A lawyer for the city of Westbrook asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the city’s police for using a no-trespass order to evict a man from his apartment because the man told the officers only that he lived there, not that he was a tenant.

Attorney John Wall III said the officers “might have made a mistake” when they issued a no-trespass order against Kevin McBride because they thought his girlfriend, Anne Blake, was the apartment’s sole tenant, but the fault lies with the landlord who was seeking to evict them, not with police.

U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby has already dismissed a portion of the lawsuit brought against the police by Blake, who was properly evicted from the second-floor apartment at 277 Main St. in Westbrook. She argued unsuccessfully that the no-trespass order against her unfairly prevented her from visiting her daughter and grandchildren, who lived on the first floor.

The judge is now considering Wall’s motion to dismiss McBride’s claim that he was unlawfully denied access to his rented property when he was issued a no-trespass order on July 9, 2013, because he had not been evicted and was denied his right to an appeal in any eviction process.

Hornby listened to arguments from lawyers on both sides during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Portland, but made no ruling Monday. He said he would issue a written order but gave no time line.

McBride and Blake are represented in the case by Pine Tree Legal Assistance and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, which contend that using no-trespass orders to short-circuit the process for evictions is part of a larger problem of authorities in Maine misusing no-trespass orders to keep children from visiting their parents in public housing and to keep homeless people from parks and squares.

While Pine Tree Legal Assistance and the ACLU of Maine framed the case in broader terms when they filed the lawsuit in 2013, the lawsuit focused on the use of no-trespass orders in Westbrook.

The landlords of the property in this case, Marc and Amie LeClerc, won a court eviction judgment against Blake in June but had not filed an eviction complaint against McBride, according to the lawsuit.

“It’s the landlords who are affecting things. They may be using the police rather than changing the locks, but it’s their remedy,” Wall argued.

An attorney from Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Frank D’Alessandro, argued that police should have known – since McBride told them that he lived in the apartment and hadn’t been evicted – that the officers could not lawfully bar him from the property with a no-trespass order.

“I don’t think there’s a doubt in anybody’s mind whether he was an occupant,” D’Alessandro said. “If Mr. McBride had said, ‘I’m a tenant,’ if he had used that one magic word, that would have changed this whole case from the city’s perspective?”

Hornby wrote in an order Nov. 19, when he dismissed Blake’s portion of the lawsuit, that the no-trespass order against her did not violate her rights, since she had been properly evicted and had no legal right to the privately owned building.

“Blake’s daughter may possess the rights as a tenant to have her mother visit her own apartment at 277 Main Street, but Blake’s daughter is not asserting those rights in this lawsuit, and those tenant rights are not Blake’s,” Hornby wrote.

If Hornby rules in favor of Wall’s motion to dismiss McBride’s portion of the case, that will conclude the lawsuit.

If he denies Wall’s motion, the case will be scheduled for trial. McBride is seeking to change Westbrook’s policy related to no-trespass orders and monetary damages.