Suit Against W-B Twp. Fire Department Settled
WILKES-BARRE — A long-running feud between the Wilkes-Barre Township Volunteer Fire Department and a resident over the direction of a surveillance camera has been settled, according to court documents.
U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo on Thursday dismissed the complaint Joseph Naperkowski filed a few years back, writing in a brief order that the matter has been settled for an unspecified amount. Naperkowski’s attorney, Kimberly D. Borland, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Naperkowski, who for years clashed with township officials and former Fire Chief John Yuknavich, filed suit in March 2014 alleging invasion of privacy. Naperkowski bought a home bordering the municipal building and fire hall in November 2012, and officials in early 2014 installed a camera on the fire hall roof that appeared to point directly at Naperkowski’s house.
In court filings, Naperkowski argued the township had “no appropriate or reasonable” reason for the camera’s placement, which he alleged invaded his privacy and amounted to harassment.
Township officials countered that the camera did not peer into Naperkowski’s home and that he had no reasonable expectation of privacy along the perimeter of his property.
Yuknavich previously claimed the camera was necessary because Naperkowski has verbally harassed volunteer firefighters and has tossed garbage onto the fire department’s property.
The men have a history of clashes, including a defamation lawsuit Naperkowski filed after Yuknavich claimed he said he would kill Yuknavich’s entire family and the township mayor. The lawsuit was eventually resolved, but a judge ordered both sides not to discuss it.
Yuknavich was subsequently cited for trespassing after Naperkowski claimed he spotted Yuknavich in his yard the night of May 1, 2014. Yuknavich was later acquitted of the offense.
Yuknavich was ousted as fire chief in August 2014 after federal authorities charged him with stealing at least $45,000 from the fire company. He later served six months in jail for the crime.