Justia Injury Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Maine Supreme Court
Fields v. Hayden
Defendant leased a single-family dwelling to Tenants pursuant to a lease agreement in which Tenants were permitted to keep pets but would be responsible for any property damage or disturbance caused by their pets. Three times in one month, a dog owned by Tenants allegedly attacked Plaintiff. Plaintiff sued Defendants seeking damages on a common law theory of negligence. The superior court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because there were no triable issues as to whether Defendants were ever in possession of control over Tenants' dog, the superior court did not err in its judgment. View "Fields v. Hayden" on Justia Law
Bradbury v. City of Eastport
The City Council authorized the City Manager to sell a parcel of oceanfront property known as "the Boat School." Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that the sale agreement was invalid due to the City's failure to advertise in accordance with its charter, and moved for a temporary restraining order to prevent the sale of the property. Defendants counterclaimed against Plaintiffs for slander of title and tortious interference with a contract. Plaintiffs filed a special motion to dismiss the counterclaims of Defendants pursuant to Maine's anti-SLAPP statute because Defendants' counterclaims were based on Plaintiffs' petitioning activity. The district court (1) declined to address the merits of Plaintiffs' special motion to dismiss because it was filed after the sixty-day period provided by the statute; (2) granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' complaint; (3) granted in part and denied in part summary judgment for Plaintiffs on Defendants' counterclaims. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's denial of Plaintiffs' special motion to dismiss, holding that the court did not abuse its discretion in declining to consider the merits of Plaintiffs' untimely special motion. View "Bradbury v. City of Eastport" on Justia Law
Hardenbergh v. Patrons Oxford Ins. Co.
Plaintiff maintained a homeowners insurance policy with Insurer that excluded from coverage any claims for "injury arising out of the business pursuits" of Plaintiff. In 2011, a third party filed a complaint against Plaintiff, contending that Plaintiff published false and defamatory statements regarding the third party. In response to the complaint, Plaintiff tendered defense of the suit to Insurer, which declined to defend Plaintiff. Plaintiff then filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that Insurer had a duty to defend him in the pending action by the third party. The superior court granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment and remanded for entry of a summary judgment in favor of Insurer, holding that Insurer had no duty to defend Plaintiff because the third party suit was based entirely on activity falling within the policy's exclusion for Plaintiff's "business pursuits." View "Hardenbergh v. Patrons Oxford Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Langevin v. Allstate Ins. Co.
Plaintiffs purchased property from Charles Johnson. During the pendency of the sale of the property, Johnson misrepresented the condition of the property and failed to disclose its prior use as a junkyard. Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Johnson alleging various causes of action and seeking damages for loss of investment, undisclosed physical problems with the property, and emotional distress. While he owned the disputed property, Johnson maintained a homeowners insurance policy with Allstate Insurance Company. Allstate refused to defend or indemnify Johnson on Plaintiffs' complaint. Plaintiffs and Johnson subsequently reached an agreement resolving the underlying complaint, and the superior court entered a judgment against Johnson for $330,000. Plaintiffs then initiated a reach and apply action against Allstate. The trial court granted summary judgment for Johnson, determining that the policy did not cover the damages Plaintiffs suffered. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs' damages did not constitute covered "bodily injury" or "property damage" pursuant to the Allstate homeowners insurance policy. View "Langevin v. Allstate Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Quirion v. Veilleux
Bernard Quirion, a Canadian citizen, was driving in Quebec when some plywood came off the truck Bryan Veilleux was driving and struck the windshield of Quirion's truck. Quirion sustained serious injuries. Veilleux was employed by S.M. Transport at the time. Quirion and his wife, Nancy Dulac, filed a complaint against Veilleux and S.M. Transport, claiming negligence and loss of consortium. The trial court determined that the laws of Canada and Quebec would apply to the determination of damages. Appellants filed an interlocutory appeal, contending that Maine law should govern determination of their damages. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that this interlocutory appeal was not subject to an exception to the final judgment rule and that the final judgment rule barred the Court's reaching the merits of the appeal. View "Quirion v. Veilleux" on Justia Law
In re D.P.
The Department of Health and Human Services filed a child protection petition against D.P.'s parents, alleging that the parents placed D.P. in jeopardy. Mother filed a petition to terminate her own parental rights without a jeopardy hearing. In the petition, Mother agreed to a finding of jeopardy based on her substance abuse but sought to avoid a jeopardy hearing involving evidence of her sexual abuse of D.P. The court dismissed mother's termination petition, concluding that Mother did not have a statutory or constitutional right to petition to terminate her own parental rights or to forgo a full jeopardy hearing. After a jeopardy hearing, the court found jeopardy as to both parents based on domestic violence, abandonment, and sexual abuse of D.P. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court did not err in holding the jeopardy hearing despite Mother's desire to terminate her parental rights on grounds of her own choosing, as (1) Mother was not statutorily authorized to petition to terminate her own parental rights; and (2) the lack of such statutory authority did not violate the U.S. Constitution. View "In re D.P." on Justia Law
Cent. Me. Power Co. v. Devereux Marine, Inc.
While working at Devereux Marine, Employee was electrocuted when the mast he was lowering came into contact with an overhead high-voltage power line owned by Central Maine Power Company (CMP). Employee received workers' compensation benefits through Devereux and separately sued CMP for negligence. The court awarded Employee $4,890,631 in damages. After paying the judgment, CMP brought this claim for indemnification against Devereux. Accompanying CMP's complaint was a motion for ex parte real estate attachment. The business and consumer docket denied CMP's motion for attachment, interpreting the Maine Overhead High-voltage Line Safety Act as creating a statutory right of contribution as opposed to a right to indemnification. The Supreme Court vacated the denial of the motion to attach, holding that full indemnification from an employer is required when (1) an employee is injured after bringing materials into contact with an overhead high-voltage power line; (2) the employer is determined to have violated the Act; and (3) the owner of the high-voltage line becomes liable to the employee. Remanded. View "Cent. Me. Power Co. v. Devereux Marine, Inc." on Justia Law
Trott v. H.D. Goodall Hosp.
Plaintiff was employed by a Hospital for nineteen years. In 2009, Plaintiff was deposed in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit against the Hospital. The day after Plaintiff signed her deposition transcript, the Hospital terminated Plaintiff's employment on the ground that a medical record entry Plaintiff described in her deposition constituted a falsification of a patient medical record. Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Hospital, alleging that it violated Me. Rev. Stat. 26, 833(1)(C) because it discharged her in retaliation for her deposition testimony in the wrongful death lawsuit against the Hospital. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of Hospital. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that Plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether her deposition was a substantial factor motivating her dismissal. View "Trott v. H.D. Goodall Hosp." on Justia Law
Scott v. Fraser Papers, Inc.
Employee suffered an injury to his left hand while working for Employer. Later, Employee's left index finger had to be amputated. Employee subsequently filed a petition for specific loss benefits. The parties agreed Employee was entitled to specific loss benefits because of the amputation for a period of thirty-eight weeks. At issue was whether Employer was entitled to an offset for the incapacity benefits it paid before the amputation. The Workers' Compensation Board granted the petition for specific loss benefits and determined that Employer was allowed to offset the incapacity benefits paid before the amputation. The Supreme Court vacated the Board's decision, holding that Employer was not entitled to offset the incapacity benefits paid during the months after Employee's initial injury but before the amputation of his finger. View "Scott v. Fraser Papers, Inc. " on Justia Law
D.S. v. Spurwink Services, Inc.
D.S., who had several disabilities and disorders, was admitted to the Spurwink School for the provision of "necessary emotional, psychological and other therapeutic services and education." In 2004, D.S., then sixteen years old, arrived at school. An educational technician came outside when D.S. arrived, but D.S. shortly thereafter left the property on foot. D.S. was not located, and D.S. later alleged that, after leaving the school property, she was sexually assaulted by two strangers. In 2010, D.S.'s mother, on behalf of D.S., filed a five-count complaint against Spurwink Services. Spurwink Services moved to dismiss the complaint, asserting that the case was governed by the Maine Health Security Act (MHSA) and D.S. failed to comply with the requirements of the MHSA. The superior court entered summary judgment in favor of Spurwink Services, finding that it lacked jurisdiction over D.S.'s claims pursuant to the MHSA. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment and remanded, holding that the provisions of MHSA did not apply in this case, as D.S.'s action did not constitute an "action for professional negligence" as defined by the MHSA. View "D.S. v. Spurwink Services, Inc." on Justia Law