AREAS OF PRACTICECivil Rights
Life Sciences, Drug and Device Litigation
Nursing Home Litigation
EDUCATIONUniversity of Pittsburgh B.S. in Biology with minor in Chemistry, 1994
Widener University School of Law J.D., Law Review, Trial Advocacy Honor Society, 1997
West Virginia, 1999
United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Supreme Court of the United States
Michael R. Lettrich
Michael Lettrich Representative Matters
- Estate of Thomas v. Fayette County, et. al., 2:14-cv-0551-MRH (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Pa) - This civil rights lawsuit arose out of alleged reckless indifference to an inmate’s risk of suicide. The allegations against the county defendants that I represented were that there had been a pattern of suicides in the facility, and that the county policies, procedures and training were inadequate in light of that alleged pattern. Plaintiff also alleged that various correctional officials, including the officer assigned to the cell block at the time of the suicide, were recklessly indifferent. The case proceeded through discovery, with Judge Hornak granting summary judgment in my clients’ favor. Judge Hornak’s Opinion was published at 194 F.Supp.3d 358 (W.D. Pa. 2016).
- Greygor v. Wexford Health Sources, et. al., 2:14-cv-01254-NBF (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Pa) - This case concerned alleged deliberate indifference to serious medical needs to a pre-trial detainee in the Butler County Prison. It alleged that nurses of the County’s contractual health care provider failed to properly diagnose the decedent’s condition, and that the County’s system of health care delivery was constitutionally inadequate in various respects. The case proceeded through fact and expert discovery. Summary judgment motions were filed by the County and healthcare defendants. The case settled before trial.
- Miller v. Steele-Smith, et. al.,, 2:15-cv-00662-LPL (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Pa) - This lawsuit arose out of alleged deliberate indifference to serious medical needs concerning the care and treatment of the plaintiff pre-trial detainee’s fractured wrist. Plaintiff alleged that he had fractured his wrist the drunk driving accident that resulted in the incarceration in question, and that various county and medical officials were deliberately indifferent to that condition. The case proceeded through discovery. Magistrate Judge Lenihan granted summary judgment in my clients’ favor.
- Bozich v. John J. Kane Regional Centers-Scott Township, 2:15-cv-00946-CRE (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Pa) - This lawsuit alleged violations of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act against a county owned and operated skilled care facility. The Complaint alleged violations of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act in several particulars related to the care and treatment of ulcers on the plaintiff’s leg, which he claimed were decubitus ulcers, but which the defendant alleged were the consequences of restricted blood flow as a consequence of his diabetes. The matter was complicated by a companion state court case concerning billing. Following discovery, and with the assistance of Kenneth Benson, a complicated but amicable resolution of both cases was reached.
- Estate of Townsend v. Wexford Health Sources, Civil Action No. 2:16-cv-01428-NBF (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Pa) - This was a civil rights lawsuit alleging deliberate indifference to serious medical needs arising out of an alleged failure to appropriately treat a diabetic inmate who fell and struck his head. After the incident, the inmate experienced worsening symptoms over the next few days. Ultimately, the inmate complained of a severe headache to a correctional officer in the early morning hours when the nursing staff was not present. He was seen by the nurses later that morning but died as a consequence of a cerebral hemorrhage. The case proceeded through discovery. It was resolved through mediation.
- Babcock v. Butler County, Civil Action No. 2:12-cv-00394-AJS (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Pa) - I was the second chair to Marie Jones in this class action Fair Labor Standards Act case before Judge Schwab. It concerned whether a portion of time for the Butler County Prison corrections officers’ meal periods was compensable under the FLSA. It was a case of first impression in the Third Circuit as to which of two tests used in other circuit courts of appeal should be applied. The first test looked to whether the employee has been relieved from all duties during the mealtime. The second test looked to the party that received the “predominant benefit” of the time period in question.. I conducted the legal research and drafted the briefs. The Third Circuit affirmed Judge Schwab’s dismissal of the case in an opinion published at 806 F.3d 153 (3d. Cir. 2015).
- Puckett v. Miller, et. al., 2:15-cv-01019-NBF (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Pa) - This “state-created danger” case arose of a physical altercation between a correctional officer and a civilian kitchen worker in the Fayette County Prison. My clients were supervisory officials who were alleged to have been aware of the correctional officer’s growing hatred for the plaintiff and alleged threats of violence, yet scheduled the officer to work in the vicinity of the kitchen worker on the day of the incident. The court entered summary judgment in my clients’ favor.
- Estate of Huey v. Cambria County, et. al., 3:14-cv-0030-KRG (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Pa) - This civil rights lawsuit arose out of a white supremacist inmate’s murder of his cellmate in the restrictive housing unit of a county jail. An inmate in an adjacent cell alleged that the defendant correctional officer was also a white supremacist and encouraged violence against the victim. Through discovery, I demonstrated that the other inmate’s allegations were falsely made in an attempt to obtain leniency on his sentence; and that the correctional officer was not a white supremacist and played no role in causing the murder. The officer was ultimately dismissed, with a settlement being reached on terms favorable to my client.
- Tarasovich v. County of Indiana, et. al., Civil Action No. 3:15-cv-00327-JFC (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Pa) - This civil rights case was brought by a former tax collector. My clients were Indiana County and one of its commissioners. Plaintiff alleged that the commissioner conspired to have the plaintiff removed as tax collector so that the county commissioner could have her job. Plaintiff alleged, inter alia, the existence of a conspiracy to conduct an unconstitutional search to interfere with the plaintiff’s job and justify her termination. Plaintiff asserted claims under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, including procedural and substantive due process and “class of one” equal protection. Following Rule 12 motions and amendments to the pleadings, Judge Conti dismissed the county and commissioner, with the case proceeding against other local officials.