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Murdock v. Castigliola

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

January 22, 2015

ARTHUR MURDOCK, Plaintiff
v.
ANGELO CASTIGLIOLA III, et al Defendants

ORDER

Thomas D. Warren Justice, Superior Court

Before the court are motions for summary judgment filed by defendants Martin Thorne and the Maine Department of Public Safety. Thorne and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) are two of the four defendants who have been sued in this action by plaintiff Arthur Murdock.

Murdock alleges in count I of the complaint that defendant Angelo Castigliola is liable as the driver of a vehicle that collided with Murdock's vehicle on Skyway Drive in Portland on January 26, 2010. At the time of the accident Murdock was a Lieutenant in the State Police driving a state police cruiser.

In count II of the complaint Murdock alleges that defendant Thorne is liable based on his alleged negligence in signaling that Murdock could make a left turn in front of Thorne's vehicle before the collision.

In count III of the complaint Murdock makes an under-insured motorist claim against DPS, alleging that the liability of Castigliola and Thorne is likely to exceed their coverage limits and that DPS, which self-insures its employees, is required to provide under-insured motorist coverage as part of its self-insurance.

In count IV of the complaint Murdock makes a second under-insured motorist claim against defendant Patrons Oxford Insurance Company, his own insurance carrier.

The motions before the court address only counts II and III of the complaint.[1]

Summary Judgment

Summary judgment should be granted if there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court is required to consider only the portions of the record referred to and the material facts set forth in the parties' Rule 56(h) statements. Kg., Johnson v. McNeil, 2002 ME 99 ¶ 8, 800 A.2d 702. The facts must be considered in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id. Thus, for purposes of summary judgment, any factual disputes must be resolved against the movant. Nevertheless, when the facts offered by a party in opposition to summary judgment would not, if offered at trial, be sufficient to withstand a motion for judgment as a matter of law, summary judgment should be granted. Rodrigue v. Rodrigue, 1997 ME 99 8, 694 A.2d 924.

I. MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BY DEFENDANT THORNE

Undisputed Facts

1. The following facts are undisputed. See Thorne SMF dated September 24, 2014 ¶¶ 2-10 (admitted):

On January 26, 2010 Lt. Murdock was driving west on Skyway Drive. At the location where the accident occurred, Skyway Drive has two westbound lanes and two eastbound lanes. Lt. Murdock was in the inner westbound lane, intending to make a left turn across the two eastbound lanes into the entrance of the State Police Barracks. His lights and siren were not activated.

Coming in the other direction in the inner eastbound land was Thorne, who saw that the traffic ahead of him was stopping. Thorne made eye contact with Murdock and stopped his vehicle, leaving enough space for Murdock to make a left turn in ...


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