ACLU: Pittsburgh to pay $72,000 to settle G-20 lawsuit

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The city of Pittsburgh will pay $72,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who claims her hearing was damaged following the G-20 summit in September 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania announced Wednesday.

Karen Piper of Columbia, Mo., said her hearing has never been the same after city used a long-range acoustic device to disperse crowds during the summit.

The University of Missouri English professor and then-visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University said she was trying to avoid a threat of tear gas when the sound went through her body, also causing sudden nausea, a headache and fluid flowing from one ear.

City Solictor Daniel D. Regan said the city has an insurance policy that has paid for lawsuit settlements stemming from the summit.

Referring in general to the lawsuits, Mr. Regan said, "When we were planning to host this event, we anticipated that people would see it as an opportunity to bring claims against the city.

"We knew we had to make business decisions, including coverage to insure us against these kinds of claims."

Mr. Regan said the city paid $1.5 million for $10 million worth of coverage, and added, "A settlement isn't an admission of wrongdoing. The city and its personnel were excellent hosts for this event."

The settlement leaves a single lawsuit against the city related to the G-20: police handling of an Oakland gathering the day after the summit.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede.


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