Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Phaneuf v. Polaris Industries, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maine

September 2, 2016

PETER PHANEUF, Plaintiff
v.
POLARIS INDUSTRIES, INC., Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO SET TRIAL IN PORTLAND

          John C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         In this action, Plaintiff Peter Phaneuf seeks to recover damages for injuries he sustained as the result of a rollover incident involving an all-terrain vehicle (the ATV) in Monson, Maine, on May 25, 2013. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Polaris Industries designed and manufactured the ATV, which was defective.

         The matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Set Trial in Portland. (ECF No. 4.) After consideration of the parties' arguments, the Court denies the motion.

         Background

         According to Plaintiff, in 2009 Plaintiff purchased the ATV in Jackman, Maine. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.) On May 25, 2013, Plaintiff was operating the ATV in Monson, Maine, when it rolled over and pinned him to the ground. The ATV continued to idle for 90 minutes before someone came to the scene to assist Plaintiff. During the time he was under the ATV, Plaintiff suffered severe burns because his foot was pinned against the ATV's exhaust system. Plaintiff maintains that the ATV lacked a “tilt switch” that would stop the engine in the event of a rollover.

         In support of his request to move the trial of the matter from Bangor to Portland, Plaintiff relies primarily on the convenience for witnesses and Plaintiff. Plaintiff is a Massachusetts resident, as are several witnesses who accompanied him to Monson in May 2013. (Motion to Set Trial in Portland at 1, ¶¶ 4 - 5, ECF No. 4.) Plaintiff has retained expert witnesses who reside outside of Maine. (Id. at 1 - 2, ¶ 6.) Except for his initial treatment in Maine, Plaintiff has received all of his medical treatment in Massachusetts. (Id. at 2, ¶ 7.) Defendant is incorporated under the laws of the State of Minnesota, and does business throughout the State of Maine. (Id. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff contends a trial in Portland would substantially decrease the burden on Plaintiff and his witnesses, without causing a significant disadvantage for Defendant. (Id. ¶ 10.)

         Defendant argues that Bangor is more convenient for many of the potential witnesses, including the first responders (i.e., members of the Greenville Fire Department and a Maine State Warden) and medical providers at Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, where Plaintiff received his initial medical care. (Defendant's Opposition at 2, ECF No. 11.)

         Discussion

         Plaintiff cites District of Maine Local Rule 3 in support of his request for transfer. Rule 3 provides in relevant part:

         RULE 3 - COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION

         (b) Assignment

Maine constitutes one judicial district. Court shall be held at Bangor and Portland. The filing party shall file each new action in Bangor or Portland, and the latter shall ordinarily be tried in Bangor or Portland, by reference to the county in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred or in which a substantial part of the property that is the subject of the action is situated. Cases arising in the counties of Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington shall be filed and ordinarily tried at Bangor. Cases arising in the counties of Androscoggin, Cumberland, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Sagadahoc and York shall be filed and ordinarily tried at Portland. ….

D. Me. Loc. R. 3(b). Pursuant to Rule 3, Plaintiff's action is appropriately assigned to the Bangor division because the subject events or omissions occurred in Somerset County (locus of purchase) and Piscataquis County (locus of accident). By rule, therefore, the matter “shall ordinarily be tried in Bangor.” Id. Plaintiff argues that the plain language of the Rule (i.e., use of the term “ordinarily”) confirms the Court is not required to conduct the trial in Bangor.

         Defendant cites Local Rule 1 to support its opposition to the motion. Local Rule 1 provides in part: “The Court may relax these rules in exceptional circumstances when justice so requires.” D. Me. Loc. R. 1(a). Defendant contends the necessary exceptional ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.