April 08, 2020

Former trooper sues state police > Man seeks $300,000, saying he was forced to quit over learning disability

AUGUSTA — A former Maine state trooper who said he was forced to quit because he is learning disabled is suing the state police, claiming it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Michael Sellar, who resigned in July 1996 after tests showed he was learning disabled, is seeking up to $300,000 in damages.

Sellar graduated from the State Police Academy in April 1996, but a pattern of paperwork problems during a field training program drew his supervisors’ attention, according to court documents.

Grammatical and spelling errors showed up in police reports, and words were in misplaced order.

Sellar’s lawyer, John Gause of Lewiston, said the state could have accommodated Sellar’s disability by letting him use computer programs that check spelling and grammar.

In its response to the suit, the state denies Sellar was dismissed because of a learning disability. It says he was unable to perform his duties without endangering himself or others.

A spokesman refused to comment further.

“It is inappropriate for us to talk about this because it is in the judicial process,” said Stephen McCausland.

The case could go to trial in U.S. District Court in June.

Sellar had a lifelong goal to become a Maine state trooper and left his job as a security guard for Sylvester Stallone to take the job. He was a patrol officer for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department before joining the Maine State Police.

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