Articles Posted in Maine Supreme Judicial Court

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of foreclosure entered by the superior court in favor of Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, holding that the superior court abused its discretion by admitting into evidence a copy of a notice of default that contained an assertion that it was sent by mail. In answer to a complaint for foreclosure filed by Deutsche Bank, Jesse and Naomi Eddins asserted that the Bank failed to comply with the notice provisions of Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 6111. The matter proceeded to trial. On appeal, the Supreme Judicial Court remanded the matter for entry of judgment for the Eddinses, holding that Deutsche Bank presented no competent evidence that a notice of default was sent to Jesse or that any such notice met the requirements of either section 6111 or the mortgage instrument itself. Therefore, the Bank failed as a matter of law to prove a necessary element of its foreclosure claim, and the Eddinses were entitled to judgment. View "Deutsche Bank National Trust Company v. Eddins" on Justia Law

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The Town of Steuben’s taking of an interest in Rogers Point Road by eminent domain pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 23, 3023 was constitutional because it arose from a public exigency and was for public use. Bayberry Cove Children’s Land Trust filed a complaint challenging the Town’s determinations that the taking of an interest in the road was supported by a public exigency and that the use of the road was public. The superior court affirmed the Town’s decision. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) there was a rational basis in the record to support the Town’s finding of a public exigency; (2) evidence in the record, confirmed by the Trust’s characterization of the public’s right to use the road, definitively established that the interest in the road was taken for a public use; and (3) therefore, the taking was constitutional. View "Bayberry Cove Children's Land Trust v. Town of Steuben" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court in favor of Defendants on Bank’s complaint for a residential foreclosure, thus rejecting Bank’s allegations of error. On appeal, Bank argued that the district court erred in denying Bank’s motion to continue the trial and erred in determining that Bank did not lay a proper foundation for admitting loan servicing records pursuant to the business records exception to the hearsay rule. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding (1) Bank did not lay a proper foundation for admitting the loan servicing records at issue pursuant to the business records exception; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying Bank’s motion for a continuance because Bank did not establish a substantial reason as to why a continuance would further the interests of justice. View "Keybank National Ass’n v. Estate of Eula W. Quint" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court affirming, pursuant to Me. R. Civ. P. 80B, the Town of Wiscasset Planning Board’s approval of Allen and Melissa Cohen’s application to expand a building used for the Cohens’ business and dismissed the appeal of the judgments entered for the Town on Kathleen and Thomas Bryant’s independent claims. After the Planning Board approved the Cohens’ site plan review application, the Bryants appealed. The Board of Appeals denied the Bryants’ appeal. The Bryants appealed the Planning Board’s decision to the superior court pursuant to Rule 80B. They also brought three independent claims - two separate counts alleging that the Town had violated their due process rights by denying them notice and an opportunity to be heard and a third count seeking declaratory relief. The superior court affirmed the Planning Board’s decision on the Braynts’ Rule 80B appeal, entered judgments for the Town on the violation of due process claims, and dismissed the count seeking declaratory relief for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Judicial Court (1) affirmed with respect to the Rule 80B appeal, holding that the Planning Board did not err in approving the Cohens’ application; and (2) dismissed as moot the appeals with respect to the judgments on the independent claims. View "Bryant v. Town of Wiscasset" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the business and consumer docket awarding Plaintiff $66,866 in damages in this action alleging that Plaintiff’s property had been damaged by Emera Maine agents while they rebuilt an electrical transmission line and that Emera had not sufficiently repaired the damage. Plaintiff filed his claims against Emera and its contractor, Hawkeye, LLC, and sought several million dollars in damages. After the trial court entered its judgment, Plaintiff appealed and Emera and Hawkeye cross-appealed. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment as modified, holding (1) the trial court’s findings were not clearly erroneous; (2) the trial court did not err when it determined that Hawkeye did not trespass within the meaning of Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 7551-B; and (3) the court by applying the new version of Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 7552(5) in awarding $20,000 in attorney fees to McLaughlin, and the court’s judgment is hereby modified by reducing the award of attorney fees to $1,433. View "McLaughlin v. Emera Maine" on Justia Law

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In this appeal arising from a foreclosure action, the Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment in favor of Bank on Plaintiffs’ claim for declaratory relief and remanded the case for entry of summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs on that claim. Plaintiffs filed claims against Bank for declaratory and injunctive relief, slander of title, and damages pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 33, 551. The business and consumer docket entered judgment in favor of Bank. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding (1) Plaintiffs’ claims presented a justiciable controversy; (2) the trial court did not err by granting Bank’s motion for summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ section 551 claim or slander-of-title claim; but (3) Plaintiffs were entitled, as a matter of law, to the declaratory relief they sought. View "Pushard v. Bank of America N.A." on Justia 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 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 vacated the judgment of the superior court affirming the Cape Elizabeth Code Enforcement Officer’s (CEO) issuance of a building permit, holding that the CEO’s decision granting the permit lacked sufficient factual findings to permit meaningful review. The owner of property abutting the property at issue appealed the CEO’s grant of the building permit to the Town Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The ZBA affirmed the CEO’s decision. The superior court affirmed. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the superior court’s judgment and remanded the matter, holding that the COE’s grant of the building permit was the operative decision and that decision lacked sufficient factual findings to permit meaningful appellate review. View "Appletree Cottage, LLC v. Town of Cape Elizabeth" on Justia Law

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Rowland Whittet appealed from a superior court judgment granting a permanent injunction and authorizing a special master to proceed with the sale of a parcel of real estate. In this appeal, Daniel Whittet filed a motion for sanctions. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment and imposed a sanction of attorney fees and treble costs, holding (1) Rowland failed to provide transcripts of relevant proceedings to allow for adequate appellate review and made no argument as to why the court erred; and (2) Rowland asserted meritless claims and arguments that have been rejected and effectively delayed enforcement of a previous judgment and wasted time and resources. View "Whittet v. Whittet" on Justia Law