Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Champagne v. Phenix Title Services, LLC

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

December 10, 2014

LAURIE L. CHAMPAGNE And CHAMP, INC., Plaintiffs
v.
PHENIX TITLE SERVICES, LLC, Defendant

ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS OR FOR JOINDER OF PARTIES

Nancy Mills Justice, Superior Court

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural Posture

In their complaint, plaintiffs Laurie L. Champagne and Champ, Inc. seek declaratory relief and damages against defendant Phenix Title Services, LLC arising out of a real estate transaction. Plaintiffs allege the following claims: count I: declaratory judgment; count II: negligent misrepresentation; count III: conversion; and count IV: passing bad checks. Before the court is defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(7) for failure to join necessary parties under M.R. Civ, P. 19 or, in the alternative, a motion to join those parties. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss is denied and the motion to join is granted as to William G. Silber and denied as to Tony Langdon.

B. Facts [1]

Plaintiff Laurie Champagne is an individual and plaintiff Champ, Inc. is a Maine corporation. (Compl ¶¶ 2-3.) Defendant Phenix Title Services, LLC is a foreign limited liability company with an office in Portland, Maine. (Compl 4.)

Plaintiff Champagne provided services pertaining to the sale of a house in Falmouth, Maine and plaintiff Champ, Inc. spent money to prepare and maintain the house for sale. (Compl. ¶ 5.) The closing took place on March 21, 2014. At the closing, defendant issued two checks, one for $2, 468.76 to plaintiff Champagne, and the other for $35, 075.41 to plaintiff Champ, Inc. (Compl. ¶6.)

Five days later, defendant stopped payment on the checks because of a real estate title encumbrance on the property. (Compl. ¶ 7.) Plaintiffs made several demands for defendant to honor the checks but defendant refused. (Compl. ¶ 8.) On May 28, 2014, plaintiffs delivered to defendant's attorney a written Notice for Nonpayment pursuant to 14 M.R.S. § 6073 (2013). (Compl. ¶ 9.) On June 25, 2014, plaintiffs delivered a letter to defendant's attorney, in which plaintiffs requested an accounting from defendant. (Compl. ¶ 10.) Defendant did not provide the accounting and stated it was holding $47, 782.31 as a trustee in a separate matter in the Maine Superior Court, Katahdin Trust Company v. William G. Silber et al, CARSC-RE-14-09. (Compl. ¶ 10.)

II. DISCUSSION

A. Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(7) and Rule 19 Standard

Defendant contends William G. Silber, the seller of the Falmouth property, and Tony Langdon, the auctioneer who conducted the sale, are necessary parties under M.R. Civ. P. 19. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss 1, 9.) Rule 19 requires joinder of parties subject to service of process and deemed necessary by reference to the following:

[I]f (1) in the person's absence complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties, or (2) the person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that the disposition of the action in the person's absence may (i) as a practical matter impair or impede the person's ability to protect that interest or (ii) leave any of the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of the claimed interest.

M.R. Civ. P. 19(a). Joinder under Rule 19 "protects] those who already are parties by requiring the presence of all persons who have an interest in the litigation so that any relief that may be awarded will effectively and completely adjudicate the dispute." Peoples Heritage Bank v. Grover, 609 A.2d 715, 716 (Me. 1992) (citations omitted). The rule protects the present parties by ensuring that "issues will not have to be relitigated, " and avoids prejudice to unjoined but interested parties. Ocwen Fed. Bank, FSB v. Gile, 2001 ME 120, ¶ 14, 777 A.2d 275 (citations omitted).

Dismissal under Rule 19(b) is discretionary, [2] and appropriate only when joinder of parties deemed necessary is not possible. Larrabee v. Town of Knox, 2000 ME 15, ¶ 11, 744 A.2d 544; see also Grover, 609 A.2d at 716 n.1 (noting dismissal is proper under Rule 19(b) where absent parties are "indispensable" to the action and cannot be joined). If, however, a necessary party can be ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.