Camden lawyer files countersuit in sexual harrasment lawsuit

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 11:15am

    There is no trial date, but a Midcoast business owner filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against a Camden lawyer in 2021 citing assault and common law battery, attorney malpractice, and intentional infliction of distress. The defendant is Dana F. Strout. In court documents, Strout vehemently denied all claims against him. He also is countersuing for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and quantum meruit (a reasonable sum of money paid for services rendered when the amount due is not stipulated in a legally enforceable contract). The case was filed in May 2023 in Lincoln County Superior Court.

    The plaintiff’s name is being withheld due to her possibly being a victim of sexual abuse. She contracted with Strout in October 2019 for legal services. In court documents, the plaintiff stated she was involved in a civil lawsuit regarding her business. On Oct.1, 2019, she sought Strout’s legal counsel. In her complaint, she described in detail how he allegedly approached her, inappropriately touched her and made inappropriate comments in his office. She was later hospitalized for two weeks. She claims Strout continued the harassment by calling her while she was still in the hospital and after being released.

    In court documents, Strout’s affirmative defenses stated the claims (individually and collectively) fail to state how relief may be granted and her claims are subject to arbitration and not properly before this court, and that the plaintiff’s claims are also barred by the statute of limitations and by doctrines of “consent, laches, unclean hands, and/or waiver.”

    In his countersuit, Strout sites in court documents “he worked diligently on her lawsuit from October 2019 to spring 2021.” The plaintiff paid an initial $2,500 fee, but the $58,082 balance remains unpaid. He maintains the total with accruing interest and fees reached $89,446.71 through May 2021. “Plaintiff’s material breach caused significant damages to Strout,” read his countersuit filed by the law firm of Thompson, Bowie & Hatch. 

    Following another alleged sexual harassment encounter, the plaintiff replaced Strout with another attorney. In court documents, the plaintiff’s complaint stated she replaced Strout with attorney Jessica Maher in her civil suit. Upon her new attorney’s advice, she filed a complaint with the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar claiming Strout violated Maine Rules of Professional Conduct. 

    “A lawyer should not engage in unlawful conduct against client specifically sexual assault and other sex based offenses against his client. Attorney Strout repeatedly did so. Including provisions prohibited by the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct causing plaintiff to suffer severe on-going damages,” read her complaint.

    The Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar filed a petition for immediate suspension on May 5, 2021. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court then issued an “order of accepting surrender date” for June 21, 2021 in which Strout voluntarily surrendered his law license. Strout can seek reinstatement after five years.