CARRABASSETT VALLEY — A multi-million dollar violation of civil rights lawsuit against the Town of Carrabassett Valley, its Police Chief Mark Lopez and Town Manager Dave Cota, Sugarloaf Mountain Corporation, Boyne USA, Inc., [Sugarloaf parent company] Sugarloaf General Manager Karl Strand, Sugarloaf Chief Executive Officer and Boyne USA President of Eastern Operations Stephen Kircher, was filed in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina on Oct. 18, 2017. The case was transferred to U.S. District Court for the District of Maine on Feb. 6, 2018.

The lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Michael Jutras, formerly of Carrabassett Valley and currently of South Carolina, alleges “deprivation of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution” under 42 U.S. Code Section 1983, otherwise known as The Civil Rights Act of 1871.

Jutras is seeking $5.4 million in compensatory damages, a suggested $7.5 million to $10.5 million in punitive damages, and injunctive relief to include clearing his record of charges and summonses, disbanding or revoking the authority of the police department and the termination of Lopez.

Timothy Connley, legal council for Sugarloaf, Boyne, Strand, and Kircher said Tuesday via email, “The Sugarloaf Defendants and Mr. Jutras have agreed to resolve Mr. Jutras’ claims through a confidential agreement. Accordingly, we have no comment.”

As of press time, docket documentation did not indicate how much, if at all, the confidential agreement with Sugarloaf defendants impacted the damages sought by the plaintiff.

John Wall, the attorney for the town, Lopez and Cota, did not respond to a request made Monday for comment.

The 122-page complaint alleges “Malicious Prosecution, Malicious Arrest, Harassing Behavior, and Disparate Treatment Under the Law as well as the resultant Defamation of Character, Emotional Distress, and Mental Pain and Suffering inflicted by the wrongdoing of all the Defendant (s) in General, and Police Chief and Security Head Lopez in particular…”

Jutras alleges “targeted harassment” during a four-year period beginning in December 2012 including being summonsed on separate occasions for reckless conduct and trespassing in the common area of his Sugarloaf condominium; and receiving “unwarranted parking tickets…despite the fact that Plaintiff possessed a deeded condominium right to park in the lot adjacent to his condo building”; and verbal threats.

Jutras further alleges a wrongful revocation of his parking pass; “incessant tailgating pressure by police on Jutras’ vehicle on roadway”; and “erroneous evidence gathering” during a Breathalyzer exam.

The majority of the charges, he claims were dropped by the District Attorney.

In early September 2014, he sent a letter to U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine asking for an investigation into what he felt was police wrongdoing. Jutrus said it was “suggested that this was a civil matter and I [sic] that I should take this matter up in Civil Court.” According to the complaint, the letter was also sent to Cota.

A portion of the damages Jutras is seeking is attributed to nearly $12,000 in damages his Volkswagen Golf GTI received on Sept. 16, 2014 while parked at Sugarloaf. Jutras states in his complaint that he was on a trip to South Carolina at the time and according to a police report, his vehicle was“vandalized by someone wielding a 2X4 board that was left at the scene.” No file is available from a nearby digital camera for that particular day, Jutras said.

During the March 12 Board of Selectmen meeting, Cota reported the lawsuit had been filed against the Town. According to the meeting minutes posted on the town website, Cota “had conversations with the Town’s insurance company who have hired the legal firm of Monaghan Leahy to represent the town. Members of the Board of Selectmen and Town will not be commenting on this matter, at the advisement of the attorneys.”

Jutras said via phone Monday, “I have no comment due to being bound by a confidentiality agreement.”

A date has not yet been set for the trial.

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