Mericle Construction, Inc. and counsel representing juveniles and parents of juveniles who appeared before former Juvenile Court Judge Mark Ciavarella announced today that the plaintiffs have agreed to settle all claims against Mericle Construction and its president, Robert K. Mericle.
All counsel for the juveniles expressed pleasure that Mericle Construction and Mr. Mericle have entered into the settlement to resolve the claims against them. The case against Mericle involved a number of complex legal and factual questions and the settlement will avoid costly and protracted litigation for all parties. Neither Mericle Construction nor Mr. Mericle owned or operated the detention facilities at the center of this case. "Mr. Mericle and Mericle Construction approached the settlement process in an open and honest way," said Marsha Levick, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel of the Juvenile Law Center, "and we are pleased that this settlement will address the needs of the children affected by this matter."
Eric Kraeutler, lead counsel for Mericle, confirmed the settlement and said that they are pleased to bring this matter to a conclusion.
Under the agreement, which must receive court approval, Mericle will pay $17.75 million into a settlement fund. Mericle has brought a separate lawsuit against its insurance carrier regarding the matter and if Mericle is successful in resolving that lawsuit, then the plaintiffs will receive up to an additional $1.75 million.
The settlement resolves all claims against Mericle Construction, Mr. Mericle and Luzerne County. The lawsuits will continue against, among others, the former Judges, Robert Powell and the private juvenile facilities. The settlement has been entered into with no admission of liability.