SUNBURY - A Northumberland County judge has overruled preliminary objections filed by a city mechanic in a dormant lawsuit brought against him by the City of Shamokin.

The order was issued Dec. 30 by the now former President Judge Robert B. Sacavage, who retired Monday, allowing Robert Gilligbauer 20 days to file a responsive pleading to the city's complaint.

Oral arguments by the city's former solicitor, H. Robert Mattis, and Gilligbauer's attorney, Richard Feudale, were given in county court on Feb. 26, 10 months before the order was issued.

The city filed suit in Northumberland County Court on July 9 asking that a judge order the automotive mechanic to remove what it deems to be junk vehicles that violate city ordinance. It also asks that Gilligbauer be permanently bound by the provisions of the city's code or be held in contempt of court.

Feudale filed the preliminary objections in August seeking more specified details regarding exactly how the alleged violations caused physical or psychological damage as alleged by the city. It also sought to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming the city never gave Gilligbauer 10 days notice of alleged violations as required by ordinance.

City code allows auto mechanics up to five vehicles that could be considered junk or abandoned. Those vehicles must pose no health hazards, must be stored behind a fence and out of sight from the general public and must be scheduled for repair within 30 days of receipt.

Violations can net an alleged offender 10 days to address the issue. After that, a citation is issued in district court, with fines between $100 and $1,000 for each offense.

The vehicles had been housed on a pair of lots at Rock and Spurzheim streets. Gilligbauer says they were in line for repair. He's since erected a pair of pole buildings on one lot to house the vehicles.

Feudale had no comment when contacted Tuesday since he wasn't aware of the order and hadn't reviewed it with his client. Attempts to reach Mattis were unsuccessful.