The Tremont restaurant, Cap’n Nemo’s, burned down on Dec. 4, 2013

Nemo’s lawsuit dismissal urged

BANGOR — Tremont and its fire department are one step closer to resolution of a four-year lawsuit after a federal judge last week recommended judgment in favor of the town.

The suit concerns a Dec. 4, 2013, fire that burned the Tremont restaurant, Cap’n Nemo’s, and an attached residence.

A year after the fire, in December 2014, restaurant and property owners Robert and Judy Cousins filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Bangor against more than a dozen Mount Desert Island volunteer firefighters who responded to the blaze. The Tremont Volunteer Fire Department, the Cousins claimed, was “predisposed not to assist us” in the event of a fire and “breached their duty” to act.

A second complaint was filed later that same month charging the fire department showed “deliberate indifference” to their duty and that their conduct was “intentional and reckless, extreme and outrageous.”

In a June 28 filing, U.S. Magistrate Judge John C. Nivison recommended judgment in favor of the fire department, town of Tremont and other named parties for all remaining claims.

Those claims allege that the firefighters were negligent in their response to the fire, that the property owners suffered emotional distress and that they were denied equal protection and due process.

Once the June 28 recommendation was filed, Robert and Judy Cousins had 14 days to object. They did so on the 14th day, which was the end of last week.

Devin Deane of Portland firm Norman, Hanson, & DeTroy is representing the firefighters and the town as part of an insurance policy the town holds with the Maine Municipal Association.

“They did not present sufficient evidence to support their claims,” Deane told the Islander.

No admissable expert testimony has been introduced to support the Cousinses’ due process and equal protection claims, the judge wrote. Those claims require them to prove that they were treated in a manner unlike the way someone else in their situation would have been treated.

“Plaintiffs have not provided sufficient evidentiary basis for a jury to conclude that defendants violated the applicable firefighting standards or that they suffered any loss as the result of defendants’ conduct,” Nivison wrote.



Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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