Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Maine Supreme Court
Seacoast RV, Inc. v. Sawdran, LLC
Prime Motor Cars sold Seacoast RV, Inc. a car. The car had modifications that voided the manufacturer's warranty and caused mechanical problems that may not have been apparent when the car was sold because the "check engine" light was covered with opaque tape. Seacoast filed a complaint against Prime, alleging breach of contract, breach of warranty, fraud, violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act (UTPA), and punitive damages. The district court granted Prime's motion for judgment as a matter of law on the UTPA and punitive damages claims. The court then concluded that Prime's conduct constituted breach of contract and breach of warranty, but found against Seacoast on the fraud claim. The court rescinded the contract and ordered Prime to refund Seacoast and Seacoast to return the vehicle to Prime. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its judgment. View "Seacoast RV, Inc. v. Sawdran, LLC" on Justia Law
Wells Fargo Bank, NA v. deBree
Wells Fargo Bank, NA (the Bank) filed a complaint for foreclosure against David and Lee Anne deBree, alleging that the deBrees were in default of a mortgage note owned by the Bank. The complaint also alleged that the Bank was a successor by merger to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. The deBrees denied they were in default and denied the allegation that the Bank was successor to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Bank. At issue on appeal was an affidavit submitted by the Bank in favor of its motion that showed the rights on the note and mortgage were transferred not to Wells Fargo Bank, NA, but rather to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. The Supreme Court vacated the summary judgment and remanded, holding that the Bank failed to offer evidence that it owned the deBrees' mortgage and note, and therefore, it failed to demonstrate that there were no genuine issues of material fact and that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "Wells Fargo Bank, NA v. deBree" on Justia Law
The Bank of Maine v. Hatch
Lewis Hatch signed a promissory note to an institution later renamed to The Bank of Maine. Although Lewis alone signed the note, both Lewis and Kathleen Hatch secured it by mortgaging undeveloped land. The Bank subsequently filed a foreclosure complaint, and later filed a motion for summary judgment. In support of its motion, the Bank relied on an affidavit of its own employee. The superior court entered summary judgment in favor of the Bank. The Hatches appealed, challenging the foundation presented by the Bank to support the admissibility of its mortgage records pursuant to the business records exception to the hearsay rule. The Supreme Court affirmed the summary judgment, holding that court did not abuse its discretion in considering the evidence, as the affidavit was sufficient to support the foundational facts required for the admissibility of the Bank's business records. View "The Bank of Maine v. Hatch" on Justia Law
Pelletier v. Pelletier
John and Paul Pelletier formed St. Sauveur Development in the 1970s and transferred title of several jointly-owned properties to the corporation. In 2002, an appraiser appraised the corporation's property holdings. After the appraisal, the brothers agreed to divide the properties and how they would be divided, with the understanding that John would make a cash payment to Paul to equalize the division. In 2004, John began making payments to Paul. In 2005, the brothers received an analysis from Paul's accountant that they agreed on the actual amount of Paul's payment and to the payment terms, including the interest rate. Paul subsequently filed a complaint for dissolution and other relief. The business and consumer docket determined and divided John's and Paul's interests in St. Sauveur, concluding that the parties had entered into an enforceable agreement in 2002. The Supreme Court vacated in part, holding (1) the agreement regarding interest was reached in 2005, and therefore, the court's determination that interest should accrue from the date of the 2002 appraisal was error; and (2) the court did not err in failing to find that a check from St. Sauveur that Paul negotiated in 2009 gave rise to an accord and satisfaction. Remanded. View "Pelletier v. Pelletier" on Justia Law
Arrow Fin. Servs., LLC v. Guiliani
Arrow Financial Services filed a complaint against Sarah Guiliani alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Arrow then filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to establish that Arrow owned a credit card account registered to Guiliani and that Guiliani owed an unpaid balance of $5044 on the account. In support of its motion, Arrow asserted in an affidavit that it was the assignee of Guiliani's credit card account with Washington Mutural. The district court granted Arrow's motion and awarded Arrow $3493, plus interest and court costs. The Supreme Court vacated the district court's judgment, holding that the district court incorrectly granted summary judgment in favor of Arrow because disputes remained as to material facts regarding the balance due on the account and its assignment to Arrow. View "Arrow Fin. Servs., LLC v. Guiliani" on Justia Law
Reliable Copy Serv., Inc. v. Liberty
Liberty Group (Liberty) retained Reliable Copy Service (Reliable) to provide services in connection with litigation. Later, Reliable filed a complaint in a Pennsylvania court of common pleas in an effort to collect on the sums owed. The Pennsylvania court subsequently entered a default judgment against Liberty. Following the end of the litigation in the Pennsylvania court, a Maine superior court entered a judgment in favor of Reliable and issued a writ of execution at Reliable's request. Liberty filed a motion for relief from judgment, arguing that the Pennsylvania default judgment was not enforceable in Maine because the Pennsylvania default judgment was void. The superior court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Pennsylvania judgment suffered from no jurisdiction defect or due process impediment that would render it void pursuant to Me. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(4); and (2) Liberty's procedural due process rights were not violated when Reliable requested and received from the Pennsylvania court an increased damages award. View "Reliable Copy Serv., Inc. v. Liberty" on Justia Law
Federal Nat’l Mortgage Ass’n v. Bradbury
Fannie Mae instituted foreclosure proceedings against Nicolle Bradbury for residential property she owed in Maine. Fannie Mae named GMAC Mortgage, the loan servicer, as a party-in-interest. During a deposition, a GMAC employee testified that he did not read the affidavits he signed or execute the affidavits before a notary. Fannie Mae subsequently filed a motion for a protective order to prevent the public disclosure of the deposition, which the district court denied. The district court ultimately dismissed without prejudice the complaint after finding Fannie Mae submitted a bad faith affidavit for purposes of summary judgment. As sanctions, the court ordered Fannie Mae to pay Bradbury for the attorney fees and costs she incurred in demonstrating the bad faith of the affidavit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in (1) declining to find GMAC in contempt even though the affidavit was executed by a GMAC employee; and (2) failing to award Bradbury attorney fees and costs in defending against the motion for a protective order. View "Federal Nat'l Mortgage Ass'n v. Bradbury" on Justia Law
Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. v. Pelletier
Deutsche Bank, the holder of a note and mortgage on the Pelletiers' home, filed a complaint for foreclosure against the Pelletiers. The Pelletiers filed a motion to dismiss and asserted affirmative defenses through which they sought rescission as a remedy. The district court entered summary judgment for the Pelletiers, ruling that, because the bank offered no evidence to oppose the facts offered by the Pelletiers in support of rescission, and because the evidence offered by the Pelletiers established that they had timely notified the bank of their rescission right, they were entitled to judgment on their demand for rescission as a matter of law. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court but remanded for further proceedings to determine how the rescission should be effectuated.
Town of Blue Hill v. Leighton
After Dorothy Leighton failed to pay taxes on her property and the Town of Blue Hill recorded a tax collector's lien certificate on the property, the Town filed a complaint against Leighton for forcible entry and detainer (FED), seeking possession of the property and costs. The district court entered judgment in Leighton's favor. The superior court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded with instructions to issue a writ of possession in favor of the Town. On appeal, Leighton contended that the Town was required, as a matter of law, to prove that it held current title to the property in the FED action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the Town produced evidence that it held title superior to Leighton by virtue of the statutorily-foreclosed tax lien mortgage on the property, the Town presented sufficient evidence that it was entitled to possession of the property.
HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Gabay
Janelle Gabay defaulted on a promissory note secured by a mortgage of her real property. HSBC Bank USA, the holder of the mortgage, filed a complaint for foreclosure and sale against Gabay. The district court granted HSBC's motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the district court, holding that entry of judgment as a matter of law was precluded where (1) HSBC's statement of material facts failed to properly present proof of ownership of the mortgage note; (2) HSBC's statement of material facts did not contain an adequate description of the mortgaged premises including a street address; (3) a genuine issue of material fact existed as to the order of priority and amounts due to other parties-in-interest; and (4) the amount of costs due as part of the amount due on the mortgage was not included in the summary judgment record as required. Remanded.