Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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

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Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Defendant alleging tortious interference with an expected inheritance and breach of contract. The superior court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss pursuant to Me. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), concluding (1) the tortious interference with an expected inheritance count did not satisfy the rule that a promise to take a future action will not support an action for fraud and did not state the nature or scope of the fraud allegations with particularity, and (2) the contract alleged in the breach of contract count did not satisfy the statute of frauds. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment dismissing Plaintiffs’ complaint and remanded for entry of dismissal without prejudice, holding that the issues raised by the complaint were not ripe for judicial review. View "Johnson v. Crane" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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After this case was returned from the federal courts to a Florida superior court’s jurisdiction, only Plaintiff’s claims for defamation and false light invasion of privacy remained. Plaintiff, a town official for the Town of Raymond, filed suit against a town selectman, alleging Defendant had made various false statements to the sheriff’s office about Plaintiff’s alcohol for the purpose of humiliating and harassing Plaintiff. The superior court granted Defendant’s special motion to dismiss both remaining causes of action on anti-SLAPP grounds. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed, as a matter of law, to meet his prima facie burden on opposing Defendant’s special motion to dismiss, and therefore, the superior court correctly dismissed the remaining claims. View "Desjardins v. Reynolds" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Appellant appealed from the superior court’s post-judgment order awarding her attorney fees in the amount of $8,000 after a jury found Appellee liable for illegal eviction and wrongful use of civil proceedings. Appellant had requested nearly $60,000 in attorney fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the superior court did not apply an improper standard in evaluating Appellant’s request for attorney fees and that the court’s ultimate fee award was not an abuse of discretion. The court reviewed the award of attorney fees pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 6014(2)(B) for an abuse of discretion and according the trial court substantial deference. View "Sands v. Thomas" on Justia Law

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In this defamation case, the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the superior court’s dismissal of Marie Gunning’s complaint without prejudice for failure to effect service on the defendants, holding that Gunning was estopped from a prior California judgment from continuing to seek the Does’ identities. Marie Gunning brought suit against the anonymous publisher and writer (collectively, John Doe) of News as Viewed from a Crow’s Nest (Crow's Nest), a publication distributed locally in Freeport, Maine and accessible on the Internet, claiming that Crow’s Nest published defamatory statements about her in several of its issues. During the proceedings, a California court quashed a subpoena that Gunning served on the Crow’s Nest website host seeking to identify Doe. Thereafter, the superior court dismissed Gunning’s complaint without prejudice for failure to effect service on the defendants. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that because the issue decided by the California court in a final judgment was the same issue that Gunning sought to have a Maine court revisit, and because Gunning had the opportunity and incentive to litigate that issue in California, she was estopped from relitigating it in the Maine action. View "Gunning v. Doe" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Amy Canney’s minor child, Nicholai, was bitten by a dog kept by Eric Burns, a neighbor who performed on-call maintenance work on properties owned by Strathglass Holdings, Inc. Canney filed a complaint on behalf of Nicholai against Strathglass, claiming that Burns was at all pertinent times the agent, servant or employee of Strathglass and was maintaining the property for the benefit of Strathglass. The superior court granted summary judgment for Strathglass, concluding that Burns was not acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the dog bite. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) neither Burns’s acts or omissions nor Nicholai’s presence on his premises were related to Burns’s employment or agency with Strathglass, and therefore, summary judgment on Canney’s respondent superior claims was proper; and (2) Canney’s complaint failed to allege a theory of direct liability against Strathglass, and she offered no evidence that would support a direct claim of negligence against Strathglass. View "Canney v. Strathglass Holdings, LLC" on Justia Law

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Aleshia Diviney was injured when she slipped and fell on ice outside of her dormitory, located on the University of Southern Maine (USM) Gorham campus. Diviney filed a complaint alleging premises liability against USM, the University of Maine System (UMS), and the State. UMS moved for summary judgment, asserting untimely notice. The superior court granted summary judgment for UMS, concluding that Diviney did not file notice satisfying the statutory requirements until after the 180-day deadline had passed and that Diviney could not show “good cause” to excuse her failure to timely file notice. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the grant of summary judgment was proper because the question of “good cause” did not present genuine issues of material fact, and the court properly applied the language of Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 8107 to the facts in the record. View "Diviney v. University of Maine System" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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After Plaintiff was terminated from his employment from Bath Iron Works (BIW), Plaintiff grieved the termination. The Local S7 Union Grievance Committee voted not to arbitrate the grievance. Thereafter, represented by Attorney John R. Lemieux, Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Union and BIW, alleging breach of the collective bargaining agreement and discrimination. The magistrate judge issued a recommended decision granting a summary judgment in favor of BIW and the Union. The superior court affirmed the magistrate judge’s recommended decision, and the court of appeals affirmed. Plaintiff then filed this action against Lemieux, alleging legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of Lemieux, concluding that Plaintiff failed to put forth prima facie evidence of causation. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that summary judgment was proper because Plaintiff failed to put forth prima facie evidence of causation to support his claims. View "Brooks v. Lemieux" on Justia Law

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After Plaintiff gave birth to a son, she filed a complaint against Merck & Co., Inc. and the United States, alleging that a community health center physician negligently failed to insert into her arm an implant manufactured by Merck that was designed to prevent pregnancy as a result of Merck’s defective applicator. The federal court certified questions of state law to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The Court answered (1) the protection of Maine’s Wrongful Birth statute extends to Merck as a drug manufacturer and distributor; and (2) pursuant to the Wrongful Birth statute, Plaintiff may not recover any damages on her claims against either defendant because of the nature of the procedure she underwent. View "Doherty v. Merck & Co., Inc." on Justia Law

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Philip Barnard was significantly injured when a deck attached to an apartment owed by William Condon collapsed while Barnard was standing on it. Barnard and his wife, Jaime Wilson, filed a complaint against Condon, alleging negligence and seeking damages for, among other things, Wilson’s loss of consortium. Barnard and Wilson divorced during the pendency of the lawsuit. After a trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of Barnard on his complaint but awarded no damages on Wilson’s derivative claim for loss of consortium. Wilson appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the superior court did not err in denying Wilson’s motion for additur or a new trial on the grounds that the jury’s verdict was manifestly inadequate and internally inconsistent because Wilson failed to meet her burden of demonstrating any of the available grounds for overturning the jury’s verdict. View "Wilson v. Condon" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury