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HKQ Firm News

Lawsuits Filed Against the Diocese of Scranton, Bishop James Timlin and Bishop Joseph Bambera

At 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 28, 2019, Hourigan Kluger & Quinn Attorneys Kevin C. Quinn, Esq. and Christopher C. Quinn, Esq. filed separate lawsuits in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas against The Diocese of Scranton, Bishop James Timlin and Bishop Joseph Bambera on behalf of four men who seek to hold the Diocese and its Bishops accountable for their role in: creating and fostering an environment that allowed and encouraged sexually deviant and predatory Priests to prey upon and forcibly rape, sodomize and sexually molest innocent young boys; and then conspiring to withhold and safeguard known information of such heinous acts perpetrated by Diocesan Priests. A Press Conference immediately followed these filings and was held at 10:00 a.m. in the Steamtown Ballroom on the Second Floor of the Hilton Downtown Scranton Hotel and Conference Center.

The lawsuits were separately filed on behalf of Plaintiffs Michael C. Heil, James J. Pliska, John Patchcoski and “M.A.” (whose identity is being withheld), who all grew up in the Minooka Section of Scranton and maintain that as children they were sexually abused by Father Michael Pulicare, who formerly served as Assistant Pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish in Minooka. Father Pulicare died in 1999. The separate Complaints contain graphic details of the specific acts of sexual abuse these men claim they were subjected to between the ages of 7 and 14, including rape, sodomy and other perverted acts of abuse by Father Pulicare that they claim have left them with indelible emotional scars. In at least one case, some of the abuse occurred in the Cathedral Rectory while Bishop Timlin served as Bishop of the Diocese, resided under the same roof and knew that Father Pulicare was sharing the same bedroom and bed with one of his victims. Mr. Heil, Mr. Pliska and Mr. Patchcoski will be attending the Press Conference and will be available for comment.

The Plaintiffs, who range in age between 45 and 57, contend that it was not until the August 14, 2018 public release of the results of the Grand Jury Investigation commissioned by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office that they learned that Diocesan Bishops and other Administrators were well aware of the rampant abuse of minors by Diocesan Priests and actively conspired to withhold information about Priests known to act upon their homosexual and pedophilic proclivities from unsuspecting Parishioners while maintaining secret and confidential archives. Following the precedent recently set by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in Rice v. Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, the Plaintiffs assert claims against the Diocese of Scranton, Bishop Timlin and Bishop Bambera for conspiracy, fraud and constructive fraud and seek both compensatory and punitive damages. Wednesday’s filings will be the first lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Scranton and its leaders after the Rice decision opened the possibility for adult victims of clergy abuse to pursue civil remedies beyond the expiration of the normal statute of limitations.

Below are links to prior news coverage of this story:

About HKQ Law

Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms that has had the privilege of representing more families in the courtroom than any other NEPA firm. The attorneys at HKQ Law have been honored as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms by US News and World Report, and have received the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbel. HKQ Law was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.

The firm’s Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joe Quinn, Jr., has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history. The Personal Injury Team focuses on a wide array of personal injury claims and civil litigation, including medical malpractice, auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, unsafe vehicles, dangerous or defective products, workplace injuries (worker's compensation), construction site accidents, claim denials by insurance companies, dangerous drugs, defective children's products, nursing home abuse and neglect, and falls due to unsafe conditions (slip and fall).

Attorney Joseph A Quinn, Jr. is one of only 100 attorneys in the United States (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) honored with membership in the Inner Circle of Trial Advocates, and one of only 500 attorneys worldwide chosen to be a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since the program began and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since the publication was established in 1987. Best Lawyers also named him top personal injury attorney for Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. In addition, Best Lawyers, in conjunction with U.S. News & World Report, has designated HKQ a Tier 1 Best Law Firm across multiple categories in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Since the inception of the firm, the Commercial / Corporate Team led by Attorney Allan Kluger has provided comprehensive, integrated legal services to many of Northeastern and Eastern Pennsylvania's largest corporations, businesses, banks, non-profits and institutions, handling matters involving labor and employment, wills, trusts and estate planning, estate administration, elder law, commercial transactions, residential and commercial real estate, zoning, land use and development, telecommunications, mediations and arbitrations, commercial litigation, title insurance, business planning and business succession, corporate/business structuring, employment discrimination law for employers, banking, creditor’s rights, finance, lender liability defense, covenants not to compete, construction law, mergers and acquisitions and other business matters.

Additional information can be found at or by calling (800) 760-1529.



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