Articles Posted in Maine Supreme Judicial Court

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the the district court granting summary judgment in favor of MaineStream Finance on Jacob Berry’s complaint seeking the return of a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, holding that summary judgment was improper on the facts of this case. In 2016, MaineStream filed an action against Dwight Moody, Berry’s uncle, to repossess two race cars - including the car called “Outlaw" - that Moody had pledged as collateral in a security agreement. The court found that Moody was the owner of Outlaw and entered a final judgment. In 2017, Berry brought this action against MaineStream, alleging that MaineStream wrongfully seized his 2016 Chevrolet Camaro. The district court granted MaineStream’s motion for summary judgment based on MaineStream’s assertion that, in the 2016 action, the court determined that Moody owned the car and that Berry was barred from seeking relief pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment, holding that summary judgment was improper because the record did not establish that Outlaw was the same vehicle was the one that was at issue in the instant case. View "Berry v. Mainstream Finance" on Justia Law

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Me. Rev. Stat. 17-A, 1112 is facially constitutional, and, in the instant case, the trial court’s admission of a lab certificate in lieu of live witness testimony pursuant to that statute was not a violation of Defendant’s right of confrontation. Defendant appealed from a judgment, entered after a jury trial, convicting her of unlawful trafficking of a schedule W drug. At issue was whether the trial court’s admission of a lab certificate identifying a substance exchanged in a controlled purchase as methamphetamine. The court admitted the lab certificate in lieu of the testimony of the chemist pursuant to section 1112. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 1112 is facially constitutional; (2) Defendant’s failure to timely demand a live witness pursuant to section 1112 effected a voluntary, knowing, and intentional waiver of her Confrontation Clause rights; and (3) therefore, the trial court did not err in allowing into admission the chemist’s certificate in lieu of live testimony. View "State v. Jones" on Justia Law

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Midland Funding LLC filed suit against Mark Walton alleging that he had entered into a credit card agreement with Barclays Bank Delaware, used the card to obtain extensions of credit, and failed to make payments on the account. Midland purchases debt from Barclays. Midland sought to collect an outstanding balance of $5,684.72. After a trial, the district court entered judgment in favor of Midland in the amount of $5,684.72, plus costs. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment, holding (1) jurisdiction over this matter was properly established in the district court; and (2) the district court did not err in admitting documentation of the assignment of Walton’s debt from Barclays to Midland pursuant to the business record exception to the hearsay rule. View "Midland Funding LLC v. Walton" on Justia Law

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FIA Card Services, N.A. initiated this action against John Camire to recover damages arising out of a debt incurred using a Bank of America (Bank) credit card. Camire filed a counterclaim pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Upon the motion of FIA Card Services, the trial court dismissed Camire’s counterclaim, concluding that FIA Card Services was exempt from liability pursuant to the FDCPA. The Bank was later substituted as the plaintiff. After a trial, the court entered a judgment in favor of the Bank in the amount of $11,573 plus costs. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment in favor of the Bank but vacated the order dismissing Camire’s FDCPA counterclaim, holding (1) the trial court properly exercised its discretion in managing trial time, and no due process violation occurred; and (2) the trial court erred in concluding that FIA Card Services was exempt from the FDCPA as a matter of law. Remanded. View "Bank of America, N.A. v. Camire" on Justia Law

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Camden National Bank filed a complaint for foreclosure against Ilene Weintraub. Weintraub brought several counterclaims against the bank, including violations of the Maine Consumer Credit Code, breach of contract, and a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, alleging that she suffered injuries as a direct and proximate result of the abuse conduct of the Bank’s collections department and an accusation of criminal conduct. The Bank filed a special motion to dismiss requesting dismissal of several claims based on Maine’s anti-SLAPP statute, but failing to request dismissal of the breach of contract claim. The superior court concluded that the anti-SLAPP statute prohibits selective dismissal of claims and that Weintraub met her burden of demonstrating a prima facie case of actual injury and causation. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the trial court (1) erred in holding that the anti-SLAPP statute did not allow for selective dismissal of some, but not all, of Weintraub’s counterclaims, but the error was harmless; and (2) did not err in concluding that Weintraub met her burden of showing prima facie evidence of causation. View "Camden Nat’l Bank v. Weintraub" on Justia Law