29 McKown LLC et al. v. Town of Boothbay Harbor et al.
Kristin M. Collins; Stephen E.F. Langsdorf; Scott D. Anderson; John A. Cunningham
The Town of Boothbay Harbor permitted the resumption of construction of a building on property abutting 29 McKown LLC’s property after the Town’s code enforcement officer had issued a stop-work order. 29 McKown sought judicial review in the Superior Court, and the Superior Court affirmed the Town’s decision. 29 McKown appeals, arguing that (1) the Superior Court erred in reviewing the decision of the Town’s Board of Appeals rather than reviewing the decision of the code enforcement officer directly and (2) the code enforcement officer was not permitted to rescind the stop-work order without requiring the abutters to obtain a site-plan review and new building permit.
Covenant Healt, Inc., et al. v. Maine Human Rights Commission
David Strock; Jonathan Rue; Barbara Archer Hirsch; Kit Thomson Crossman
Immunity under Maine Health Security Act; mootness of appeal
A physician-employee of Covenant Health, Inc., filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission a complaint against Covenant, alleging that Covenant discriminated against her in imposing certain conditions on her after a review of her fitness to practice medicine. Covenant filed a complaint in the Superior Court seeking a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief confirming that it is immune from civil liability under the Maine Health Security Act and that records related to its professional competence review committee are privileged and confidential. The Superior Court entered a summary judgment in favor of the Commission. Covenant Health appeals, arguing that the appeal is not moot even though the Commission has concluded its investigation and decided not to pursue litigation and that the Superior Court erred in determining that (1) it is not immune from civil liability under the Maine Health Security Act, 24 M.R.S. §§ 2501 et seq., and (2) records from its Professional Competence Review Committees are not privileged and confidential.
In re Weapons Restriction of J.
Carlos Diaz; Lawrence C. Winger
Weapon restriction orders
The District Court entered a weapons restriction order against J. pursuant to 34-B M.R.S. § 3862-A. J. appeals, arguing that (1) the statute violates the Maine Constitution’s guarantee of the right to bear arms, (2) the statute is unconstitutionally vague, (3) the weapons restrictions order was not supported by clear and convincing evidence, (4) the District Court erred by failing to make factual findings, and (5) the prosecutor committed misconduct in the State’s closing argument.
Timothy M. Convery et al. v. Town of Wells
Taylor A. Asen; John J. Wall, III
The Superior Court denied the motion for summary judgment filed by the Town of Wells in Timothy Convery and Kelli Gustafson’s complaint against the Town for injuries they suffered when their car collided with a car driven by a suspected car thief who was attempting to evade two Town police officers during a high-speed chase. The Town appeals, arguing that (1) its appeal from an interlocutory order regarding immunity falls under an exception to the final judgment rule and (2) the Maine Tort Claims Act’s waiver of immunity for an employee’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle resulting in a collision does not apply when the collision is not with the vehicle that the governmental employee is driving.
Estate of Albert L. Bean Sr. v. City of Bangor et al.
Kirk D. Bloomer; Frederick F. Costlow
Albert L. Bean fell and was injured after stepping into a hole in a tree grate on a sidewalk in Bangor. Bean’s estate sued the city, and the city moved for summary judgment on the ground that it is immune from suit under the Maine Tort Claims Act. The Superior Court denied the motion. The city appeals, arguing that the Superior Court erred in (1) assigning to the city the burden of proving that it was immune and (2) finding that a genuine issue of material fact existed in the summary judgment record.
Oral Arguments: Tuesday, May 10, 2022, Cumberland County Courthouse, Portland
After a jury trial, Hillary Hemminger was convicted of operating under the influence (Class D). Hemminger appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in (1) denying her motion to strike a juror whose father was a victim in an OUI accident fifteen years ago and (2) imposing an increased sentence based on its belief that Hemminger testified untruthfully at trial.
State of Maine v. Pedro J. Rosario
Matthew A. Hunter; Rory A. McNamara
Trafficking in scheduled drugs; search and seizure; sequestration of witnesses; jury instructions; sentencing
After a jury trial, Pedro Rosario was convicted of trafficking in scheduled drugs (Class A). Rosario appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in (1) denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained during a warrantless search of his vehicle, (2) determining that there was no violation of its sequestration order and allowing two witnesses to testify a second time, (3) instructing the jury regarding possession and specific unanimity, and (4) increasing Rosario’s sentence without advance notice to him of the grounds for the increase and based on findings that were not supported by the evidence.
Pat Doe v. Wade Jay
Melissa L. Martin; Richard L. Rhoda; David J. Bobrow
Discovery in protection-from-abuse matters
Pat Doe (a pseudonym) filed a complaint for a protection-from-abuse order against Wade Jay. Jay served Doe with twenty-five interrogatories and a request for production of documents. Doe filed a motion for a protective order. The trial court ordered Doe to respond to thirteen of Jay’s interrogatories. Doe appeals, arguing that (1) her appeal of the court’s interlocutory order falls within an exception to the final judgment rule and (2) the court erred in authorizing discovery and ordering Doe to respond to some of Jay’s interrogatories.
Russell Black et al. v. Bureau of Parks and Lands et al.
OUI; evidence of reliability of intoxilyzer machine
After a jury trial, Joshua Beeler was convicted of operating under the influence with one prior offense (Class D) and violating a condition of release (Class E). Beeler appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in (1) admitting in evidence the results of an Intoxilyzer breath test despite the State’s failure to offer sufficient evidence, including a live witness, to establish that the test was reliable and (2) denying Beeler’s motion for a mistrial after a trooper testified that he found a “bowl” or “marijuana pipe” in Beeler’s car.
State of Maine v. Derric McLain
Jason Horn; Hunter J. Tzovarras
Trafficking in scheduled drugs; search and seizure; waiver of right to counsel
After a jury trial, Derric McLain was convicted of aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs (Class A) and violating a condition of release (Class E). McLain appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in (1) determining that law enforcement officers had a reasonable articulable suspicion to justify the stop of the vehicle McLain was riding in and denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained during the stop and (2) determining that McLain had waived his right to counsel after being read his Miranda rights and denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained in the interrogation that followed.
Kim Boivin v. Somatex Inc.
James J. MacAdam; Matthew T. Mehalic; Trevor D. Savage
Negligence; negligent infliction of emotional distress
Somatex, Inc., sent two employees to repair a crane in a paper mill that Kim Boivin, an employee of the mill, operated. Over Boivin’s objections, a Somatex employee rode the crane while Boivin operated it. The employee suddenly stood up, was knocked off the crane, landed in front of Boivin, and died. Boivin now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and sued Somatex for damages. The trial court granted Somatex’s motion for summary judgment. Boivin appeals, arguing that the court erred in determining that (1) Boivin had failed to meet her burden as the party opposing summary judgment, (2) Boivin’s injury was emotional and not physical, and that therefore Boivin is precluded from recovery in an action for general negligence, and (3) Boivin is not a direct victim and therefore cannot recover in an action for negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Oral Arguments: Wednesday, May 11, 2022, afternoon at Cumberland County Courthouse, Portland
Murder; voluntariness of statements; jury instructions; causation; sentencing
After a jury trial, Rondon Athayde was convicted of murder. Athayde appeals, arguing that trial court erred in (1) determining that statements that he made to law enforcement while walking them through his home were voluntary and therefore denying his motion suppress the statements; (2) instructing the jury only that the State was required to prove that the victim would not have died but for Athayde’s conduct, and not that the State was required to prove that Athayde’s conduct was sufficient by itself to cause her death; (3) determining that a jury could rationally find that his conduct was sufficient to cause the victim’s death and therefore denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal; and (4) considering the history of domestic violence between Athayde and the victim in determining the basic sentence.
State of Maine v. Joshua Lovell
Johanna L. Gauvrea; Rory A. McNamara
Trafficking in scheduled drugs; search and seizure
After the trial court denied his motion to suppress evidence, Joshua Lovell conditionally pleaded guilty to, and the trial court therefore convicted him of, aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs (Class A), unlawful possession of cocaine (Class C), endangering the welfare of a child (Class D), and violating a condition of release (Class E). Lovell appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by (1) admitting in evidence, in the testimonial hearing on the motion to suppress, out-of-court statements made to police by a train conductor who had witnessed Lovell on a train and found what he believed to be a “crack pipe” where Lovell had been sitting, and (2) determining that a law enforcement officer had an objectively reasonable and articulable suspicion to justify a warrantless seizure of Lovell.