Magistrate dismisses lawsuit against Falmouth

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FALMOUTH — A freedom of access lawsuit brought against the town by a frequent critic of local government has been dismissed.

Michael Doyle, of 3 Shady Lane, filed his complaint in U.S. District Court on April 25. He claimed that over the course of a 26-month period, he was intentionally defrauded of $345, and sought unspecified compensation and punitive damages, plus interest and costs.

Doyle claimed in court documents that from October 2011 until December 2013 he submitted 30 Freedom of Access Act requests to the town via email to inspect and copy public records. State law requires that the first hour of work done to comply with FOAA requests be provided free of charge. Doyle claimed he was illegally charged; Town Manager Nathan Poore said it was because each request was a continuation of a prior request.

On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge John C. Nivision recommended Doyle’s case be dismissed because Doyle did not have authority to file a federal civil claim, which must be made by the Office of the U.S. Attorney.

Nivision’s recommendation will be forwarded to a federal judge for confirmation. Doyle has 14 days to file an objection.