BANGOR, Maine — A federal judge on Monday dismissed former Bar Harbor Police Chief Nathan Young’s discrimination claims against the town over his firing in January 2014.
U.S. District Judge George Singal dismissed without prejudice state claims focusing on the contractual and procedural aspects of his employment and firing.
Without prejudice means the lawsuit can be refiled in state court.
Young, 53, of Bar Harbor sued the town in Hancock County Superior Court in March 2014. It was moved to federal court in Bangor the following month.
The town’s attorney, Mark Franco of Portland, filed a motion for summary judgment in February 2015.
“We were optimistic the judge would decide in our favor and confident from the start that we could win this case,” Franco said Monday.
Young claimed that his firing was illegal because it was based on a disability, alcoholism, and was done in retaliation for his asking for time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Singal found that Young’s attorney, Gregg Frame of Portland, had presented evidence of “trialworthy” issues in the case.
Frame said Monday in an email that he had not decided whether he would appeal the decision to the 1st U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston, or refile the remaining issues in state court.
The dismissed claims include breach of contract and violation of Maine’s Freedom of Access law because the elected Town Council met 12 times in executive session to discuss issues relating to his employment without notifying him.
Young was placed on paid administrative leave by former Town Manager Dana Reed after a Sept. 25, 2013, incident in the Bar Harbor village of Town Hill. Young was accused of being drunk and passing out at the wheel after parking his pickup and a local business, and then of pressuring officers in his department who came to check on him to not take any action against him. After having a brief discussion with the officers, who then left the scene, Young drove home.
An investigator hired by Reed to look into the incident concluded Young likely had been drinking and did inappropriately pressure the officers not to take action against him, according to a previously published report.
Young has said he was confronting personal issues at the time, including his struggles with alcohol, but denies he had been drinking or that he encouraged the officers to do anything improper. Young also contends that, at his termination hearing in 2014, there was no evidence introduced that support these claims or justify his firing by Reed.
BDN writer Bill Trotter contributed to this report.