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Wife says complaints against Hurd are unfounded

May 04, 2010|By DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN --The civil trial of a Williamsport man being sued by his neighbors for intentional infliction of emotional distress entered its second week Monday in Washington County Circuit Court with witnesses for the defense taking the stand.

Jeffrey Lynn Hurd, 56, of 11845 Camden Road near Williamsport, also is being sued on several nuisance claims by neighbors Eric and Mary Haberkorn, James and Renee Rudolph, and Arthur and Sonja Pereschuk. They testified last week that Hurd spied on them, made death threats and harassed them over several years, often in disputes about a shale mine he operates on his land.

The Pereschuks and Rudolphs also testified that Hurd shot their dogs. Hurd was convicted on criminal charges of shooting the Pereschuks' dog in 2007 and the Rudolphs' dog in 2008, although one of the convictions was reversed by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Luanne Hurd testified Monday that there was no basis for the nuisance complaints against her husband. She testified her husband did not operate heavy equipment late at night and that she never saw him threaten to kill neighbors, spy on them or patrol his property line with a rifle.

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"Observations posts" that plaintiffs testified about were hunting stands on Jeffrey Hurd's land, or that of his father, John, Luanne Hurd testified. Large piles of brush along the property line were meant for wildlife habitats, and her husband only increased their height because he felt the Haberkorns were spying on him, she testified.

The plaintiffs testified about frequent gunfire from the property of Hurd and his father, but Luanne Hurd testified much of it came from other properties, including the Rudolphs' home.

Luanne Hurd and John Hurd testified they never witnessed any threats made by Jeffrey Hurd to any neighbors.

"No. That's absurd," Luanne Hurd testified when plaintiffs' attorney D. Bruce Poole asked if there were any "mental health issues" with her husband.

On Friday, psychologist Kathleen Killeen testified for the plaintiffs that Jeffrey Hurd has a paranoid personality disorder. She testified that people with the disorder are often suspicious of others.

State and county officials testified for the defense Monday that Hurd's business was in compliance with regulations.

"He did everything as required," testified Peter Yencsik of the Maryland Department of the Environment, who assisted Hurd in applying for a mining permit in 2006.

Yencsik testified he received complaints from Eric Haberkorn about dust and other problems associated with the mine, but "we did not find that the complaints were valid."

On cross-examination by Poole, Yencsik testified that he inspected the operation about once a year and usually gave Hurd advance notice.

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