. The guy is a decent, civic minded guy that gives to the community all the time, not just when he's runninbg.

At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree about the good Doctor. I'm certainly going to write his name in for school board. He's a wonderful man with a lovvely family.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, here's my pick, Sklarosky, Sklorosky, Sklorosy!!!! There's nobody better.

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Times story has a kernel of truth, and I don't believe it not to be true, then the comparisons between the Tierney judgement and what transpiured in Luzerne County is spooky. I hope Tierney clears it all up because I've heard the guy speak and think he is pretty articulate. Hope he gives us answers.

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Sklarosky is a gem of a candidate. He might do it because of his strength in Hazleton. Watch his campaign closely.

At 5:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

at this point i can't wait for the election to just get here... i am sick of all this judicial bio's. i miss the good stuff on your blog, recently it has become ponderous

At 1:11 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

i am sick of all this judicial bio's. i miss the good stuff on your blog, recently it has become ponderous

At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wasn't trying to be critical, but honeslty when it comes to 17 folks running for 2 spots it is just as i said ponderous, perhaps you can split up the postings and keep the judicial profiles separate. i have read most of them in the paper or on the candidates site so it there really isn't anything new about them...


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