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Ex-deputy’s lawyer seeking $201K fee

Barry Dyller’s fee would bring award vs. ex-sheriff to more than $580K.

SCRANTON – The attorney for a former deputy sheriff who successfully sued former sheriff Barry Stankus filed a motion Friday seeking $201,807 in attorney’s fees and costs.

The petition, if approved by the court, would bring the total award against Stankus to more than $580,000.

Barry Dyller, attorney for Norman Sallitt, is seeking the fees and costs in connection with a lawsuit Sallitt filed in 2007 against Stankus, Luzerne County and former chief Deputy George Kamage.

Sallitt claimed Stankus wrongfully suspended him in April 2004 because Sallitt had supported the candidacy of former sheriff Carl Zawatski, whom Stankus defeated in the 1999 and 2003 elections.

Following a weeklong trial, a jury on Wednesday ruled Stankus had violated Sallitt’s right to due process. The jury cleared Kamage of any liability.

The panel awarded Sallitt $125,000 in economic damages, $100,000 in compensatory damages against Stankus and the county, and an additional $155,000 in punitive damages against Stankus.

Under federal law, attorneys who represent clients in civil rights suits are permitted to seek payment for each hour they worked on the case. The payment is above and beyond any monetary award given their client.

In his petition, Dyller says he worked a total of 501.75 hours on the case at $375 per hour, for a total of $188,156. He is seeking an additional $7,252 for work a second attorney and paralegal performed, and $6,399 for various costs incurred during the litigation.

Attorneys for the county and Stankus will have an opportunity to reply to the motion.

A judge would then rule on the matter pending resolution of any appeals that might be filed.

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