Nathan Young. The trial brought by Young against the town of Bar Harbor has been postponed "for medical reasons," according to Young's attorney, Gregg Frame. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Lawsuit stay ordered



ELLSWORTH — A Hancock County judge has granted a motion to postpone a trial on the lawsuit filed by the former Bar Harbor police chief against the town alleging he was fired unjustly in January 2014.

The motion stays the trial of Nathan Young v. the town of Bar Harbor for 120 days. Young’s attorney, Gregg Frame, wrote in his motion that the delay is “for medical reasons and so that [Young] may obtain medical treatment.”

Frame argues that the stay is necessary because he expects to have limited access to Young while he is in treatment and that time is needed to prepare for the trial once treatment ends.

The case tentatively was scheduled to go to trial this month.

The motion, approved Jan. 20, was unopposed by Mark Franco, attorney for Bar Harbor.

Franco said this week that he is eager for the case to be heard before a judge and impatient about the delay. He said he agreed to the stay only so Young could seek medical treatment.

“If he’s not undergoing treatment, then there’s no reason to delay a trial,” Franco said.

Court documents did not specify what type of medical treatment Young was to undergo. However, Young once claimed as part of his lawsuit that he was fired for taking leave to seek treatment for alcoholism. A federal judge dismissed that claim in June.

Young, in December, was arrested twice on charges of operating while under the influence, on Dec. 18 in Ellsworth and on Dec. 25 in Bangor. As a result of the Bangor arrest, Young’s bail conditions were modified to include that he must be at his home in Bar Harbor between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless he is attending or on his way to or from a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Young was fired as police chief in Bar Harbor after an investigator hired by the town concluded Young was intoxicated and acted inappropriately in September 2013 when two of his officers responded to a report of a person slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle parked at night in the parking lot of a closed Town Hill Market. After town councilors turned down his appeal of his dismissal, Young filed a lawsuit against the town in state court. The matter later was transferred to federal court.

Young’s claims included that he was a victim of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Maine Human Rights Act due to his alcoholism and that he was fired for taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to seek treatment.

In June, U.S. District Judge George Singal dismissed those claims, stating Young had failed to demonstrate that town officials considered him impaired because of his disability and had not provided the court with any “credible evidence” of retaliation. Another claim, that Young’s due process rights had been violated, had been dismissed in April 2015.

Singal dismissed without prejudice Young’s claims for a Rule 80 administrative review of the town decision to fire him, that his contract had been breached, and that town councilors violated Maine’s Freedom of Access Act by holding executive sessions where he was discussed without the opportunity to attend. Singal determined these matters are best heard in state court and not federal.

Young subsequently filed a complaint alleging those claims in state court.

 

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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