Federal judge rules methadone clinic lawsuit against Warren remains active

Posted Sept. 20, 2012, at 8:28 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A federal civil rights lawsuit against Warren, brought by a company that has sought to open a methadone clinic, will remain active following a federal judge’s ruling that the town has yet to fulfill its end of the deal negotiated last year.

U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby signed his ruling Tuesday in the case of CRC Health Group Inc. and CRC Recovery Inc. against Warren. A hearing had been held Monday in the federal court in Portland.

“We were pleased but really not surprised by the ruling,” CRC attorney Walter McKee stated late Thursday. “The court made clear that the town hasn’t met its obligations under the agreement entered into a year ago. Enough is enough.”

The town had argued that it had met the conditions of the settlement reached last year when the planning board gave its approval in June to a methadone clinic at the intersection of Route 1 and Short Street.

CRC, however, argued that because the matter remains before the town’s board of appeals that the agreement has not been fulfilled. Judge Hornby agreed. Neighbors to the proposed methadone clinic appealed to the board of appeals.

“The conclusion is inescapable that the town has not yet provided final written approval. That will occur only if and when the board of appeals acts favorably, the board of appeals acts on behalf of the town, just as the planning board does,” Hornby ruled.

The town wanted the judge to order that the agreement reached last year be enforced so the town’s insurance carrier would pay $320,000 in damages following the planning board approval.

The board of appeals will continue its appeal hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 at the town office.

Voters approved two weeks ago, at a special town meeting, spending an additional $60,000 for legal expenses associated with the case.

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