Supreme Court Oral Argument Schedule & Summaries


Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Sitting as the Law Court

Caution: This schedule is subject to change. The case synopses are prepared for the convenience of the public and are not to be construed as statements of the court.

Audio stream of oral arguments available.

As a service to the public, the Supreme Judicial Court provides live streaming of its oral arguments, and streaming of recordings of oral arguments for approximately two weeks after the week of arguments. To listen, go to our streaming page.

 

March 2017 Session
Cumberland County Courthouse, Portland

Thursday, March 2, 2017
 
  10:00 a.m.   Cum-16-371   State of Maine v. Gary Mariner
     

Attorneys: Jonathan T. Sahrbeck, Megan Elam, Neale A. Duffett

Gary Mariner stands charged with gross sexual assault (Class A) and impersonating a public servant (Class E). The court granted Mariner's motion to suppress evidence seized from his apartment, his car, and his person, finding that the search warrant signed by a District Court judge was not supported by probable cause. The State appeals, arguing that the alleged victim's description of her assailant and the car that he was driving establish sufficient cause to support the warrant.

 
  10:50 a.m.   Pen-16-316   Federal National Mortgage Association v. Patricia W. Deschaine et al.
     

Attorneys: Jeffrey J. Hardiman, Dean J. Wagner, James F. Cloutier

The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) filed a foreclosure action against Patricia and Paul Deschaine. The Superior Court dismissed the action on the ground that it was precluded by the result of a 2011 foreclosure action that was dismissed with prejudice. FNMA appeals, arguing that (1) the dismissal of its 2011 action on procedural grounds did not operate as an adjudication on the merits; (2) FNMA did not accelerate the note merely by bringing the 2011 action; (3) it is inequitable to bar FNMA from foreclosing on the property; and (4) FNMA is therefore not barred from pursuing a second foreclosure action on the subject property.

 
  11:40 a.m.   Cum-16-375   Joyce E. Mitchell v. Alexander S. Krieckhaus
     

Attorneys: Jed Davis, Dori F. Chadbourne

The District Court entered a judgment of divorce between the parties based on the parties' settlement agreement. Because the settlement agreement did not contain a child support worksheet or order, the court determined that the parties were providing substantially equal care for the minor child and applied the "supplemental" support worksheet, resulting in an obligation for Joyce Mitchel to pay child support to Alexander Krieckhaus.

 
  1:30 p.m.   Yor-16-290   State of Maine v. Lee Perry
     

Attorneys: Kathryn Loftus Slattery, Shira S. Burns, Andrea S. Manthorne

Lee Perry was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault (Class B); domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon (Class C); domestic violence assault (Class D); domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon (Class C); and domestic violence assault with the use of a dangerous weapon (Class C). Perry appeals, arguing that the court erred in (1) permitting expert testimony on strangulation; (2) denying his motion to suppress statements that he made upon being awoken in the middle of the night by a police officer who started asking him questions; and (3) imposing consecutive sentences.

 
  2:20 p.m.   Yor-16-289   State of Maine v. Michael J. Siracusa Jr.
     

Attorneys: Anne Marie Pazar, Thomas J. Connolly

Michael J. Siracusa Jr. was convicted of driving deer (Class E) and possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle (Class E). Siracusa appeals, arguing that the court erred in failing to instruct the jury on a mens rea element of the crimes.

 
  3:10 p.m.   Kno-16-308   In re Henry B.
     

Attorneys: N. Paul Gauvreau, Scott F. Hess

The District Court committed Henry B. to involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. Henry B. appealed to the Superior Court, which affirmed the District Court's decision.

Henry B. appeals to the Law Court, arguing that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support the District Court's findings supporting the involuntary hospitalization; (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel at the involuntary commitment hearing; and (3) the order committing him was "insufficient as a matter of law" because it failed to make a finding that the hospital's treatment plan was acceptable to the court.

 
Friday, March 3, 2017
 
  9:00 a.m.       Law School Prize Argument
     

 

 
  9:50 a.m.   Pen-16-96   State of Maine v. Dustin Brown
     

Attorneys: Donald W. Macomber, Jamesa Drake

Dustin Brown was convicted of criminally negligent manslaughter (Class A). Brown appeals, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction, because the court found that the State failed to prove his "exact actions" or "exactly how" the victim died, and found that he "in some fashion" fatally injured the victim.

 
  10:40 a.m.   Ken-16-36   State of Maine v. Roland L. Cummings
     

Attorneys: Donald W. Macomber, Tina Heather Nadeau

Roland Cummings was convicted of murder, burglary of a dwelling (Class B), and theft with priors (Class C). Cummings appeals, arguing that the court erred in instructing the jury on several alternative homicide offenses, namely intentional murder, depraved indifference murder, and criminally negligent manslaughter, claiming that there was insufficient evidence to support any of them.

 
  11:30 a.m.   Pen-16-108   James D. Tobin v. Ellen J.H. Tobin
     

Attorneys: James C. Munch III, Martha J. Harris

Both parties appeal from their divorce judgment. Ellen J.H. Tobin argues that (1) the court's division of martial property was improper; (2) the court did not award her sufficient spousal support; (3) the court should have made the award of child support retroactive to the date the parties separated; (4) the court erred in not requiring James to pay Ellen's attorney fees; and (5) the court erred in not permitting a critical witness, who was unavailable for trial, to be deposed and the deposition transcript entered into evidence. James D. Tobin argues that the court erred in awarding Ellen's membership in an LLC to him because the membership agreement of the LLC prohibits any assignment of a member's interest without the consent of the LLC's managers, and the other manager of the LLC had not consented to the assignment.

 
  1:30 p.m.   Pen-16-354   Jane M. Treworgy et al. v. Mary C. Mayhew et al.
     

Attorneys: Cynthia A. Dill, Christopher C. Taub

Jane and John Treworgy sued Mary Mayhew, the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and an Adult Protective Services (APS) caseworker in federal court, alleging that APS unlawfully obtained a guardianship of Paul Treworgy by falsely claiming that Jane and John had neglected his care, and that APS let Paul die alone and in a dirty environment. The federal court dismissed the claims against Mayhew, concluding that Jane and John had not pled a cause of action against Mayhew, and dismissed without prejudice the claims against the APS caseworker because she had not been served.

Jane and John then sued Mayhew, the caseworker, and a second caseworker in Superior Court based on the same set of facts. The Superior Court dismissed those claims, concluding that they were barred by res judicata principles because the caseworkers were in privity with Mayhew and the federal court had resolved the claims.

John and Jane appeal, arguing that the Superior Court erred in determining that the state-court claims against Mayhew could have been brought in federal court and that the caseworkers were in privity with Mayhew.

 
  2:20 p.m.   Oxf-16-438   Amy L. Canney v. Strathglass Holdings, LLC
     

Attorneys: William C. Herbert, James B. Haddow

ric Burns rents an apartment from Strathglass Holdings and performs "handyman" work and management tasks for Strathglass in the apartment complex. Burns's dog bit a neighbor's child when the child was visiting to swim in Burns's pool. The child sued Burns and Strathglass. The Superior Court entered a summary judgment for Strathglass, concluding that Burns was not acting in the scope of his employment when the dog bit the child.

 
  3:10 p.m.   Kno-16-460   Edward J. Harshman v. Sheila C. Harshman
     

Attorneys: Stephen T. Hayes, Sarah Irving Gilbert

The District Court entered a judgment of divorce between the parties. Edward Harshman appeals, arguing that the District Court erred in (1) imputing to him an earning capacity higher than any sum he actually earned at any time during the marriage; (2) characterizing discretionary distributions from his parents' trust as "income from an on-going source"; (3) excluding financial statements of his parents' trust as a sanction for a discovery violation even though Sheila Harshman's expert and the court relied on conclusions from those documents; (4) failing to attribute any income to Sheila from her "millions of dollars of . . . assets"; and (5) ordering him to pay attorney fees to Sheila.