By Nicholas Malfitano | Jan 19, 2018


PITTSBURGH – A man allegedly shot by a hunter while having coffee on his own back deck in Wexford has sued the gunman and his neighbors – who he and his wife claim allowed the hunter to fire on their nearby property.

William J. Bauer and Lisa D. Bauer of Wexford filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 8 versus Michael Charles Helffrich of Pittsburgh, plus Richard H. Baier and Judith A. Baier of Wexford.

On May 1, 2017, the Baier defendants, who live several houses down the street from the Bauer plaintiffs, were vacationing in Florida and not at home. That morning at 5:45 a.m., William J. Bauer was on his back deck having a cup of coffee, while at the same time, defendant Helffrich was hunting on the Baiers’ nearby property with a firearm – a location where it is not at all legal to do so, the suit claims.

“Prior to the date in question, defendant Helffrich had asked the Baiers for permission to hunt on the property. It is believed and therefore averred that when defendant Helffrich asked for permission to hunt on the property, he informed the Baiers that he would be using a firearm and that Helffrich had hunted on the Baiers’ property on previous occasions with a firearm. The Baiers knew that defendant Helffrich would be using a firearm. It is believed and therefore averred that either or both of the Baiers had hunted on the property, with firearms, on previous occasions,” the suit states.

The suit adds Helffrich is an experienced hunter and knew that hunting prior to sunrise, at 6:22 a.m. on the date in question, was illegal and did so regardless. At 5:45 a.m., Bauer was walking on his own property when Helffrich discharged his firearm in Bauer’s direction, striking him and causing him grievous bodily injuries, the suit says.

Bauer suffered severe pain and gunshot wounds in the accident for which surgery was required to treat, to his left arm, left hand, chest, abdomen, left leg and scrotum, along with a colon tear, a bowel wound requiring resection of the bowels, bruises, contusions, nervousness, emotional tension, anxiety and depression, the suit says.

For alleged illegal hunting and illegal use of a firearm (along with violation of related state laws governing those activities), multiple counts of negligence per se, negligence, assault and battery and loss of consortium, the plaintiffs are individually and equally seeking damages in excess of the jurisdictional limits of compulsory arbitration, together with court costs, interest and such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and equitable.

The plaintiffs are represented by Robert B. Woomer of Woomer & Talarico, in Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-18-000276

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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