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Assistant Allegheny Co. district attorney in ICU with COVID-19, files OSHA complaint about working conditions

PITTSBURGH — Russ Broman, an assistant Allegheny County district attorney, is in the COVID-19 intensive care unit and has filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about COVID-19 working conditions he believes he suffered.

Broman has worked in the district attorney’s office since the early 1980s.

His accolades are endless.

He argued in front of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court twice and 3rd Circuit Court multiple times, and he’s won a number of awards. But since July 7, Broman has been in the hospital battling COVID-19.

Channel 11′s Michele Newell spoke with Broman’s family attorney Lawrence Bolind. He sent us this statement:

“He believes he was exposed June 30th in the courthouse. He didn’t feel well He went to the hospital on July 7th and they kept him. His family and friends are doing all they can do to help. His fever has broken. He’s not on a ventilator as of yet, but it could be a possibility. I’m hoping he doesn’t have to do that.”

Multiple sources shared a message with Channel 11 that they said Broman sent. 

In that message to a group of attorneys and others who work in the courthouse, Broman writes:

"if I don't make it, someone get to the bottom of this as I started an osha complaint..."

And later in that same message, "if I pull through, which is very iffy, I will pick up the fight to hold the liars accountable."

Bolind said Broman could’ve possibly had a high fever when that message was sent or was on other medications, but Bolind said the message was a warning to others so that they don’t have to go through what Broman is experiencing.

Bolind said he hasn't seen the Occupational Safety and Health Administration complaint but said Broman was around another attorney within the district attorney's office who also tested positive for COVID-19 and is in the intensive care unit.

“I’ve known Russ for over 20 years. And the other individual who is hospitalized, I’ve known him for over 20 years,” said private defense attorney George Heym.

Heym is always in the courthouse and is frustrated with what he believes are faulty COVID-19 protocols.  

 “Number one, we need better notification and tracing protocols for the courthouse. Two, we need temperature checking to enter the courthouse. Three, we need a centralized response rather than a hodgepodge of different courtrooms and different offices doing what they feel is best,” Heym said.

Jake Wyland is also a private defense attorney who said there needs to be more transparency.

“I was out into a situation in the end of June where I was working in the courtroom where a county employee tested positive for COVID, and I was never notified. I still haven’t been contacted in any way by anybody of any official complicity,” Wyland said.

The Allegheny County district attorney’s office sent us this statement that read, “We do have a significant number of employees, both attorneys and prosecutors, who are ‘working remotely’ in order to increase distancing within the office.”

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