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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting Matthew Eastwick’s application to confirm an arbitration award and denying Cate Street Capital, Inc.’s competing motion to vacate that award after concluding that the parties had agreed to arbitrate any disputes arising from a settlement agreement. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the agreement contained clear contractual language of the parties’ intent to submit disputes to the mediator for binding arbitration; and (2) although the parties’ confidentiality had been compromised by the litigation, the court’s judgment incorporated the final agreement without ordering acceleration of those payments not yet due and without modifying any of its terms, including the agreement’s confidentiality provision. View "Eastwick v. Cate Street Capital, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Father’s parental rights pursuant to Me. Rev. Sat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(b)(i)-(ii). The court held (1) the evidence showed that Father was unable, within a time reasonably calculated to meet his child’s needs, to protect the child from jeopardy or take responsibility for the child; and (2) because the district court’s findings of unfitness were supported by clear and convincing evidence and because permanent placement with the foster family would be in the child’s best interest, there was no error. View "In re Damein F." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment entered in the Business and Consumer Docket awarding the State and ConnectME Authority $406,852 in unpaid fees pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 35-A, 9216, plus interests and costs. On appeal, all parties argued that the lower court erred by concluding that the section 9216 assessment was a valid business excise tax. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the Legislature properly characterized the section 9216 assessment as a fee and not a tax; and (2) while the lower court erred by concluding that the assessment was a valid business excise tax, the error was harmless. View "State v. Biddeford Internet Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating the parental rights of Parents to their child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii). The court held (1) contrary to Father’s arguments on appeal, the court’s findings were sufficient for the court to have found at least one ground of parental unfitness; and (2) the court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Parents’ parental rights, with a permanency plan of adoption, was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Keegan M." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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A digital photograph transmitted over the internet is legally insufficient to constitute an “exposure” pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 17-A, 854(1)(B), which prohibits indecent conduct. Furthermore, Me. R. Evid. 1002, requiring the introduction of original writings, recordings or photographs, when available, did not require the exclusion of the victims’ testimony about digital messages that they received from the defendant in this case. The victims in this case were five teenage girls who each received from Defendant explicit digital images. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated Defendant’s convictions for indecent conduct and remanded for an entry of a judgment of acquittal as to those counts, holding that section 854(1)(B) did not apply to Defendant’s conduct. As to Defendant’s argument that the court erred in allowing the victims to testify from memory about the digital messages, under the best evidence rule, the State was required to introduce the original messages, if available, or make a showing that the messages could not be obtained before offering secondary evidence in the form of witness testimony. The court’s admission of one of the victim’s messages and another victim’s testimony complied with Me. R. Evid. 1002 and 1004. But as to two other victims, the testimony and message were admitted in contravention of the best evidence rule. View "State v. Legassie" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii). The district court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that Mother was unwilling or unable to protect the child from jeopardy and unwilling or unable to take responsibility for the child within a time reasonably calculated to meet his needs and that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. The Supreme Court held that the court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that Mother was unfit and that termination of Mother’s parental rights, with a permanency plan of adoption, was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Noah B." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii). The district court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that Mother was unwilling or unable to protect the child from jeopardy and unwilling or unable to take responsibility for the child within a time reasonably calculated to meet his needs and that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. The Supreme Court held that the court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that Mother was unfit and that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Marcus E." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her son pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii), (iv). The court held (1) given the trial court’s findings of fact, all of which were supported by competent evidence in the record, the court did not err in its unfitness determination, nor did it err or abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest; and (2) the Department of Health and Human Services complied with Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4041 by developing an adequate reunification plan and made a good faith effort to cooperate with and seek the participation of Mother throughout these proceedings. View "In re Landon S." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating the parental rights of Parents to their child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii), (iv). Specifically, the court held that the findings were sufficient to support the trial court’s determinations that Parents were unable to protect the child from jeopardy or take responsibility for the child within a time reasonably calculated to meet his needs, that they had failed to make a good faith effort to rehabilitate and reunify with the child, and that termination of the Parents’ parental rights was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Braxton M." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating the parental rights of Mother and Father to their twin sons and the parental rights of Mother to her daughter pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a), (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii), (iv). The Supreme Court held, contrary to the parents’ contentions on appeal, that competent evidence in the record supported the court’s findings that Parents were unwilling or unable to protect the children from jeopardy and otherwise take responsibility for the children within a time reasonably calculated to meet the children’s needs and that Father failed to make a good faith effort to rehabilitate and reunify with the children. Further, the court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the children’s grandmother’s testimony as hearsay. View "In re Hope H." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law