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Daniel G. Lilley Law Office, P.A. v. Flynn

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

October 20, 2015

DANIEL G. LILLEY LAW OFFICE, P.A. et al.
v.
JOHN P. FLYNN III

Argued September 17, 2015.

Judgment vacated. Remanded with instructions to grant Daniel G. Lilley Law Office, P.A.'s motion to consolidate.

On the briefs: Mark V. Franco, Esq., and Jason P. Donovan, Esq., Thompson & Bowie, LLP, Portland, for appellant John P. Flynn III.

Walter F. McKee, Esq., and Matthew D. Morgan, Esq., McKee Billings, P.A., Augusta, for cross-appellant Daniel G. Lilley Law Office, P.A., et al.

At oral argument: Mark V. Franco, Esq., for appellant John P. Flynn III.

Walter F. McKee, Esq., for cross-appellant Daniel G. Lilley Law Office, P.A., et al.

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

OPINION

MEAD, J.

[¶1] John P. Flynn III appeals, and Daniel G. Lilley Law Office, P.A. (LLO) and Daniel G. Lilley cross-appeal,[1] from an

Page 937

amended civil judgment entered in the Superior Court (Cumberland County, Cole, J. ) following a jury trial. In accordance with the jury's verdict, the judgment awarded Flynn unpaid salary from his tenure at LLO and apportioned attorney fees between the parties in cases that Flynn brought to LLO from his former law firm.

[¶2] Flynn contends that the court erred by (1) amending its judgment, (2) submitting certain questions concerning the parties' employment agreement to the jury, and (3) declining his request to order LLO to turn over financial records in discovery. He also asserts that the jury's findings concerning fee division and the question of which party breached the employment agreement were unsupported by the evidence. LLO contends that the court was required as a matter of law to rule in its favor on Flynn's claim for unpaid salary, and that in one of the disputed cases Flynn accepted $50,000 as an accord and satisfaction and was therefore entitled to no more.

[¶3] We conclude that the court ( Wheeler, J. ) abused its discretion in declining to consolidate this case with the closely-related cases at issue in Tucker v. Lilley, 2015 ME 36, 114 A.3d 201, as both parties urged it to do. For that reason, we vacate the amended judgment and remand with instructions to grant LLO's motion to consolidate.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶4] The facts are not disputed. As the Superior Court noted in its order on the parties' motions for summary judgment, " [b]roadly speaking, this case arises from an employment relationship that went entirely awry."

[¶5] Flynn and Lilley are both practicing Maine attorneys. Tucker, 2015 ME 36, ¶ 2, 114 A.3d 201. In February 2009, Flynn left the law firm of Troubh Heisler (Troubh) to join LLO. Id. ¶ 4. Flynn and Lilley entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning the terms of Flynn's employment at LLO. Nineteen days later, Flynn, LLO, and Troubh entered into a Memorandum of Agreement ...


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