Pennsylvania Man Sues Fire Department for Invasion of Privacy

A Wilkes Barre resident angered because the township fire department aimed a video camera at his property, has filed suit against the department and it’s fire chief.

Joseph Naperkowski filed a three count suit against the Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Department and Fire Chief John Yuknavich claiming harassment, invasion of privacy, and private nuisance. It is not the first time that Naperkowski and Chief Yuknavick have squared off in court, nor is it the first time one of their suits have headlined here at Fire Law Blog. The pair have been feuding since at least 2009 when Chief Yuknavich accused Naperkowski of saying, “I’ll kill you, I’ll kill your mother, I’ll kill your family and I’ll even kill the mayor if he don’t straighten you out”, and Naperkowski sued him for defamation.

The crux of the current dispute involves a video camera affixed to a chimney at the Wilkes-Barre Township fire station and directed at Naperkowski’s house and property. Naperkowski claims the camera is intended purely to harass and invade his privacy.

Chief Yuknavich claims the camera is necessary to protect firefighters and the department from Naperkowski, who he claims has verbally harassed firefighters and thrown garbage on department’s property. “We’re protecting our property”, said Chief Yuknavich.

I will go out on a limb and predict a one-sided victory for the attorneys who represent the warring factions, and losses to the Naperkowski family, the Yuknavick family and the Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Department.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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