Robert and Judy Cousins, who owned Cap’n Nemo’s, are suing members of the Tremont Volunteer Fire Department, alleging firefighters purposely allowed their restaurant and home to burn to the ground in December 2013. FILE PHOTO

Firefighters respond to fire lawsuit allegations



BANGOR — The attorneys for five Tremont firefighters named in a federal lawsuit by the owners of a restaurant destroyed in a December 2013 fire are objecting to the plaintiffs’ motion for a leave to amend their complaint.

Robert and Judy Cousins, who owned Cap’n Nemo’s, are suing members of the Tremont Volunteer Fire Department, alleging firefighters purposely allowed their restaurant and home to burn to the ground. The Cousins further allege that the actions of the fire department were preplanned. The firefighters named in the suit include Chief Keith Higgins.

In April, the Cousins filed an amended opposition to the firefighter’s motion to dismiss the suit. In that document, they claim they legally have constitutional rights “to recover from the assault put upon us by the outlandish acts of the local cabal of prejudiced cowards who hide beneath their official cloaks.” The Cousins, who are representing themselves, also accuse the firefighters of “terroristic arson” and claimed that “these actors wait until we are gone to ply their distress upon we innocent and disabled veterans who dare to do well within their midst.”

In a May 8 filing in U.S. District Court, the attorneys for the firefighters, Robert Bower Jr. and Devin Deane of Norman, Hanson and DeTroy LLC in Portland, stated their objections to the Cousins’ motion for a leave.

Bower and Deane trace the history of the lawsuit, which the Cousins first filed in December 2014. They note that 20 named and unnamed firefighters were listed as defendants in that document. After the court dismissed 15 of those defendants from the suit, citing “frivolous or malicious” claims, the Cousins amended their complaint to add 13 defendants to the five not dismissed by the court.

The amended complaint consisted of “more than one hundred paragraphs of largely incoherent and totally unsupported factual assertions and a handful of reconstructed federal claims,” Bower and Deane state. They argue that another amended complaint, if allowed, would be subject to “the same fate of immediate dismissal” as with the Cousin’s earlier complaint.

In their complaint, the Cousins are asking the court to award them relief for their losses and also are seeking punitive damages. The couple claims these losses amount to $1.87 million, and because Robert Cousins is a disabled veteran, they are entitled to three times that amount. Those losses include what they claim was “a rare prepostal stamp collection” and “fantasies [magazines] and unpublished issues” valued at $1 million.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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