Articles Posted in Injury Law

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Jon Haddow, an attorney, represented and Frank and Beverly Pawlendzio in personal bankruptcy proceedings. Following the proceedings, the Pawlendzios filed a complaint against Haddow, asserting claims of legal malpractice and seeking damages for economic loss and extreme emotional distress. The Pawlendzios based their claims on the fact that, contrary to Haddow’s advice, loans made to them by friends and relatives lost their protected status as a result of the bankruptcy proceedings. The superior court entered an order granting summary judgment in favor of Haddow. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the Pawlendzios failed to produce expert-based evidence that Haddow breached his duty owed to the Pawlendzios. View "Pawlendzio v. Haddow" on Justia Law

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Drilling Blasting Rock Specialists, Inc. (DBRS) filed a complaint against Paul Rheaume, asserting that Rheaume should be held personally liable for intentionally and negligently misrepresenting that there were no encumbrances on property DBRS purchased. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Rheaume, concluding that DBRS’s negligent and intentional misrepresentation claims were time-barred. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding that the trial court (1) correctly granted summary judgment against DBRS on the negligent misrepresentation claim; but (2) erred in granting summary judgment on the intentional misrepresentation claim, as there exists a factual dispute regard the commencement of the limitations period applicable to this claim. Remanded. View "Drilling & Blasting Rock Specialists, Inc. v. Rheaume" on Justia Law

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Day’s Auto Body, Inc. (Day’s Auto) filed a complaint alleging that Town of Medway and Emery Lee and Sons, Inc. (ELS) negligently used vehicles, machinery, and equipment in the course of their response to a fire at Day’s Auto’s shop. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, concluding that the Town and ELS were immune from Day’s Auto’s claims pursuant to the Maine Tort Claims Act (MTCA). The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err when it entered a summary judgment in favor of both the Town and ELS. View "Day's Auto Body, Inc. v. Town of Medway" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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In 2011, Dennis Kay was driving a van owned by Budget Truck Rental when the van slid off an icy road. Kay was ejected from the vehicle and died as a result of the accident. Kay was driving the vehicle during the course of his employment with Douglas Wiggins, who died in 2013 of unrelated causes. Kay’s estate brought a wrongful death action against Wiggins’s estate and Budget Truck. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of Wiggins and Budget Truck, concluding (1) Kay’s claim was barred by the exclusivity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act (Act), and (2) Budget Truck did not proximately cause Kay’s injuries. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the court did not err in granting summary judgment for Wiggins on the ground that Kay’s claim was barred by the Act; and (2) the court did not err in granting summary judgment for Budget Truck. View "Estate of Kay v. Estate of Wiggins" on Justia Law

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Camden National Bank filed a complaint for foreclosure against Ilene Weintraub. Weintraub brought several counterclaims against the bank, including violations of the Maine Consumer Credit Code, breach of contract, and a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, alleging that she suffered injuries as a direct and proximate result of the abuse conduct of the Bank’s collections department and an accusation of criminal conduct. The Bank filed a special motion to dismiss requesting dismissal of several claims based on Maine’s anti-SLAPP statute, but failing to request dismissal of the breach of contract claim. The superior court concluded that the anti-SLAPP statute prohibits selective dismissal of claims and that Weintraub met her burden of demonstrating a prima facie case of actual injury and causation. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the trial court (1) erred in holding that the anti-SLAPP statute did not allow for selective dismissal of some, but not all, of Weintraub’s counterclaims, but the error was harmless; and (2) did not err in concluding that Weintraub met her burden of showing prima facie evidence of causation. View "Camden Nat’l Bank v. Weintraub" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a complaint for negligence and wrongful death against Defendant, who owned and operated a guesthouse at which Plaintiff’s wife died. Plaintiff alleged that the guesthouse premises were unreasonably dangerous and that defects in the staircase of a bedroom were a proximate cause of his wife’s fatal injuries. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Defendant, concluding that Plaintiff failed to present a prima facie case that Defendant’s alleged negligence was a proximate cause of his wife’s fatal injuries. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err by disregarding certain statements in Plaintiff’s affidavit and the affidavit of his expert witness; and (2) the evidence could not not support a finding that Defendant’s allegedly unsafe premises bore a causal connection to Plaintiff’s wife’s injuries. View "Estate of Smith v. Salvesen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Grant worked for Bath Iron Works from 1964-1970, and again from 1978-1994. During Grant’s first period of employment, asbestos was a common component of the insulation and other materials used at Bath, including for the construction and renovation of ships. Grant worked in a variety of positions, including as a ship cleaner. Cleaning included sweeping up debris— sometimes including asbestos. In 2011, Grant died of lung cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos. The trial court rejected, on summary judgment, Grant’s estate’s complaint, alleging negligence, violation of 14 M.R.S. 221 (defective or unreasonably dangerous goods), and loss of consortium. The complaint named 15 defendants, including Bath’s suppliers. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed. The trial court required the estate to show “[t]hat the defendant’s asbestos-containing product was at the site where the plaintiff worked or was present, and that the plaintiff was in proximity to that product at the time it was being used.” The estate was unable to produce evidence to establish a prima facie case that any of the named defendants’ products were a proximate cause of the injuries View "Grant v. Foster Wheeler, LLC" on Justia Law

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Five suits filed against Nisbet, the owner of an apartment building where several people died in a 2014 fire, make claims for wrongful death, alleging that the property was in a state of general disrepair with no working smoke detectors, a second means of egress (a back staircase) was impassable, the building contained an illegal third-floor apartment, the property violated fire codes, and Nisbet allowed the storage of combustible materials on the property. With its complaint, filed several weeks before the others, the Estate of Summers requested, and the court granted, attachment and trustee process against Nisbet, on an ex parte basis, in the amount of $1.7 million. Nisbet did not challenge the attachment. The other estates then moved for attachment and trustee process. Nisbet did not oppose those requests, but they had not yet been granted when the other estates successfully moved to dissolve the Estate of Summers’s attachment order on grounds that the required showing to obtain the attachment on an ex parte basis had not been made.The court simultaneously granted attachments in favor of all five estates. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court vacated the order to the extent that it dissolved the attachment issued after ex parte process and declined to effectuate that attachment as of its original date of entry. View "Estate of Summers v. Nisbet" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, on behalf of her child, filed a complaint for protection from abuse against Defendant, a neighbor, on behalf of Defendant’s child. After a hearing, the district court entered a protection order, finding that Defendant’s child presented a firearm-related credible threat to the safety of Plaintiff’s child. Defendant appealed. The Supreme Court remanded the case for entry of a second amended order that does not include the credible threat finding, holding that the district court’s finding that Defendant’s child poses a firearm-related credible threat to the safety of Plaintiff’s child was in error. View "Seger v. Nason" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law, Injury Law

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Plaintiff Kevin Strong and Defendants Rebecca Brakeley and Jonathan Bausman were all physicians licensed to practice medicine in Maine. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants alleging that certain negative statements made by them on a credentials verification system’s questionnaires caused St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center to deny him staff privileges. Plaintiff asserted claims for defamation and tortious interference with a business relationship and sought punitive damages. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that they were entitled to absolute immunity for their statements pursuant to 24 Me. Rev. Stat. 2511. The superior court agreed and entered summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Defendants’ answers to the questionnaires “constituted eligible reports by eligible reporters made for the purpose of assisting a board, authority, or committee in carrying out its statutory duties as a matter of law within the plain meaning of section 2511(3).” View "Strong v. Brakeley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law