Judge dismisses more claims in Nemo’s lawsuit

BANGOR — A district judge has affirmed the recommended decision of a magistrate judge to dismiss all but four of the counts in Robert and Judy Cousins’ federal lawsuit against firefighters and others filed in the aftermath of the 2013 fire that destroyed their restaurant in Tremont.

U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby affirmed the recommendations of U.S. Magistrate Judge John Nivison in a March 30 decision.

This is good news for the defendants, said Devin Deane of Norman, Hanson and DeTroy, who, along with Robert Bower, represents the firefighters.

“This gives the firefighter defendants the opportunity to tell their side of the story and establish the record necessary for a summary judgment in their favor,” Deane said this week.

The four remaining claims are equal protection, substantive due process, intentional infliction of emotion distress and negligent maintenance, Deane said.

These claims are all related to the fire, Deane said. Hornby has dismissed all claims against the town and the Mount Desert Islander, he added.

The next step is for the discovery process to begin. That will involve collecting all relevant information regarding the fire and taking the depositions of the Cousinses and others with knowledge of the case, Deane said.

Typically, there is a six-month timeframe to complete the discovery process. After that, Deane said, he expects to file a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the remaining claims.

The Cousinses, who represent themselves, filed their lawsuit in U.S. District Court in December 2014, alleging that firefighters and others conspired to allow their restaurant, Cap’n Nemo’s, to burn. In June 2015, a judge dismissed the suit. The couple subsequently filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston.

In September, the appeals court affirmed some of the lower court decisions and remanded others to the lower court for reconsideration.

In October, the Cousinses, as allowed under the appeals court decision, filed an amended complaint. Deane and Bowers subsequently moved to have the court dismiss many of those claims. That action led to Hornby’s decision.



Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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