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.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Cumberland County Courthouse, Portland
 
  9:00 a.m.   Kno-18-240   Edward J. Harshman v. Sheila Harshman
     

Attorneys: Andrews B. Campbell; Sarah Irving Gilbert

The District Court found Edward Harshman in contempt for violating a divorce judgment requiring him to purchase life insurance.  Edward appeals, arguing that the District Court erred in determining that Edward had the ability to comply with the divorce judgment.

 
  9:50 a.m.   Cum-18-98   Hearts with Haiti, Inc., et al. v. Paul Kendrick
     

Attorneys: Russel B. Pierce, Jr.; David A. Goldman; F. David Walker IV; Brent A. Singer; Jonathan P. Hunter

Hearts with Haiti, Inc., et al. filed suit against Paul Kendrick for defamation and additional claims.  Kendrick appeals from orders of the Superior Court denying his motion to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds and his special motion to dismiss under the Anti-SLAPP statute.  Hearts with Haiti et al. filed an untimely notice of appeal from the denial of its motion for partial summary judgment and moved to enlarge the time for their appeal.  The Superior Court denied the motion to enlarge, and Hearts with Haiti et al. appeal from that denial.

 
  10:40 a.m.   Cum-18-137   Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Scott G. Adams
     

Attorneys: Alan P. Kelley; Kent G. Murdick II

Attorney Scott Adams appeals from an order of a Single Justice affirming the Grievance Commission's decision to reprimand rather than admonish Adams for improperly taking a confidential document from the office of a deceased attorney.

 
  11:30 a.m.   Pen-18-13   State of Maine v. Thomas Ferguson
     

Attorneys: Donald W. Macomber; James M. Mason; Justin C. Bonus

Thomas Ferguson was convicted after a bench trial of the murder of one man and the elevated aggravated assault of another. The victims were shot by a fourth man, Robert Hansley, and Ferguson was found guilty as an accomplice.

Ferguson appeals, arguing that (1) the trial court found facts that were not in evidence, (2) there was insufficient evidence to support the finding that Ferguson was Hansley's accomplice, (3) the State committed prosecutorial misconduct by allowing the surviving victim to testify falsely, (4) the trial court erred in admitting the in-court identification of Ferguson by two witnesses, and (5) the trial court erred by admitting various other evidence.

 
  1:30 p.m.   Yor-18-211   York County et al. v. PropertyInfo Corporation, Inc.
     

Attorneys: Gene R. Libby; Keith P. Richard; Andrew W. Sparks; William J. Kennedy

The Superior Court entered summary judgment for PropertyInfo Corporation, Inc., finding that York County's breach of contract claims were barred by the statute of limitations. York County appeals, arguing that the Superior Court erred because (1) there is a genuine issue of material fact as to the accrual date of the causes of action for failure to fulfill the contract and (2) PropertyInfo should be equitably estopped from asserting the statute of limitations as a defense.

 
  2:20 p.m.   Han-18-196   John Sweet v. Carl Breivogel et al.
     

Attorneys: Daniel A. Pileggi; Christopher E. Pazar; William J. Kennedy

Sweet, a contractor, and the Breivogels, landowners who hired Sweet to build them a home, brought claims against each other on an unwritten construction contract. The trial court found in favor of the Breivogels on one count and awarded them attorney fees. The Breivogels appeal, arguing that (1) the trial court erred in its determination of attorney fees, (2) there was sufficient evidence to find that Sweet had committed fraud and negligent misrepresentation and had breached the contract, and (3) they were entitled to additional damages under the Home Construction Contracts Act.

 
  3:10 p.m.   And-18-181   State of Maine v. Dwain A. Sykes
     

Attorneys: Patricia A. Mador; Jesse James Ian Archer

After a jury trial, Dwain Sykes was convicted of domestic violence assault (Class D). Sykes appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in (1) considering and granting the State's motion in limine to allow use of a 911 call recording filed on the morning of trial and (2) allowing evidence of a 911 call as an excited utterance in violation of the confrontation clause of the Constitution.

 


Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Cumberland County Courthouse, Portland
 
  9:00 a.m.   Was-18-180   In re Child of Radience K.
     

Attorneys: Randy G. Day; Laura P. Shaw; Meghan Szylvian; Carolyn Adams

The mother and father of a child appeal from an order terminating their parental rights to the child. The parents argue that the evidence was insufficient to support the order terminating their parental rights. The father also argues that the trial court erred in (1) denying his motion to transfer the matter to a tribal court under the Indian Child Welfare Act and (2) denying his motion for relief from judgment alleging ineffective assistance of counsel.

 
  9:50 a.m.   Pen-18-170   State of Maine v. Philip S. Fournier
     

Attorneys: Leane Zainea; Leanne Robbin; Rory A. McNamara

After a bench trial, Philip Fournier was convicted of intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder. Fournier appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in (1) excluding evidence of an alternative suspect, (2) excluding testimony regarding why a detective did not arrest Fournier after his statements to police, (3) determining that the defendant waived his privilege for statements made to his pastor, and (4) finding the time that Fournier was at a party on the night of the murder.

 
  10:40 a.m.   Pen-18-11   Jay K. Gould v. State of Maine
     

Attorneys: Rory A. McNamara; Mark A. Rucci

After Jay Gould admitted to violating the terms of his probation, his probation was revoked. Gould petitioned for post-conviction review, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court summarily dismissed the petition, and Gould appeals, arguing that this Court should recognize a right to the effective assistance of counsel at probation revocation hearings.

 
  11:30 a.m.   Aro-18-257   Jonathan Petgrave v. State of Maine
     

Attorneys: David Paris; Mark A. Rucci

After Jonathan Petgrave was found to have violated his probation and his probation was revoked, Petgrave petitioned for post-conviction review, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court summarily dismissed the petition, and Petgrave appeals, arguing that this Court should recognize a right to the effective assistance of counsel at probation revocation hearings.

 
  1:45 p.m.   Pen-18-189   State of Maine v. Amanda Bennett-Roberson
     

Attorneys: Mark A. Rucci; Tina Heather Nadeau

Responding to a report that an intoxicated man was getting in and out of the driver's side of a parked vehicle, an officer stopped the vehicle, but found the driver to be a woman: the defendant, Amanda Bennett-Roberson. Bennett-Roberson was charged with OUI (Class D) and Operating a Motor Vehicle Without A License (Class E). The trial court granted Bennett-Roberson's motion to suppress the evidence obtained at the traffic stop, finding that the officer's interaction with Bennett-Roberson did not give rise to a reasonable articulable basis upon which to instruct her to exit the vehicle. The State appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in concluding that an officer with reasonable articulable suspicion to stop a vehicle must terminate the stop "upon learning that the operator is not the person who gave rise to the reasonable articulable suspicion for the stop."

 
  2:35 p.m.   Som-18-217   Sherwood Associates LP v. Olanian Jackson
     

Attorneys: Aaron K. Baltes; Jed Davis

Sherwood Associates LP sought to evict Olanian Jackson from its apartment building based on his possession, growing, and smoking of marijuana in his apartment. In June of 2017, the District Court issued a judgment in favor of Sherwood Associates LP. Jackson appealed the eviction to the Superior Court, which affirmed the judgment. Jackson appeals again, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to establish grounds for termination of the lease, particularly in light of the facts that marijuana is not illegal in Maine and Jackson possesses a medical marijuana card.

 
  3:25 p.m.   Yor-18-103   Littlebrook Airpark Condominium Association v. Sweet Peas, LLC, et al.
     

Attorneys: Gene R. Libby; Tyler J. Smith; James A. Hopkinson; Gerald B. Schofield

The trial court granted Littlebrook Airpark Condominium Association's motion for summary judgment and declared that an amendment to the condominium declaration and addendum to a lease are valid and enforceable. Sweet Peas, LLC, and Jean Hardy appeal, arguing that the trial court erred as a matter of law and that the lease amendment is unenforceable as against public policy. The Association cross-appeals, arguing that the applicable statutes of limitations preclude a challenge to the lease amendments.