Town ordered to pay $14,000 after suing resident

Posted June 16, 2011, at 3:07 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The Town of Union sued a resident over where he put a pile of dirt. As a result, the town lost about $14,000.

The town filed the civil lawsuit against Robert Doucette in 2009 alleging that he was breaking town ordinances by storing fill near a small river, creating a potential pollution hazard. The town learned of the fill while the code enforcement officer was on Doucette’s property to approve some tree cutting.

But last week a judge in Rockland District Court decided that because Doucette only kept the fill there for a very short period of time, and because the river was small and therefore not protected under the town’s codes, Doucette did nothing wrong. The judge also ordered the town cough up $13,935 for Doucette’s attorney fees.

Union Town Manager Jay Feyler said Thursday he couldn’t comment on the decision since he had not yet seen it. Feyler did say that the Union Board of Selectmen will discuss the issue Tuesday with the town attorney. The talks will occur one day after Union’s annual town meeting.

Doucette’s attorney, Clifford H. Goodall, said Thursday that he was pleased with the court justice’s decision. He said he thought the case might be dismissed as frivolous and he was pleased his client’s attorney fees would be paid by the town.

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