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Marshall v. Town of Dexter

Supreme Court of Maine

October 22, 2015

GERALD MARSHALL
v.
TOWN OF DEXTER

Argued: June 18, 2015

Reporter of Decisions

On the briefs:

Erik M. Stumpfel, Esq., and Anthony V. Trask, Esq., Rudman Winchell, Bangor, for appellant Gerald Marshall

Frederick F. Costlow, Esq., and Heidi J. Hart, Esq., Richardson, Whitman, Large & Badger, Bangor, for appellee Town of Dexter

At oral argument:

Erik M. Stumpfel, Esq., for appellant Gerald Marshall

Frederick F. Costlow, Esq., for appellee Town of Dexter

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

SAUFLEY, C.J.

[¶1] Gerald Marshall appeals from a judgment entered in the Superior Court (Penobscot County, Anderson, J.) granting the Town of Dexter's motion to dismiss his civil rights action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Marshall contends that his complaint sufficiently stated a claim for relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (LEXIS through Pub. L. No. 114-51) and 42 U.S.C.S. § 1988 (LEXIS through Pub. L. No. 114-51), and Maine civil rights laws, see 5 M.R.S. §§ 4681-4685 (2014).[1] We affirm the judgment.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

[¶2] When the trial court acts on a motion to dismiss pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), facts are not adjudicated; instead the allegations in the complaint are evaluated to determine if there is "any cause of action that may reasonably be inferred from the complaint." Saunders v. Tisher, 2006 ME 94, ¶ 8, 902 A.2d 830. When reviewing the trial court's dismissal of a complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), we view the facts alleged in the complaint as if they were admitted. Ramsey v. Baxter Title Co., 2012 ME 113, ¶ 2, 54 A.3d 710. We then "examine the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff to determine whether it sets forth elements of a cause of action or alleges facts that would entitle the plaintiff to relief pursuant to some legal theory." Moody v. State Liquor & Lottery Comm'n, 2004 ME 20, ¶ 7, 843 A.2d 43 (quotation marks omitted). We will affirm a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal "only when it appears beyond doubt that a plaintiff is entitled to no relief under any set of facts that he might prove in support of his claim." Bean v. Cummings, 2008 ME 18, ¶ 7, 939 A.2d 676. "The legal sufficiency of a complaint challenged pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) is a question of law" that we review de novo. Id. (quotation marks omitted).

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts Alleged

[ΒΆ3] Based on that standard of review, the facts are drawn from the complaint and its attachments. In September 2011, Gerald Marshall purchased a former school property from the Town of Dexter for $205, 000 in an arms-length transaction. Marshall purchased the property for future redevelopment. The property consisted of 45.27 acres, with significant shore frontage on Lake Wassookeag. Structures on the property included two old ...


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