Plaintiff-Jeffrey Langholtz, Esq.
Defendants-LJohn Topchik, Esq.
Defendant-Elizabeth Stouder, Esq.
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION-FOR SUMMARY
E. Walker, Justice
matter comes before the Court on a motion for summary
judgment filed by Defendants Douglas W. Shea, D.S.
Foundations & Son, Inc., and Chase Shea. For the
following reasons, the Shea Defendants' motion for
summary judgment is granted in toto.
April 15, 2011, Plaintiff Joseph Rankin was inspecting
property in West Baldwin, Maine owned by Liudas Normanrus.
(Pl's Compl. ¶ 6). Rankin had been authorized to be
a caretaker of the property, the site of a former sawmill and
waste disposal facility, by Normantus's son, Vitas
Normanrus. (Id.) Rankin saw an unauthorized pickup
truck on the property, (Id. at ¶ 7), and
alleges that he believed it was being used to illegally
remove fixtures and equipment from the property. Id.
alleges that the truck had been driven onto Liudas
Normantus's property by Defendant Chase Shea.
(Id. at ¶ 10.) The truck was owned by D.S.
Foundations & Son, Inc. (Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 7.)
Chase's friend, Josh Verrill, had accompanied him onto
Liudas Normantus's property. (Pl's Response to
Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 4.)
used a shotgun to shoot holes into the truck's radiator
in an attempt to disable it. (Id. at ¶ 17-19).
The Defendants Douglas W. Shea (father of Chase), Chase, and
D.S. Foundations & Son, Inc. allege that Rankin also
fired his shotgun towards Chase and Josh, (Supp. S.M.F.
¶ 11), and held Josh at gunpoint on the ground,
(Id. at ¶ 16). Rankin denies shooting towards
Chase and Josh, (Pl's Response to Def.'s S.M.F.
¶ 12), or holding Josh on the ground at gunpoint,
(Id. at ¶ 16).
made a phone call to his cousin, Adrien Berry, who was
subsequently dropped off at Liudas Normantus's property
by his grandmother. (Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 18-19.) Adrien got
into the driver's seat of the truck, Chase got into the
passenger's seat, and Adrien drove the truck off the
property. (Pl's Response to Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 19.)
Rankin alleges that as Adrien drove off the property, the
truck struck a wood telephone pole that had been placed on
the property to prevent unauthorized entry. (Pl's Compl.
¶ 11.) The pole allegedly "spun and slammed
into" Rankin, injuring him. (Id. at ¶ 11.)
Rankin admits that he did not believe that Adrien or Chase
intended to hit him. (Pl's Response to Def.'s S.M.F.
¶ 25.) Rankin also alleges that his injuries resulting
from the events on April 15, 2011 prevented him from
providing care and comfort to his dying wife. (Pl's
Compl. ¶ 14.)
filed a complaint against Douglas W. Shea, D.S. Foundations
& Son, Inc., Chase Shea, and Adrien Berry on February 20,
2015 in five counts: (I) negligence as to all the defendants
related to the operation of the truck, (n) negligent
entrustment of the truck to Chase by Douglas, (III) knowingly
permitting Chase to operate the truck on a public way, (IV)
failure of Douglas to exercise reasonable control over Chase,
and (V) vicarious liability of Douglas and D.S. Foundations
& Son, Inc., asserting that Chase was operating the truck
within the scope of his employment for them and was acting as
an agent for them at the time of Rankin's alleged
and Chase argue they have no liability to Rankin, even though
Douglas did give Chase permission to drive the truck on April
15, 2011, (Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 7), because it was Adrien and
not Chase or Douglas who was driving the truck when Rankin
was injured, (D.'s Mot. Summ. J. 1), and because Douglas
did not give Adrien permission to drive the truck, (Supp.
S.M.F. ¶ 20). Rankin alleges that Chase expressly gave
Adrien permission to drive the truck, (Pl's Response to
Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 20, ) and that Chase retained
control of the truck even though he was not driving,
(Pl's Response to Def.'s. Mot. Summ. J. 8).
Defendants argue that neither Douglas, Chase, nor D.S.
Foundations & Son, Inc., is vicariously liable for any
injuries to Rankin because Adrien was not an employee or
agent of any of them, (D.'s Mot. Summ. J. 2), that the
truck was not on Liudas Normantus's property for any
work-related activity, (Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 8), and that D.S.
Foundations & Son, Inc. was not in the business of
scrapping, (Id.). Rankin argues that Chase was
employed by Douglas and D.S. Foundations & Son, Inc. on
April 15, 2011, working for Douglas on the days he did not
attend school, (Pl's Response to Def.'s. S.M.F.
¶ 6), and that Chase gave Adrien permission to drive the
truck, (Id. at ¶ 20). Rankin admits that on
April 15, 2011 the truck was not on the Liudas Normantus
property for any work-related activity for D.S. Foundations
& Son, Inc. and that D.S. Foundations & Son, Inc. was
not in the business of scrapping. (Id. at ¶ 8.)
Defendants argue that Plaintiff Rankin attempted to assert
two additional claims in his response to their motion for
summary judgment that he should not be allowed to raise
during litigation: 1) that D.S. Foundations & Son, Inc.,
through its treasurer, negligently entrusted the truck to
Adrien, and 2) that Chase is liable for Adrien's actions
because Chase retained control of ...