A federal decide has dismissed a civil lawsuit towards Maine towing firms, municipalities, police departments and state companies that claimed they conspired to illegally seize automobiles and promote them.
The lawsuit was introduced by Jennifer Coates, Michael Christopher King and Jennifer Hunt, who alleged their automobiles had been seized by police after baseless site visitors stops, and in a single case a minor crash, in Washington, Hancock and Penobscot counties. In courtroom paperwork, they described how the titles to their automobiles had been transferred to the towing firms with out their consent and offered at public sale.
Their legal professional, Scott Fenstermaker, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court docket on Feb. 9.
A month later, Fenstermaker’s license to apply legislation was suspended after he was charged with trespassing at Therriens Used Vehicles Towing & Recycling in Addison, one of many firms his shoppers mentioned was concerned within the conspiracy. His license is below overview by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court docket in a case that the Portland Press Herald studies remains to be energetic.
With Fenstermaker unable to characterize the pending lawsuit, the courtroom gave the plaintiffs till July 21 to discover a new legal professional or characterize themselves.
In his Aug. 8 dismissal order, U.S. District Decide Jon Levy, mentioned the plaintiffs had been warned that their case can be dismissed however “haven’t responded to the show-cause order or in any other case appeared.” For that cause, he wrote, “dismissal is warranted.”
Defendants within the case included the Maine secretary of state, Maine Bureau of Motor Autos, Washington County authorities and sheriff, Therriens Used Vehicles Towing & Recycling, Donald Therrien, Vivian Therrien, town of Ellsworth, Ellsworth Police Division, Hancock County authorities and sheriff, Dave’s Auto Restore & Towing, Inc., the city of Dexter and its police division, and All Time Towing & Automotive.
The plaintiffs, Coates, King and Hunt, are recognized in courtroom paperwork as being from Washington, Penobscot and Waldo counties, respectively.
A federal decide has dismissed a civil lawsuit towards a number of towing firms, legislation enforcement and state companies alleging they had been all a part of a multicounty scheme to illegally seize and promote automobiles.
Scott Fenstermaker filed the grievance in U.S. District Court docket in February on behalf of three plaintiffs, all of whom, Fenstermaker mentioned, had their automobiles taken by legislation enforcement officers following site visitors stops and a minor crash.
However Fenstermaker was suspended from working towards legislation in Maine a month later and the decide overseeing the federal case gave the plaintiffs – Jennifer Coates, Michael King and Jennifer Hunt – a July 21 deadline to say whether or not they needed to discover a new legal professional or characterize themselves.
“As a result of the plaintiffs haven’t appeared or in any other case responded because the preliminary submitting of their grievance in February 2023, and since they did not adjust to the courtroom’s order, dismissal is warranted,” U.S. District Decide Jon Levy wrote in his order on Tuesday.
A clerk for the Maine Supreme Judicial Court docket, which is contemplating whether or not Fenstermaker can resume working towards legislation, confirmed the case remains to be energetic. Fenstermaker didn’t reply to a message in search of his response to the dismissal or an replace on his suspension.
Fenstermaker’s license was suspended after he was charged with trespassing at Therriens Used Vehicles Towing & Recycling, one of many firms he alleged was concerned within the conspiracy.
The plaintiffs additionally didn’t reply to emails Wednesday asking concerning the grievance’s dismissal.
The lawsuit named as defendants the Maine Bureau of Motor Autos, the Maine secretary of state, the Washington and Hancock county sheriff’s departments, the Ellsworth and Dexter police departments, Therriens Used Vehicles Towing & Recycling and its homeowners, Dave’s Auto Restore & Towing, and All Time Towing & Automotive, alleging that they violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal statute.
In every case, it claimed that legislation enforcement used the personal towing firms to take away the plaintiffs’ automobiles following infractions and crashes, and gave the plaintiffs varied the reason why they couldn’t get their automobiles again.
The grievance then alleged that the towing firms had been benefiting from the BMV’s title switch legislation to get possession of the automobiles and promote them.
Secretary of State Shenna Bellows mentioned in a written assertion on Wednesday that she was happy with the dismissal.
“We respect the courtroom’s dismissal of this case,” Bellows mentioned. “The Bureau of Motor Autos stands by the integrity of our glorious customer support to the folks of Maine.”
Peter Marchesi, an legal professional representing the Washington and Hancock county sheriff’s departments, mentioned in an e mail Wednesday that Levy’s determination was acceptable.
“This piece of litigation was one of the ill-advised and ill-conceived that I’ve seen in over 30 years of working towards legislation,” Marchesi wrote. “It’s acceptable that the courtroom noticed match to dismiss it at a really early stage, regardless that the dismissal was largely on procedural grounds. The sheriff’s workplaces could now proceed their good work in service of the general public with out additional distraction from this frivolous submitting.”
Kasia Park, who represented the police departments in Ellsworth and Dexter, mentioned her shoppers had been “ready to vigorously defend towards the entire plaintiffs’ claims and we’re due to this fact happy with the dismissal.”
Therriens didn’t reply to calls Wednesday in search of a response to the dismissal.