Federal judge gives green light to lawsuit arising from murder

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LEWISTON — A federal judge ruled Thursday that a lawsuit lodged against a local company for allegedly failing to protect an employee who was murdered by a fellow employee shouldn’t be dismissed.

In U.S. District Court in Portland, Judge D. Brock Hornby wrote: “These matters are more appropriately addressed at summary judgment or trial.”

Richard Dwyer, 46, of Canton worked at Affiliated Computer Services Inc. at the Lewiston Mall on East Avenue with Donna Paradis, 38, who lived locally.

Dwyer was convicted in 2008 of raping, robbing and killing Paradis a year earlier. He was sentenced to life in prison. The estate of Paradis sued ACS, claiming that company should have protected Paradis against Dwyer, who had been a federal felon on parole when he worked at the company.

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He also had allegedly assaulted and harassed another female worker at the company before killing Paradis. Lawyers for ACS filed a motion to dismiss the case against it, in part because the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act exempts an employer from civil actions “involving personal injuries sustained by an employee arising out of and in the course of employment.”

The estate of Paradis, represented by Yvette Michaud, claimed ACS was negligent in hiring Dwyer, who had been convicted of seven felonies, nine offenses involving robbery, theft or dishonesty and had been either convicted of or had his parole revoked for four offenses involving rape, attempted rape or assault on women, according to the suit. Plaintiffs also claim ACS was negligent for not firing Dwyer after two other female co-workers reported harassment and assault.

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