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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting Eric Teele’s motion to modify his child support obligation to his former wife but denying his request to be reimbursed for support he had paid during a period when he was disabled. Teele requested the reimbursement because, as a result of his disability, the parties’ two children received a retroactive lump-sum dependent benefit from the Social Security Administration (SSA) covering the same period when he had made payments. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the district court did not err in its interpretation and application of Me. Rev. Stat. 19-A, 2107 and Me. Rev. Stat. 19-A, 2009(2) in denying Teele’s request for reimbursement of child support during a period during which the children received retroactive dependent benefits from the SSA. View "Teele v. West-Harper" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court affirming a decision of the Cape Elizabeth Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), which determined that the Cape Elizabeth Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) had properly issued a building permit to Cunner Lane LLC. An abutting property owner appealed. The court remanded the case for the CEO to deny the application, holding that there was no competent evidence in the record showing that Cunner Lane LLC’s permit application met the requirements of Cape Elizabeth, Me. Zoning Ordinance 19-7-9(A)(2). View "Fissmer v. Town of Cape Elizabeth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court dismissed Defendant’s appeal from a judgment of the district court adopting the order of a family law magistrate granting Mother’s motion to modify a child support order included in the divorce judgment between Burdin and Anthony Kline. The child support order did not order Kline to pay child support. Burdin later filed a motion to modify the child support provisions of the divorce judgment, seeking an order requiring Kline to pay child support calculated pursuant to the child support guidelines. A magistrate granted Burdin’s motion. Kline appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and remanded the case because there is no right of direct appeal from a magistrate’s order. On remand, the district court treated Kline’s appeal as a Me. R. Civ. P. 118(a) objection to the magistrate’s order and adopted that order as the court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 118(a)(2). Kline appealed from the court’s adoption of the magistrate’s order. The Supreme Judicial Court dismissed the appeal because Kline failed to file a timely objection to the magistrate’s order as required by Rule 118, therefore waiving both his right to contest it in district court and to appeal. View "Kline v. Burdin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court concluding that a provider’s participation in MaineCare constitutes a “license,” the revocation of which invokes the district court jurisdiction. The superior court declared that the district court, and not the Department of Health and Human Services, had exclusive original jurisdiction over the decision to terminate a doctor’s participation in, and reimbursement from, MaineCare and any other medical assistance programs in the state of Maine. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment entered in favor of the doctor and remanded the matter, holding that the Department’s decision to terminate the doctor’s participation in the MaineCare program did not fall within the licensing decisions over which the legislature gave the district court original and exclusive jurisdiction. View "Doane v. Department of Health & Human Services" on Justia Law

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The district court erred by issuing an order for protection from abuse entered in the district court on a complaint filed by Susan Chretien because the court explicitly did not find that Russell Chretien had abused Susan. The district court found that Russell presented a “credible threat” but concluded that it was not going to find that Susan was, in fact, abused by Russell. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) Russell’s appeal remained justiciable even though the protective order had expired; and (2) because the court concluded that Susan failed to prove any form of abuse, the court erred in issuing a protective order. View "Chretien v. Chretien" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court denied Robert M.A. Nadeau’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s June 20, 2017 decision in this judicial disciplinary matter. In his motion, Nadeau argued that the sanctions imposed on him - including a two-year suspension from he practice of law and $5,000 forfeiture - for his numerous violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct violated his equal protection and due process of law rights and also violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the two-year suspension from the practice of law did not violate Nadeau’s rights to equal protection and due process of law; and (2) a sanction affecting Nadeau’s license to practice law was not misplaced. View "In re Robert M.A. Nadeau" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court concluding that the second foreclosure action filed by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) against Patricia and Paul Deschaine was barred as a matter of law by the judgment dismissing with prejudice Fannie Mae’s earlier foreclosure action against the Deschaines. The first foreclosure action was dismissed with prejudice because the parties failed to comply with the court’s pretrial order. The judgment later became final. The next year, Fannie Mae filed its second complaint for foreclosure involving the same property and based on the same note and mortgage. The superior court granted the Deschaines’ motion for summary judgment on the complaint. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that this second foreclosure claim was precluded by principles of res judicata. View "Federal National Mortgage Association v. Deschaine" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court in favor of Defendant on Plaintiffs’ defamation action. The trial court concluded that Plaintiffs failed to make the necessary prima facie showing that Defendant acted with actual malice. The Supreme Judicial Court held that no genuine issue of material fact existed and that Defendant was entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiffs failed to produce any evidence of the sort required to establish actual malice - such as evidence of Defendant’s negligence, motive, and intent - and, therefore, Plaintiffs could not prevail at trial. View "Plante v. Long" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the summary judgment entered by the probate court in favor of David Gourevitch, a qualified beneficiary of a 1907 trust, on Gourevitch’s complaint for a declaratory judgment that Maxwell is not a beneficiary of the trust, holding that Gourevitch’s claim was barred by the statute of limitations. The court additionally held that Gourevitch did not receive the benefit of tolling because he had the full ability to determine why Maxwell was receiving trust income distributions under a circumstance contrary to a certain provision in the trust when he was serving as a trustee but did not commence legal action until twelve years after ending his service as a trustee. View "In re George Parsons 1907 Trust" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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Father lived the child and her mother, outside of Maine, until 2008, when the child was about six months old. After that time, he maintained regular contact with the child, who resided primarily in New York, but was never her primary caregiver. In 2016 Mother moved to Maine with the child. Father, who is incarcerated in Massachusetts, did not oppose the move. While he was incarcerated the child asked a neighbor for help and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services commenced a child protection proceeding. Father made no effort to take responsibility. The Department obtained a preliminary protection order, 22 M.R.S. 4032-4036, and placed the child in foster care after hospitalization for psychiatric care. Father was served with notice and provided with appointed counsel, who moved to dismiss the petition for lack of personal jurisdiction because Father is not a Maine resident, has never traveled to Maine,and otherwise lacked sufficient minimum contacts with Maine. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the court’s rejection of that motion. The court was not required to have jurisdiction over Father to have authority to issue a jeopardy order to protect the child. View "In re Emma B." on Justia Law