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In re Estate of Gray

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

October 30, 2014

ESTATE OF MARGARET C. GRAY

Submitted on Briefs September 23, 2014.

Marvin H. Glazier, Esq., Vafiades, Brountas & Kominsky, LLP, Bangor, for appellant Elizabeth Tasker.

Joel A. Dearborn, Esq., Joel A. Dearborn, Sr., Esq., P.A., Brewer, for the Estate of Margaret C. Gray.

Bryan M. Chabot, Esq., Scaccia, Bartlett & Chabot, Sanford, for appellee Ernest L. Gray III.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, SILVER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.

OPINION

Page 213

GORMAN, J.

[¶1] Elizabeth Tasker appeals from a judgment of the Penobscot County Probate Court ( Bradford, M.R., J.) dismissing her claim against the estate of her mother, Margaret C. Gray. Elizabeth contends that the usual time limitations for a claim against an estate established in 18-A M.R.S. § 3-803(b) (2013) do not apply to a claim for unjust enrichment. We disagree and affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] The facts of this case were thoroughly discussed in our prior decision concerning this dispute. Estate of Gray, 2013 ME 29, ¶ ¶ 2-6, 61 A.3d 747. When Margaret C. Gray died on June 25, 2007, her will devised her estate in equal shares to Ernest L. Gray III and Elizabeth Tasker, her surviving children. Id. ¶ 2. Margaret's estate consisted of three parcels of real property located in Maine. Id.

[¶3] On April 28, 2010, almost three years after her mother's death, Elizabeth filed Margaret's will in the Penobscot County Probate Court and petitioned for appointment as the personal representative of the estate. Id. ¶ 4. After Ernest objected to Elizabeth's appointment, the court appointed Attorney Joel A. Dearborn Sr. as personal representative of the estate. Id.

[¶4] On January 19, 2011, Elizabeth filed a claim against the estate for $40,871.25 seeking reimbursement for mortgage, property tax, electricity, and heating payments she made to maintain her mother's properties since 2007. Id. ¶ ¶ 3, 5. When Ernest objected to the claim, Dearborn petitioned the court for instructions. Id. ¶ ¶ 5, 6.

[¶5] During the May 14, 2012, hearing on her claim, Elizabeth presented evidence of the payments she had made from 2007 to 2012 for expenses relating to the estate's three properties. She argued that her claims were not barred by the statute of limitations found in 18-A M.R.S. § 3-803(b) or, in the alternative, that she was entitled to recover under a theory of unjust enrichment. On June 21, 2012, the court ( Woodcock, J.) found that Elizabeth's claim was not barred by the statute of limitations and ordered that the estate pay Elizabeth $45,419.46. Id. ¶ 6.

[¶6] Ernest appealed that judgment and, on March 12, 2013, we concluded that the Probate Court erred by applying to Elizabeth's claim the statute of limitations for claims arising before the death of the decedent. Id. ¶ ¶ 9, 11. We remanded the case with instructions to apply 18-A M.R.S. § 3-803(b) (2013), which applies to claims arising after the decedent's death, and to consider " all claims and defenses that are ...


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