New Gloucester selectman says lawsuit against him is over

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NEW GLOUCESTER — Selectman Steven Libby left his seat at Monday’s regular board meeting to speak as a citizen, saying the lawsuit filed against him by resident Frank Staton Jr. is over and done.

“They conceded defeat after we asked for summary judgment,” said Libby, before thanking his supporters. Summary judgment is a motion asking the judge to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

In early July 2014, Staton filed a civil lawsuit against Libby alleging he made statements harmful to Staton’s reputation, social standing and profession. On July 14, Libby’s attorney asked for summary judgment and on July 29 the judge officially ruled in favor of Libby. 

Reached by telephone at his home Tuesday, Staton said he knew the summary judgment was pending, but was surprised by Libby’s public statement Monday night. 

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“If the case is over, I don’t understand how it came to a conclusion,” Staton said.

The Maine Municipal Association provides insurance to the town. Attorney Edward Benjamin of Drummond Woodsum of Portland was assigned to defend Libby in the lawsuit.

On Tuesday, Town Manager Paul First said the town accrued no expense in the lawsuit, which was covered by the insurance policy with MMA.

“The case is over and done,” Libby said Monday. “I want to thank MMA for unwavering support.”

Staton recently removed the political signs criticizing town officials from his property.

At the end of June, Staton was released from a protection order obtained by the town that barred him from contacting 34 town officials.

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