More filings in former chief’s lawsuit

BANGOR — It’s been almost a year since former Police Chief Nate Young filed his lawsuit against the town of Bar Harbor, and it appears it will be some time before the matter is put to rest.

Last week, attorneys for both Young and the town filed more documents in U.S. District Court concerning the legal battle over whether Young was discriminated against when he was fired in January 2014.

Earlier this month, Young, through his attorney Greg Frame, filed an opposition to the town’s motion to dismiss four counts cited in Young’s amended federal complaint. On Feb. 19, the town’s attorney, Mark Franco, filed a response to Young’s opposition.

Young is claiming that town councilors were biased in their decision to uphold his firing by the town manager and that he was deprived of his right to due process. He also alleges the town knew of his alcoholism and failed to offer him “reasonable accommodations” in light of that disability. He alleges he was fired “in retaliation” for exercising his rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act to seek treatment.

In the town’s response to these allegations, Franco states that Young has failed to “set forth a plausible claim of bias or any deprivation of the right to procedural due process.”

Furthermore, Young has not supported his assertion that he was fired because he is an alcoholic or that he was perceived by town officials “as having an impairment that substantially limited his life activities.” In fact, Franco continues, “Young asserts the contrary: that he never received any performance complaints” during his 23-year tenure as police chief.

Franco, earlier this month, filed an objection to Young’s motion for a trial on the facts of the case. In that document, Franco asserts the former chief failed to present any firsthand “evidence of bias or bad faith sufficient to justify a trial on the facts.”

On Feb. 20, Frame filed a reply to support Young’s motion.

Frame argues that town councilors met in executive session to discuss Young’s employment without giving notice to Young as required by the state’s open meetings law. The town, however, disputes that Young was discussed during these sessions. Because Young was suspended from his duties while an investigation was ongoing, it is “highly unlikely” that his employment was not discussed, Frame claims.

Frame further argues, contrary to the town’s contention, that Young is not “asking to retry the facts presented at his termination hearing” before town councilors. Instead, information that came to light after that hearing supports Young’s claim of bias and “improper behavior” on the part of town officials, Frame states.

The court, so far, has not set a date to consider both the claims of Young and of the town.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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