Skip to comments.Egg sandwich suit against ex-Pa. Health Secretary Eli Avila ends with $75K deal
Posted on 04/08/2014 9:16:27 AM PDT by FlJoePa
A long-running court battle between a Harrisburg restaurant owner and former state Health Secretary Elia Avila that stemmed from an argument over an egg sandwich apparently has ended quietly with a $75,000 settlement.
The recently-reached accord between Avila and Richard M. Hanna, which falls to the state to pay, can be gleaned from records filed in Dauphin County Court. Eli Avila cropFormer Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Eli Avila.State of Pennsylvania
Those documents state that Avila, who resigned his state job in October 2012, and Hanna and their lawyers are barred from discussing the agreement that resolved the suit Hanna filed over their acrimonious encounter at Hanna's Roxy's Cafe at Third and North streets in January 2011.
Hanna claimed in his lawsuit that the incident morphed from a dispute over a dining experience into an abuse of authority that cost him a lucrative state food vending contract. Avila, who was defended against the suit by the state attorney general's office, denied abusing his power.
The dispute began when a hurried Avila stopped by Roxy's across from the Capitol for a quick breakfast.
According to Hanna's suit, the restaurant owner and Avila argued over the freshness of eggs Hanna was cooking for Avila's sandwich. At one point, Hanna claimed, Avila shouted, "Do you know who I am? I am the secretary of health!"
Hanna, who originally sought more than $500,000 in damages in the suit, contended that Avila later used his authority to set city health inspectors on him and to block him from getting a contract to operate the Capitol cafeteria.
Avila denied the claims Hanna made in his suit. At one point, Avila moved the case to federal court, but a judge there sent it back to county court. An attempt to have the case dismissed on grounds that Avila was shielded from the suit by "high public official immunity" was rejected by county Judge Jeannine Turgeon last year.
The settlement was reached within the last several months, records show. Hanna's lawyer, Charles E. Schmidt Jr., filed a one-sentence notice with the court discontinuing the case in late March.
Settlement papers filed with the court bar both sides from disclosing any information on the accord or giving any statements regarding the deal to the news media. Also, they state that there is no admission of "liability, fault or wrongdoing" by Avila.
Avila was no stranger to controversy. He also made the news for ordering special "Department of Health" windbreakers and badges for him and his staff, and for complaints about a bloodmobile blocking his parking space at the Health and Welfare Building.
In resigning his state post, Avila, a licensed physician and attorney, said he wanted to pursue other interests and spend more time with his family, who never relocated from their home in Albany, N.Y.
Despite those incidents, Gov. Tom Corbett, who had appointed him, praised Avila on the secretary's departure for strongly advocating for the health of Pennsylvania's children and educating the public about the West Nile virus.
Shelia Jackson Lee with a new 'do?
PA has to be the most corrupt judicial state in the union - right up to the state supreme court.
If both parties agree to maintain confidentiality as a condition of the settlement, it can be made binding. FOI would allow a requester to find out how much was paid to whom but the conditions could be kept under wraps.
Yeah, it sucks
“Do you know who I am?”
Yea, you’re the guy that just gave me $75,000. Your name is on the check.
It’s an outrage.
The judge should be fired.
You left off "out of a cannon."
Another petty tyrant.
Does the Health Dept. have a SWAT team yet?
Sorry, but that doesn’t even look good to me.
I think I could eat those (your FIRST egg sammich) as fast as someone could make them. For awhile anyway...
That is more like it, but egg salad (YUM).
Egg sandwich (IMHO) is a cooked egg or two, a slice of cheese, between 2 slices of buttered toast.
Sorry, but that doesnt even look good to me.
...funny...makes my mouth water...
It’s always contentious when a peon bucks the command of a commissar.
That is about 3 days worth of food for me!
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