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Hall v. Hall

Superior Court of Maine, York

August 11, 2014

BONNIE F. HALL, Plaintiff,
v.
JONATHAN S. HALL, Defendant

ORDER

John O'Neil, Justice, Superior Court.

Before the court are the following motions: Plaintiff's Motion to Waive Alternative Dispute Resolution, Plaintiff's Motion for a Protective Order, Plaintiff's Motion to Consolidate, and Defendants Motion to Dismiss and for Judgment on the Pleadings.

I. Plaintiff's Motion to Waive Alternative Dispute Resolution

Plaintiff moves the court to waive ADR on the basis that the parties have already participated in ADR two times, Plaintiff does not believe further mediation will facilitate any agreement, and Plaintiff believes that the only purpose mediation would serve would be to increase attorney fees. Defendant argues that ADR could be successful. Considering the two unsuccessful attempts, the court grants Plaintiff's Motion. The court will attempt to schedule a judicially assisted settlement conference in lieu of ADR.

II. Plaintiff's Motion for Protective Order

Plaintiff moves the court for protective order limiting discovery to paper discovery with the exception of the deposition allowed in the companion action, CV-11-271. The Court has allowed four hours of deposition to be taken of Bonnie Hall in CV-11-271. Defendant contends that the actions are not so similar that Defendant could collect all necessary detail about both actions in the four hours allowed in CV-11-271. The court grants Plaintiff's Motion for Protective Order, however, the court allows four hours of deposition by Defendant of Plaintiff Bonnie Hall on the issues underlying CV-14-37. After consolidation, the court permits Defendant to take eight total hours of deposition of Plaintiff Bonnie.

III. Plaintiff's Motion to Consolidate

Plaintiff moves the court to consolidate the current action, an interference with expectancy claim against her brother, Jonathan Hall; with CV-11-271, an interference with expectancy claim brought by Jonathan against Bonnie and their brother Jeffrey Hall. Jeffrey assents to the motion. Plaintiff asserts that there are common questions of law and fact in both actions. Plaintiff asserts that consolidation will avoid duplication of discovery or trial efforts and will not cause prejudice. Because the foundational facts of the family dynamics will be the same in the two cases, and in the interest of judicial economy, the court grants Plaintiff's Motion to Consolidate. See M.R. Civ. P. 42.

IV. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and for Judgment on the Pleadings

Defendant moves the court to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. Defendant argues that the claims against Defendant, a New Hampshire resident, are of undue influence in Massachusetts, and that there are no assertions of wrongful acts in Maine.

On a motion to dismiss, the court must take the facts as pled in the complaint to be true.

In order for Maine to exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant, due process requires that (1) Maine have a legitimate interest in the subject matter of this litigation; (2) the defendant, by his conduct, reasonably could have anticipated litigation in Maine; and (3) the exercise of jurisdiction by Maine's courts comports with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

Murphy v. Keenan, 667 A.2d 591, 593 (Me. 1995) (citing Interstate Food Processing Corp., 622 A.2d at 1191; Harriman v. Demoulas Supermarkets, Inc., 518 A.2d 1035, 1036 (Me.1986); Foreside Common Dev. Corp. v. Bleisch, 463 A.2d 767, 769 (Me.1983)). The burden is on the plaintiff to demonstrate that the first two conditions are met, and then the burden shifts to the defendant to demonstrate that the exercise of jurisdiction would fail to comport with fair play and substantial justice. Commerce Bank & Trust Co. v. Dworman, 2004 ME 142, ¶ 14, 861 A.2d 662. The Plaintiff must meet its burden using " specific facts in the record, " but the court will interpret the record in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Bickford v. Onslow Mem'l Hosp. Found., Inc., 2004 ME 111');"> 2004 ME 111, ¶ 10, 855 A.2d 1150, 1155. When, as in this instance, the court decides the jurisdiction question simply on the affidavits and pleading of the parties, the plaintiff only needs to make a prima facie showing of jurisdiction. Dorf v. Complastik Corp., 1999 ME 133, ¶ 14, 735 A.2d 984.

To determine whether personal jurisdiction may be exercised, the court will apply the minimum contacts requirement as enunciated in International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945). See Dworman , 2004 ME 142, ¶ 14, 861 A.2d 662. The Supreme Court has held that " For a State to exercise jurisdiction consistent with due process, the defendant's suit related conduct must create a substantial connection with the forum state." Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1121 (2014). The Court specified that the relationship between the Defendant and the forum State " must arise out of contacts that the 'defendant himself ' creates with the forum State . . ., " and the court's analysis must examine " the defendant's contacts with the forum State itself, not the defendant's contacts ...


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