June 25, 2018
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Court rules in favor of Warren on claims from methadone clinic landlord

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

PORTLAND, Maine — A federal judge has thrown out claims filed by the landlord of a proposed Warren methadone clinic.

U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby granted the town of Warren’s motion to dismiss Robert Emery and his Vixen Land Holdings LLC’s claims that the town discriminated against them under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I conclude that the landlord has not pleaded a sufficient relationship with disabled individuals to establish so-called associational discrimination under the ADA,” Hornby ruled in the Feb. 19 order.

Emery had tried to intervene in the lawsuit brought by CRC Health Group Inc.

The federal lawsuit brought by CRC, however, remains active. CRC claims the town has discriminated against it because it is trying to provide services to people with opiate addictions.

CRC engaged Emery and Vixen Land Holdings to find it a location in the Midcoast for such a clinic. Emery and Vixen initially settled on the vacant former Warren Primary School owned by the town. The town entered in a purchase and sales agreement with Emery but pulled out after the matter became public and there was a public outcry against the establishment of a clinic.

Residents later imposed a moratorium on methadone clinics.

That prompted CRC to file a lawsuit.

The town and CRC reached a tentative settlement but CRC reactivated the lawsuit when its proposal to have the clinic at another location owned by Emery off Route 1 was stalled by appeals from neighbors.

The trial on CRC’s claims is scheduled to be held July 1 in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Emery and Vixen are represented by attorneys L. John Topchik of Portland and Philip Cohen of Waldoboro.

Topchik said the judge’s ruling was not entirely unexpected on the federal suit but that this does not interfere with plans to pursue, in state court, the claims related to breach of contract.

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