Senior U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo issued final approval for a $4.75 million settlement in the Kids-for-Cash civil rights litigation on December 16, 2015 between Robert J. Powell and the juveniles sent to his detention center by two corrupt Luzerne County judges including former judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., who was convicted by a jury for his conduct. Other former president judge Michael T. Conahan pleaded guilty to various crimes. Both are presently serving lengthy sentences in federal penitentiaries.“The reaction to the settlement was overwhelmingly favorable,” plaintiffs’ attorney David S. Senoff said. “There were no objections.”
This settlement is the third for victims of the Kids-for-Cash scandal. Of the settlement amount, the juveniles will collect 70 percent after court costs, and 15 percent of the remainder will be made available for parents who made payments or lost wages as a result of the scandal. Another 15 percent will remain in escrow for anyone who appeals the amount they receive. The balance of the unused escrow will be paid to the juveniles.
According to the settlement agreement, a point system will determine how much each victim collects. Juveniles who were sentenced to probation qualify for one point, for example, and those incarcerated but not sent to facilities get two points. Juveniles sent to the PA Child Care LLC or Western PA Child Care LLC qualify for five points.
In 2013, Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp., PA Child Care LLC and Western PA Child Care LLC facilities reached a $2.5 million settlement with the plaintiffs. Pennsylvania developer Robert Mericle paid the juveniles and their plaintiffs $17.75 million.