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Homeowners association sued over guards’ actions

A resident of the Indian Mountain Lake development has sued the homeowners association alleging his privacy was invaded when two “large security guards” came to his home in a threatening manner over a dispute at an entrance area of the development.

The suit filed in Carbon County court lists Crista Pemberton, a resident of Edison, New Jersey, and Joseph Bahgat, a resident of the Indian Mountain Lakes development in Penn Forest Township, as the plaintiffs. Listed defendants are the Indian Mountain Lake Civic Association Inc. and the two security guards and a gate attendant, who are identified as John Does and Jane Roes. The incident occurred on Sept. 5.

The plaintiffs claim that the incident was an outgrowth of a prior dispute concerning Pemberton gaining entry to the development as a guest of Bahgat.

The suit states that prior to the incident with the guards, Bahgat had attempted to contact one of the entrance gates at the development to admit Pemberton as his guest. The suit states Bahgat called the phone number(s) listed to inform the gate personnel but that no one answered the phone.

He then went to the entrance gate in question where Pemberton was waiting to inform the gate attendant, identified in the suit as Jane Roe #1, that she was to be admitted and also informed the attendant of the problem he had with calling to have Pemberton admitted, as is procedure.

The suit states an exchange occurred between Bahgat and the attendant, who then refused to admit Pemberton. The suit states Pemberton was able to go around a barrier and gain entry to the development.

The suit states about 90 minutes later while Bahgat and Pemberton were at his residence, security cameras at the residence alerted the plaintiffs that two or more vehicles pulled up to his driveway, blocking it.

The action further states two “large males” wearing all black and appearing to be armed with handguns and body armor then approached the vehicles parked in the driveway. The two then walked around to the front of the house and up the stairs onto the deck.

The suit claims one of the men approached an open window, and without identifying himself, peered through the window and began attempting to interrogate Bahgat while the other man appeared to be trying to open the front door, which was locked. Bahgat, the suit states, told the men they were on private property and must leave immediately. The men claimed they did not see any posted sign indicating it was private property.

Through the course of the exchange between the plaintiff and the two men, the suit states, it became apparent the situation stemmed from the earlier incident at the entrance gate. The suit also alleges that the two men appeared to be wearing video recording devices which were activated.

The suit then states, “Mr. Bahgat and Ms. Pemberton became increasingly scared because John Doe #1 kept reaching for his pistol that was holstered above his right hip, and which appeared to have the retention strap removed.”

The suit states Bahgat told the men to leave again and “at that point began to reach for a rifle that was sitting next to him.” The two men eventually left.

The suit states about an hour later two state troopers arrived at the home and questioned him about the incident, stating they received a complaint and identified the two men who were at his residence earlier were security guards for the development.

The troopers told Bahgat that the two guards made a report alleging that Bahgat had threatened them with a rifle. Bahgat denied the allegation and said he feared for his life and Ms. Pemberton.

Troopers told Bahgat that the two men were wearing recording devices and that they would review them to see whether any threat was actually made. The troopers said if not, then there would be no further inquiry.

The suit alleges trespass, invasion of privacy, negligent training and supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and violation of Pennsylvania’s wiretap act.

The suit demands damages and judgment against the defendants, prohibit the defendants from trespassing on plaintiffs’ property, compensatory damages, punitive damages, prejudgment and post-judgment interest, attorney fees and additional relief permitted by law.

In attached action, a preliminary injunction request was filed by the plaintiffs alleging the association has taken action against the plaintiff and his privately owned property.

The injunction request alleges the plaintiffs will suffer “immediate and irreparable injury, loss and damages” unless the injunction request is granted.