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Update: Lawsuit claims Mazzetta-owned lobster company took advantage of former Atwood Lobster owner

Allegations center on William Atwood's ability to sign a deal given his declining mental capacity.

The former owner of Maine’s Atwood’s Lobster is alleging in a lawsuit filed in June that the company that bought the business took advantage of his declining mental state during negotiations for a revised lease agreement four years ago, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The lawsuit was filed by William Atwood, 81, against Maine Lobster and Processing LLC, which is part of Illinois-based Mazzetta Company. Maine Lobster and Processing has denied the allegations, according to court documents.

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Atwood sold Atwood Lobster and Warnershores LLC, to Maine Lobster and Processing in 2011. The terms of the deal, according to the newspaper report, included a lease agreement that would allow Maine Lobster and Processing LLC to use part of a waterfront property owned by Atwood in Tenants Harbor.

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In 2015, representatives from Maine Lobster and Processing asked Atwood to negotiate a revised lease agreement, according to the lawsuit. A year prior to that, Atwood began seeking medical attention for failing memory and other dementia-related problems, according to court records cited by the newspaper.

In March of 2015, Atwood signed the agreement, which expanded the portion of the Tenants Harbor property that Maine Lobster and Processing is allowed to operate within and bars Atwood from conducting any business at the property that would compete with the processing business, according to the Bangor Daily News.

The lawsuit also alleges that the company has breached the terms of the lease by using parts of the property not permitted by the agreement and for allowing the property to fall into disrepair.

In a statement sent to IntraFish, Mazzetta said it is "committed to the Maine lobster industry."

"We have had a productive working relationship with Bill and Sandra Atwood for more than eight years," the company wrote. "Atwood Lobster has a lease for the Tenants Harbor property, and we are working with Bill and Sandra Atwood on that lease. Likewise, we are working diligently to make improvements to facilities and to support fishermen, packers, cooperatives, truckers, and every person and family involved in the commercial lobster fishery."

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