Filing refutes chief’s claims

BANGOR — The attorney for the town of Bar Harbor has filed a motion asking the U.S. District Court to dismiss four of the seven counts in former police chief Nate Young’s lawsuit against the town. In a separate court document, attorney Mark Franco is seeking dismissal of the remaining three claims.

The four counts in the motion to dismiss are claims that the town council deprived Young of his 14th amendment rights to due process during his appeal of his firing, and that the former chief’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) were violated.

Franco argues these counts “fail to state a claim for which relief can be granted.”

Franco filed the motion Jan. 7, the same day he filed a response to Young’s amended complaint, which was filed in December.

In court documents, Young has claimed that, due to his alcoholism, he has a disability as defined by the ADA. In his response, Franco argues that this claim should be dismissed because Young “specifically denied that he suffered from alcoholism prior to the termination of his employment” and only indicated that he is an alcoholic after he was fired.

Young’s claims under the MHRA should be dismissed for the same reasons, Franco states.

Young sought substance abuse treatment and requested a leave of absence under the FMLA. After treatment, the town denied his request to return to work. Young alleges he was fired “in retaliation” for availing himself of the FMLA. The town disagrees, stating there is no evidence that Young was terminated for this reason and that the former chief was on paid administrative leave when he requested the FMLA leave, therefore the town had no legal entitlement to return him to his job.

Young also is alleging that the town council’s decision to uphold his termination by the town manager violated state law and town policies, his contract with the town was breached by the termination, and that town councilors held 12 executive sessions to discuss Young without his knowledge, a violation of the state’s Freedom of Access Law.

The town, through Franco, denies all allegations.

One thing the town and Young do agree on is a jury trial. Attorneys for both parties state in court documents that they prefer the case to be heard by a jury. No trial date has been set.

Young was placed on administrative leave with pay on Oct. 1, 2013, while an investigator hired by the town looked into an incident a week earlier involving a well-being check by Bar Harbor police on a truck parked at night at the closed Town Hill Market. Young was the sole occupant of that vehicle.

The investigator later concluded that Young was intoxicated when officers arrived to conduct the well-being check. Based on the investigator’s report, then-town manager Dana Reed fired Young on Jan. 22. Young appealed the decision to the town council, which, on Feb. 26, upheld Reed’s decision.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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