Argued: April 6, 2016
Superior Court docket number RE-2013-32 For Clerk Reference
J. Murphy, Esq., Bernstein Shur, Portland, for appellant
Camden National Bank
F. Curtis, Esq., Berman & Simmons, P.A., Lewiston, and J.
Kimball Hobbs, Esq., Bar Mills, for appellees Ilene F.
Weintraub and Paul A. Weintraub
J. Murphy, Esq., for appellant Camden National Bank
Kimball Hobbs, Esq., for appellee Ilene F. Weintraub et al.
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Camden National Bank appeals from the Superior Court's
(Knox County, Billings, J.) denial of its special
motion to dismiss Ilene Weintraub's counterclaim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress. See 14
M.R.S. § 556 (2015). On appeal, the Bank contends that
the court erred in determining that section 556, Maine's
"anti-SLAPP" statute, prohibits selective dismissal of
claims and in concluding that Weintraub met her burden of
demonstrating a prima facie case of actual injury and
causation. We clarify that the anti-SLAPP statute allows for
dismissal of some but not all claims in a multi-count
complaint, and we affirm the court's denial of the
The following facts, relevant to this appeal, are alleged in
the parties' pleadings and are part of the motion record
in this action. See Nader v. Me. Democratic Party
(Nader II), 2013 ME 51, ¶ 2, 66 A.3d 571 (per
curiam). Ilene Weintraub and her brother had two mortgage
loans with the Bank, and, when they fell into arrears,
Weintraub began receiving phone calls from the Bank's
collections department. Weintraub alleged that a particular
collections specialist was verbally abusive and rude to her.
Another employee of the Bank attested in an affidavit that,
during a phone call in August 2010, Weintraub stated that she
"would like to murder" that collections specialist
when the collections specialist calls. Concerned for her
coworker's safety, the employee called the Rockport
Police Department and reported Weintraub's threat. The
police advised Weintraub that she was being investigated for
criminal threatening, and they instructed her not to call the
collections department but to conduct her banking business in
person at a local branch, instead.
[¶3] The Bank filed a complaint for foreclosure in July
2013,  and thereafter the parties engaged in the
processes required by the foreclosure diversion program for
nearly a year. In March 2014, Weintraub filed an amended
answer bringing several counterclaims against the Bank,
including violations of the Maine Consumer Credit Code,
breach of contract, and a claim for intentional infliction of
emotional distress. She alleged that, as a direct and
proximate result of the abusive conduct of the collections
department and the false accusation of criminal conduct, she
suffered "physical and personal injuries" resulting
in emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life and
requiring an increase of her diabetes medication. In April of
2014, the Bank filed a motion to dismiss these counterclaims
but, in that motion, it did not rely on Maine's
anti-SLAPP statute as a ground for dismissal. The court
denied that motion on December 1, 2014.
Three weeks later, the Bank filed a motion for leave to file
a special motion to dismiss, coupled with a special motion to
dismiss pursuant to 14 M.R.S. § 556. The Bank argued in
its special motion to dismiss that Maine's anti-SLAPP
statute protects its right to make an accurate report to the
police of matters of public safety without suffering the
burden of a lawsuit, and that Weintraub's counterclaims
were based on its exercise of petitioning rights. See
Lynch v. Christie, 815 F.Supp.2d 341, 346 n.6 (D. Me.
2011) (stating that "reports to [law enforcement] . . .
would clearly be covered [by the statute] as well").
Weintraub opposed the Bank's motion for leave to file on
the ground that the special motion to dismiss was
untimely. After a hearing on several pending
motions, Weintraub was granted leave to file amended
counterclaims, and the Bank was granted leave to
"reassert any pending motions, " including,
presumably, its special motion to dismiss. In its renewed
special motion to dismiss, the Bank requested dismissal of
Count II, violation of Maine Consumer Credit Code, Count III,