Judge upholds dismissal of Cap’n Nemo’s lawsuit

BANGOR — A federal judge has denied a motion filed by Bob and Judy Cousins to reconsider the dismissal of their lawsuit against members of the Tremont Volunteer Fire Department.

In his Aug. 26 order, Judge D. Brock Hornby writes that the Cousins failed to introduce new evidence or show an error of law as required for reconsideration under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

The couple filed their lawsuit in December 2014, a year after their Tremont restaurant, Cap’n Nemo’s, was destroyed by fire. The couple claimed firefighters and others conspired to allow the building to burn to the ground in an act of “terroristic arson” motivated by personal prejudices.

On June 15, Hornby granted a motion by the defendants to dismiss the federal lawsuit. At the same time, he also denied a motion by the Cousins to amend their complaint.

In response, the couple, who are representing themselves, filed a motion for Hornby to reconsider his decision. In his Aug. 26 order, the judge indicated that the motion was a rehash of previous arguments by the couple.

“I considered all their arguments seriously the first time, and I see no reason to amend or alter the judgment,” he wrote. “If the Cousins disagree with my ruling, their remedy is to appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.”

In their motion, the Cousins for the first time claimed that the fire department once allowed the previous owner of the restaurant to extinguish a small fire on the premises. However, Hornby concluded that the couple did not claim that this evidence was newly discovered and cited case law to the effect that motions for reconsideration are not the place to introduce arguments that could have been presented earlier.

In his decision to dismiss the lawsuit, Hornby wrote that the Cousins failed to support their claim of discrimination because they were unable to identify others who were “similarly situated” and treated differently than the couple. Hornby also dismissed claims by the couple that firefighters had violated their constitutional rights, their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Hornsby’s dismissal of the couple’s federal claims acknowledged that they have a right to pursue some of their claims in state court.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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