Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

by
The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff’s fraudulent transfer complaint as having been filed outside the applicable statute of limitations, holding that the court should have treated the motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff brought a complaint against Defendants alleging violations of the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the applicable six-year statute of limitations ran one day before the date that Plaintiff’s complaint was filed. The district court granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Judicial Court held that Plaintiff’s submission of extrinsic evidence converted the motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment, and accordingly, the court erred in failing to proceed with the summary judgment process. View "Acadia Resources, Inc. v. VMS, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Wells Fargo appealed from the district court’s judgment dismissing its foreclosure complaint against Defendant as a sanction for pretrial misconduct. After a nontestimonial hearing, the court ordered the action dismissed with prejudice. Wells Fargo moved to alter or amend the judgment to provide for a dismissal without prejudice. The district court denied the motion and maintained the dismissal with prejudice. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the case to the district court to conduct a proceeding that comports with the process recently articulated in Green Tree Servicing, LLC v. Cope, ___ A.3d ___, issued on April 11, 2017, holding that the process used by the trial court did not entirely follow the procedural steps that a court should take before imposing the sanction of dismissal with prejudice. View "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Welch-Gallant" on Justia Law

by
Green Tree Servicing, LLC filed a complaint against Thelma Cope to foreclose on her residential property. Green Tree later moved to dismiss its foreclosure complaint without prejudice on the grounds that it lacked standing to proceed with the action. The superior court denied Green Tree’s motion to dismiss the complaint without prejudice and instead dismissed the complaint with prejudice as a sanction for Green Tree’s pretrial conduct. Upon reconsideration, the court concluded that it did not have the authority to impose a dismissal with prejudice because Green Tree did not have standing to bring the foreclosure complaint in the first place. The court then entered an amended order that dismissed the action without prejudice. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment, holding that a trial court has the discretion to dismiss a foreclosure complaint with prejudice as a sanction even when the plaintiff lacks standing. Remanded. View "Green Tree Servicing, LLC v. Cope" on Justia Law

by
Attorney Susan Thiem represented Ann Thomas, an allegedly incapacitated person, during this action for appointment of a guardian and conservator. During the proceedings, the probate court issued an order imposing sanctions against Thiem based on a finding that she had “unreasonably interfered” with the discovery process. The sanctions order required Thiem to pay reasonable expenses, including attorney fees. Thiem appealed, arguing that the court abused its discretion by imposing sanctions. The Supreme Judicial Court dismissed the appeal as interlocutory without reaching the merits, holding that because the court had not yet quantified the amount of any attorney fees and expenses to be paid by Thiem as a sanction, the sanctions order was not a final judgment suitable for appellate review. View "Conservatorship & Guardianship of Ann B. Thomas" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner filed a petition in the superior court challenging a disciplinary decision by the Department of Corrections. The superior court dismissed the petition, concluding that Petitioner failed to state a claim where the court could not “determine its jurisdiction in the absence of its determination of the date of the final agency action.” Petitioner later filed a motion pursuant to Me. R. Civ. P. 60(b) to set aside the order dismissing his petition. The superior court denied the Rule 60(b) motion. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment, holding that the superior court erred in dismissing the petition for lack of jurisdiction because the court improperly required that the petition include content not statutorily required and presumed a lack of jurisdiction without a basis to do so. Remanded. View "Mutty v. Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

by
Harris Management and JJR Associates filed a complaint against Paul Coulombe and two LLCs under his control (collectively, Defendants), alleging seven causes of action arising from allegations that Coulombe had misrepresented his commitment to hire Harris Management to manage a golf course, which Coulombe was preparing to purchase, in an effort to obtain nearby property from JJR Associates at a discount and to prevent Harris from purchasing the golf club. During discovery, the court entered an order providing that Coulombe must permit Harris to discover the communications among Coulombe, his counsel, and a third party, concluding that those communications were either not subject to the attorney-client privilege or were discoverable because the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege applied. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment except with respect to one communication that the Court concluded the trial court must consider further on remand, holding that, with the exception of those pages, the court did not abuse its discretion in ordering the release of specific communications between Coulombe and his attorneys. View "Harris Management, Inc. v. Coulombe" on Justia Law

by
Bank brought this foreclosure action against Mortgagor. Mortgagor filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Bank’s notices of right to cure were deficient because they did not satisfy the requirements of Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 6111(1-A). The court concluded that the notice of right to cure did not comply with statutory requirements and dismissed the complaint without prejudice so that Bank could send notice in compliance with section 6111. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint but remanded with instructions to correct the order so that it provides for a dismissal with prejudice, holding that the court erred by stating that the dismissal was without prejudice because the dismissal was an adjudication on the merits, and therefore, it was with prejudice. View "U.S. Bank Trust, N.A. v. Mackenzie" on Justia Law

by
The Board of Trustees of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System affirmed an administrative determination that Appellant was ineligible for disability retirement benefits. Appellant later filed an incomplete petition for review of final agency action in the superior court. The complete petition was required to be filed on or before April 7. Appellant did not file a complete petition under April 15. The superior court dismissed as untimely Appellant’s petition for review of the Board’s decision. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the superior court did not err in dismissing the petition as untimely or in denying Appellant’s subsequent motion for reconsideration. View "Bastille v. Maine Pub. Employees Ret. Sys." on Justia Law

by
The probate court issued an adjudication of incapacity and appointed the Department of Health and Human Services as the public guardian of Harold Sanders, finding that Sanders was incapacitated, that no suitable private guardian was available, and that the appointment of a public guardian was necessary or desirable. Sanders appealed, arguing that the probate court did not have jurisdiction to appoint a guardian for him because his situation did not comport with any basis for jurisdiction in the adult guardianship statute. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed and vacated the judgment of the probate court, holding that Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 18-A, 5-523(b)(3) did not vest the court with jurisdiction to appoint a nontemporary guardian for Sanders. View "In re Guardianship of Harold Sanders" on Justia Law

by
In 2012, Nationstar Mortgage LLC filed a foreclosure action against Timothy Halfacre. The trial court entered judgment for Halfacre. Nationstar subsequently filed a new foreclosure action against Halfacre. The superior court concluded that the foreclosure action was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. On appeal, Nationstar asserted that it lacked standing to bring the action, and therefore, the action should be dismissed without prejudice. The Supreme Court vacated the trial court’s judgment and dismissed the case, holding that Nationstar lacked standing to foreclose on the mortgage. Further, the Court left to the trial court the determination of whether a sanction should be imposed in this matter. View "Nationstar Mortgage LLC v. Halfacre" on Justia Law