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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Leeson Law Offices Lawsuit Dismissed

Litigation over a February 9, 2014, fire at the Leeson Law offices, located at 68-70 E. Broad Street in Bethlehem, has ended with no sparks. Fire Marshal Craig Baer ruled that the blaze was an arson. Though no criminal charges were filed, an insurance company representing the Leesons filed a civil suit against Mark Atkinson just before the two-year statute of limitations was about to expire.

Atkinson is Bethlehem's Recreation Coordinator. Bill Leeson, who maintains a private practice at the Leeson Law offices, is Bethlehem's Solicitor.

No complaint was filed. Instead, Selective Insurance company, as subrogree to the Leesons and the contractor who did the fire restoration, filed what is known as a praecipe for a writ of summons, a formal notice of a lawsuit. The cover sheet to this lawsuit indicated that the action was for an "intentional" wrong.

Neither Atkinson nor Leeson has discussed this matter. But Atkinson's attorney, Paul Bender, filed a Rule directing Selective Insurance to file a Complaint, detailing exactly what happened and why it is entitled to damages.

Selective declined to do so, even after receiving a 10-day notice of intention to dismiss the case.

And that's what has happened. On March 28, a non pros was filed in Northampton County Court, which is how a case is ended when a party refuses to file a Complaint.

Because the two-year statute of limitations has now expired, the civil matter is over. For the crime of arson, the statute of limitations is five years.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

hmmmmmmmm....... something doesn't add up

Unknown said...

Thank You Again

Strange set of events though

Bernie O'Hare said...

Very. I expected to see a Complaint.

Anonymous said...

Well, as you know there need to be facts to support a claim set forth in a Complaint. The fact that no Complaint was filed suggests that the insurance company did not have any facts to support their claim. This coincides with the Bethlehem PD's decision not to charge Mr. Atkinson to date, which is why it was strange for you to write the initial article about the Writ of Summons being filed in the first place. Now there is somewhat of a stigma attached to Mr. Atkinson that he had something to do with the arson.

Anonymous said...

All Bernie did was report on what was set forth in a court filing. He never suggested or implied any of it to be true.

Rumors have been swirling about this for months though, well before the Summons was filed.

Anonymous said...

Clearly it wasn't true, or at least there is no evidence that it's true. That is my point. If you don't think his readers inferred that Mr. Atkinson committed the arson, perhaps you should go back and read the comments. A Writ of Summons being filed wasn't news because there were no facts on which to report. It was all speculation at that point, which is why I thought it was unfair to report on considering the potential damage to Mr. Atkinson's character. As much as I respect and appreciate what Bernie does with this blog, I thought he jumped the gun a little bit. His blog isn't RadarOnline, National Inquirer, US Weekly, etc.; media outlets that thrive on rumors, gossip and speculation. As an individual who knows better than any of us about how rumors and lies can affect one's reputation, I just didn't think it was fair to write the article based on the Writ of Summons alone. That's my opinion. He clearly felt it was a newsworthy story.

Anonymous said...

I've been in insurance for well over 20 years and have never seen a carrier act like this. Perhaps an over eager claims adjuster is to blame, and when it was reviewed for the potential legal costs, it was determined that there was, in fact no case.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
This ties article from over on th second rate blog as well as your other article all together¿¡ The least of the moral deffecencies being subjected to print today¿ The thoughts of the public officials as well as realeSTATE floppers and than last but far not least are the defishciant of this articles heading¿ Who and what names within the triboro'$ political parasites gang is names named¿¡
redd regstered Republican
patent pendin

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe people had a right to know, just as they have a right to know that even the civil claim has been dismissed. Had I reported nothing, rumors would still be swirling. Reporting this tells us that whatever case exists is very thin and now is barred.

Chilio Pepper said...

Innocent until guilty by insurance suit...sheesh.

Glad the accused is not going to be sued. If there is a case there's plenty of time to find the truth.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Thin very thin, defendants, clients = nightshift underhaned underacheiving employees for there partake of¿!)$ The left rightwinged substandirt subcontractors...
redd

Anonymous said...

"Redd" speaks a language the rest of us are unfamiliar with. Please make him speak English.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

Redd, that is a fair criticism, not a personal attack. Please do not speculate about who you think this person is unless you are reasonably certain. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

While the truth remains unknown you are correct, another person besmirched with O'Hare internet fluids guaranteed to stain and float on line for his morbidly obese gratification.

Anonymous said...

Bernie 12:51pm,
I have a very dicriptive yet undiscriptive of writting and only you and your team know the destination of comment to which I responded¿¡ Yes I know many claim ignorance yet are cognazant of my writtig explinations, so here we go with a more direct one from a famous writter, ("a man with a breafcase is sooner to rob you than a man with a gun")¿¡)$ There are many variables to that statement look at America's caus of the state of the economy,bankers ,stockmarket people and the houwsing claims of flipflopp chalk and paint to make a taint what it ain't that has been a local collective for a long time, yet this very topic is just a tool of the man with the breifcase and his collective team of the nations degenerates under his employ¿¡)$
The statement was made from observation as not many truely want to name names as for reprecussions to self and innocent family members¿¡)$
Thax again bernie
redd registered Republican
patent pendin