ORDER ON MOTIONS TO DISMISS
Michaela Murphy Justice
M.R.S. § 701 was enacted in July 2015. The statute
limits each Maine county in its collection of taxes for the
operation of a county jail. Hancock County was limited to $1,
670, 136 in the fiscal year 2014-2015. Hancock County
Jail's costs and expenses exceeded the budget for that
fiscal year as set by the Maine Board of Corrections (Board).
Because of the new law, Hancock County was not able to make
up the shortfall with tax revenues. The budget shortfall was
approximately $121, 154.87.
same time that 30-A M.R.S. § 701 was enacted, 34-A
M.R.S. § 1210-D was also enacted. 34-A M.R.S. §
1210-D establishes the County Jail Operations Fund and
dictates the terms of administration and distribution of the
fund. The Statute provides that counties must use 30% of
distributions from the Fund for "community
corrections" and may use the remaining 70% for jail
operations. Id. The Commissioner of the Department
of Corrections ("DOC") is tasked to "receive,
administer and distribute to the county and regional jails
funding provided through the General Fund, Other Special
Revenue Funds and any federal and grant funds in
accordance" with statute. 34-A M.R.S. § 1402(12).
24, 2015, Hancock County sent a letter and Notice of Claim to
Treasurer of the State of Maine and the Commissioner of the
DOC seeking reimbursement for the cost overrun of the Hancock
County Jail citing to the statutory limitations on Hancock
County and powers granted to the DOC. On September 15, 2015,
Hancock County provided an Amended Notice of Claim. Hancock
County claims that the DOC never responded to the Notice of
Claim. The DOC argues that it was not obligated to respond.
Standard of Review
moves to dismiss Count I for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to
M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). The DOC moves to dismiss Counts II and
III as a duplicative of Count I. Oral argument on the motions
was held on June 6, 2016.
Motion to Dismiss - M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1)
Superior Court's jurisdiction over administrative appeals
is limited. "Only an appeal from final agency action
automatically removes jurisdiction from the administrative
agency to the court system." Eastern Maine Medical
Center v. Maine Health Care Finance Com., 601 A.2d 99,
101 (Me. 1992). According to 5 M.R.S. § 11002, a
petition for administrative appeal by an aggrieved party must
be filed within 30 days of the agency decision or within 6
months of when a decision could have been expected where
there was no determination by the administrative agency. 5
M.R.S. § 11002(3). Without a properly filed appeal, the
courts lack subject matter jurisdiction.
is appropriate where the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). "When a motion to
dismiss is based on the court's lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, we make no favorable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff such as we do when reviewing a motion to dismiss
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted." Tomer v. Me. Human Rights Comm'n,
2008 ME 190, ¶ 9, 962 A.2d 335; See Francis v.
Dana-Cummings, 2004 ME 4, P 17, 840 A.2d 708, 711;
Persson v. Dep't of Human Servs., 2001 ME 124, P
8, 775 A.2d 363, 365; Davric Me. Corp. v. Bangor Historic
Track, Inc., 2000 ME 102, P 6, 751 A.2d 1024, 1028.
Motion to Dismiss - M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
analyzing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
the court "examine[s] the complaint in the light most
favorable to 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." Doe v. Graham, 2009 ME 88, ¶ 2,
977 A.2d 391, quoting Saunders, 2006 ME 94, ¶
8, 902 A.2d 30. "For a court to properly dismiss a claim
for failure to state a cause of action, it must appear
'beyond doubt that [the] plaintiff is entitled to no
relief under any set of facts that might be proven in support
of the claim.'" Dragomir v. Spring Harbor
Hosp., 2009 ME 51, ¶ 15, 970 A.2d 310, quoting
Plimpton v. Gerrard, 668 A.2d 882, 885 (Me. 1995).
a claim for review of governmental action under this rule is
joined with a claim alleging an independent basis for relief
from governmental action, the petition shall contain a
separate count for each claim for relief asserted, setting
forth the facts relied upon, the legal basis of the claim,
and the relief requested." M.R. Civ. P. 80C(i).
"When a claim joined with an 80C or B Petition is
duplicative of the Petition, the Law Court has affirmed the
Superior Court's dismissal on that ground."
Breton v. Mayhew, 2015 Me. Super. LEXIS 186, ...