Dr. Jabbar Fazeli, photographed in 2020, was the medical director of a group of assisted-living facilities that he alleged mistreated him for being Muslim and then dismissed him for disagreeing with their treatment practices. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

A prominent Maine geriatrics specialist has settled his discrimination lawsuit against a group of assisted-living centers.

Dr. Jabbar Fazeli sued the operators of three assisted-living facilities in 2020 alleging he was discriminated against for being Muslim and unfairly fired after clashing with management over their medication practices.

The defendants – the three centers where Fazeli served as medical director: Stroudwater Lodge, Avita of Stroudwater and Avita of Wells; two executives of the Northbridge Company, the Massachusetts-based owner, and Stafford Management Company – have denied all of the allegations, according to court records.

The parties reached a settlement Friday, according to a notice filed in U.S. District Court in Portland. Attorneys have a month to file an official stipulation of dismissal.

A copy of the agreement was not publicly available Monday. Neither Fazeli, his attorneys, nor attorneys for the assisted-living facilities responded to calls and emails asking about the terms of the settlement.

According to court records, Fazeli agreed to dismiss his claims “with prejudice,” meaning he can never file a similar complaint against the defendants.


Fazeli was well-known throughout the state and was the spokesman for the Maine Medical Directors Association in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. That March, he spoke out publicly about the lack of COVID-19 testing among residents and employees at Maine’s long-term care facilities, warning that the state’s 93 nursing homes and more than 200 assisted-living facilities had been largely ignored when it came to testing for COVID-19.

Fazeli and his company, Maine Geriatrics in Biddeford, were hired by the facilities in 2015 and 2016 to serve as medical director.

In his lawsuit, Fazeli – who was born in Iran – said his colleagues treated him differently after a news article in 2016 reported that Fazeli’s brother likely died in Lebanon after leaving the U.S. to join the Islamic State.

The facilities terminated their contracts with Fazeli in 2018. They said Fazeli had sparked multiple complaints from colleagues, who allegedly shared concerns that he was dismissive and demeaning to the people he worked with. They said he failed to provide “routine and meaningful contact” with patients and their families.

At the center of Fazeli’s case was his dispute with Stafford over their antipsychotic medicating habits. Fazeli said in his lawsuit that he was pressured to heavily medicate dementia patients to “calm them down,” ignoring other possible methods.

The practice of heavily medicating dementia patients is known as applying “chemical restraints,” the lawsuit said, and higher-ups told Fazeli he was “not putting the interests of the facility first” in declining to prescribe strong medications.

The case has been in limbo for more than three years. It was scheduled for jury trial on Feb. 5, after being rescheduled several times throughout 2022 and 2023. U.S. District Judge Jon Levy ruled twice against the defense’s motion to dismiss Fazeli’s complaint, in 2021 and again last year.

In September, Levy denied an attempt by the defense to end the case through “summary judgment,” where they argued there wasn’t enough dispute about the facts for a jury to consider. Levy ruled that claims against the three facilities could continue, although he dismissed all of Fazeli’s claims against the two company executives.

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