BANGOR – The state has filed a second motion to dismiss the federal civil rights lawsuit brought by Maine inmates claiming the governor took unemployment benefits from them.
Marc Sparks and four dozen other inmates at Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren were given unemployment when the coronavirus arrived in Maine, which closed the prison’s work release program.
The federal lawsuit claims the governor’s May 15 order to stop the unemployment payments was unconstitutional and she violated the 14th Amendment by taking the money without due process.
The motion to dismiss says Sparks never appealed the decision.
“We’re going to be filing an answer to that opposing it, and we think the judge will deny that and we’ll move forward and the judge will decide the legal issue,” said Chris MacLean, attorney for the inmates at Bolduc Correctional Facility. “It’s still going to take a few months unfortunately.”
State officials took just shy of $200,000 in unemployment benefits from the 54 inmates, or an average of $3,750 per person. And they are requiring inmates to pay back any of the unemployment funds they spent.
Last week, Augusta attorneys Carol Garvan and Shelby Leighton joined MacLean as co-counsels for the inmates involved in the class action lawsuit, some whom are no longer behind bars.