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BOARDMAN Verdict in false charge: $1.8 million



Published: Fri, February 1, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The jury deliberated two days before returning the verdict.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A Boardman man falsely accused of making a bomb threat nearly four years ago was awarded $1.8 million Thursday from the company he supposedly threatened.

A jury in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court returned the verdict Thursday for James P. Poma of Hopkins Road, who sued Modern Builders Supply of Youngstown in 1998 for malicious prosecution. The verdict came after two days of deliberation in the courtroom of Judge Maureen A. Cronin.

Atty. John O'Neill of Cleveland, who represented Modern Builders, could not be reached to comment.

Damages suffered: Atty. Marshall D. Buck, who represented Poma, said he was surprised by the large award but was glad the jury realized the damage suffered by Poma. The allegation against Poma cost him out-of-pocket expenses of $101,000, Buck said.

A bomb threat was telephoned to the Modern Builders plant at McClurg Road and Southern Boulevard, Boardman, in February 1998, Buck said. Poma, who was a supplier for Modern Builders, placed a call to the company a few minutes after that, looking for one of its employees.

Buck said Poma called because he wanted to drop off a baseball bat he had made for the man. The bat had a laser-engraved picture of the man's son and was a gift from Poma, Buck said.

"He was just trying to do something nice for somebody," Buck said.

Phone records: When police checked the company's telephone records, they determined that Poma's call was the bomb threat. He was charged with telephone harassment in April 1998 and acquitted by a jury in Mahoning County Court, Boardman, in April 2000, Buck said.




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