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Lawsuit over 2007 culvert accident finally settled

July 18, 2013 News Extra

MIDDLESEX TWP — The negligence lawsuit filed against the township, the Saxonburg Area Authority, Holy Sepulcher School and two companies over a 2007 accident has been settled for $200,000.

The parents of Robert Maust, 20, Jason and Stephanie Maust of Penn Township, have reached an agreement with all five defendants, ending the civil case initiated in 2009.

Under the agreement, the township’s insurer paid the Mausts $85,000 while the authority paid $15,000.

Scot Fodi, township manager, said he had no reaction to the case being settled.

“I’m not aware of the settlement amount,” he said.

Attorney Joseph Luvara of the Pittsburgh firm Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, who represented the township, said the Mausts won’t be able to renege on the agreement or file a new lawsuit.

“It’s a full and final release,” Luvara said.

On March 20, 2007, Robert Maust, who was 14 at the time, went down a retaining wall to a culvert along Old Route 8 to retrieve a basketball during a school recess.

A roughly 3,000-pound concrete block subsequently fell on Maust, pinning him underneath about 12:30 p.m. Emergency crews worked for 90 minutes to extricate him.

Although Maust was mobile and alert, he was flown by medical helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh as a precaution.

The Mausts filed the lawsuit two years later, alleging their son suffered permanent injuries from the accident.

Attorney Larry Lutz of the Butler firm Pawk & Lutz, who represented the Mausts, said Robert Maust’s back won’t ever heal.

“He’s basically got a bad, twisted back,” Lutz said.

He said Maust walks fine, but has ill-effects after doing anything rigorous.

“He has to choose whether to engage in certain activities,” Lutz said.

Lutz compared Maust’s back to that of an old man, but conceded Maust didn’t stop playing sports.

“He’s played hockey since that accident,” Lutz said.

Maust now attends St. Bonaventure University in New York.

All the parties participated in mediation through June, which led to the settlement.