Articles Posted in Maine Supreme Court

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Michael Nadeau, an employee with the Bureau of Insurance, married a manager of a Bureau-regulated entity. The Bureau subsequently discharged Nadeau on the basis that his continued employment at the Bureau while married to a manager of a Bureau-regulated entity violated Me. Rev. Stat. 24, 209(1). Nadeau initiated the grievance process manadated by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). After an arbitration hearing, the arbitrator concluded that the Bureau violated the CBA by discharging Nadeau without just cause and ordered his reinstatement. The Bureau petitioned the superior court seeking to vacate the arbitration award, contending that the award of reinstatement required the Bureau to violate section 209(1), which prohibits the Bureau from employing persons "connected with the management" of Bureau-regulated entities. The superior court reported the case to the Supreme Court. The Court declined to answer the reported question regarding the interpretation of section 209 after finding that the arbitration award did not violate public policy, the arbitrator did not exceed his powers, and the award was not subject to further judicial scrutiny on that basis. Remanded for entry of a judgment confirming the arbitration award. View "Dep't of Prof'l & Fin. Regulation v. State Employees Ass'n" on Justia Law

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First Franklin Financial Corporation and Jason Gardner attended foreclosure mediation. The parties disputed the outcome of the mediation. Gardner argued that the parties reached a binding agreement requiring First Franklin to offer a trial loan modification plan to Gardner and subsequently filed a motion for sanctions. The district court granted the motion and ordered First Franklin to pay monetary sanctions and to enter into a loan modification with Gardner on the terms agreed upon by the parties at foreclosure mediation. First Franklin filed an interlocutory appeal. The Supreme Court granted the appeal and held that the motion court did not err (1) in finding that Gardner and First Franklin entered into a binding agreement requiring First Franklin to offer the loan modification to Gardner; and (2) in finding that First Franklin did not mediate in good faith and in granting Gardner's motion for sanctions. View "First Franklin Fin. Corp. v. Gardner" on Justia Law

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Leete & Lemieux (L&L) filed a four-count complaint against Appellant for failure to pay $10,917 for legal services rendered, plus accrued interest. The district court stayed the action until resolution by a panel of the fee arbitration commission upon a motion by Appellant. A fee arbitration panel determined that Appellant owed L&L the full amount of the unpaid fees charged, plus interest. The district court confirmed the award. Appellant appealed, asserting that the panel and the district court erred in declining to consider his claim that the statute of limitations barred L&L's recovery of fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in confirming the arbitration award, as (1) Defendant could have asserted the statute-of-limitations affirmative defense in his request to stay the matter pending arbitration and asked to have had that issue decided by the court prior to arbitration; and (2) therefore, Appellant was estopped from asserting a statute-of-limitations defense at this stage in the proceedings. View "Leete & Lemieux, P.A. v. Horowitz" on Justia Law

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Leete & Lemieux, P.A. (L&L) provided legal services to James Horowitz and Oxford Aviation, Inc. (collectively, Horowitz) for several years. When L&L stopped receiving payments for its services, it filed a four-count complaint against Horowitz for failure to pay $10,917 for legal services rendered, plus interest. The district court stayed the action until resolution by the fee arbitration commission. A fee arbitration panel determined that Horowitz owed L&L the full amount of the unpaid fees charges plus interest. The district court affirmed the award of the panel. Horowitz appealed, arguing that the court (1) was required to vacate the arbitration award because the panel allegedly determined that it did not have the power to decide whether L&L's claim was time-barred, and (2) erred in confirming the award because it remained within the trial court's authority to decide a statute-of-limitations defense that was not subject to arbitration and was not decided during arbitration. The Supreme Court affirmed because Horowitz did not preserve a statute-of-limitations defense at the proper procedural stage of the proceedings, and therefore, the statute-of-limitations defense was waived. View "Leete & Lemieux, P.A. v. Horowitz" on Justia Law

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This appeal involved six siblings and their mother. The parties participated in mediation that resulted in an agreement, which, among other things, divided Mother's real property. After disputes arose over the agreement, the probate court ordered arbitration pursuant to the agreement's arbitration clause. The arbitrator concluded that the agreement was enforceable and ordered the transfer of land necessary to effectuate it. Four of the sisters (Appellants) and the remaining siblings and mother (Appellees) then filed a series of motions. The superior court confirmed the arbitration award, denied a motion to vacate the award, denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings, and granted a motion to dismiss a complaint for declaratory judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the superior court did not err in affirming the arbitrator's award and in concluding that the arbitrator and that the settlement agreement gave the arbitrator the authority to determine whether the agreement was valid and enforceable. View "Anderson v. Banks" on Justia Law