DAWN H. HASKELL, MARTIN W. WITHAM, Plaintiffs,
DONALD R. YORK, JR., DONALD R, YORK, SR.5 BRENDA YORK, TORIE M. YORK, DESIREE JEAN YORK, and GROVER BRAGG, JR., Defendants.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT
Robert Murray Justice.
Dawn H. Haskell and Martin W. Witham, filed their Complaint
with the Court on March 10, 2014. On June 17, 2014,
Plaintiffs' request for a default was entered against
Defendant, Grover Bragg. Prior to trial the plaintiff
dismissed the claims asserted against defendants Donald York
Sr, Desiree Jean York, Brenda York and Torie York.
17, 2016, this Court held a hearing on damages, where
Plaintiffs sought: compensatory damages from both Defendants,
Mr. Bragg and Mr. York, Jr., for Plaintiffs' property
damage and medical bills; damages from both Mr. Bragg and Mr.
York, Jr. for Plaintiffs' pain and suffering; punitive
damages from only Mr. York, Jr. for his outrageous conduct;
and prejudgment and postjudgment interest. Defendant, Donald
York, Jr. was present at the hearing, but presented no
evidence on his behalf. Defendant, Grover Bragg, contends
that, despite the default entered against him, he was
entitled to present evidence and argue at the damages hearing
issues relating to (1) causation and (2) the plaintiffs'
comparative negligence. Defendant Bragg also argues that the
amount of any prejudgmenl interest that Plaintiffs may be
entitled to should be reduced. The Court discusses Mr.
Bragg's claims below.
early morning of March 27, 2013, Plaintiffs were suddenly
awakened by the sound of their windows breaking and someone
yelling "get out of bed!" Donald York, Jr. was
under the influence of some combination of intoxicants. He
thought that his dead friend, Jared, was in Plaintiffs'
home, and he was trying to get inside. Ms. Haskell called the
police, while her boyfriend, Mr. Witham, went outside to see
what was going on. By then, Mr. York had returned to his
vehicle, which was driven by Mr. Bragg. Mr. Witham stood in
front of the vehicle and refused to let them leave until the
time later, Mr. York ran from the vehicle and jumped through
the kitchen window of Plaintiffs' home. Mr. York then
began to destroy Plaintiffs' furniture, television,
walls, and other items in their home. Ms. Haskell, who was in
the home at the time and on the phone with the police, ran
and hid inside her garage.
Witham lured Mr. York outside of the home and away from Ms.
Haskell, but was severely beaten by Mr. York and left
incapacitated, bleeding, and in the snow. Mr. York then went
back inside the home, and Ms. Haskell fled outside and
attempted to aid Mr. Witham. Soon thereafter, Mr. York's
family arrived and coaxed him out of the house and into their
that evening, Mr. York became intoxicated while in the home
of Mr. Bragg. Mr. York woke Mr. Bragg up around 2:30 a.m.,
and claimed lo have seen his dead friend Jared, who Mr. Bragg
knew was dead. Mr. Bragg was worried that Mr. York was a
danger to himself, to the people in his home, and to his
personal property. Rather than calling the authorities for
assistance, Mr. Bragg decided to drive Mr. York somewhere
away from his own home. While they were driving, Mr. York
told him to go down what was Plaintiffs' road, because he
had seen Jared there. Mr. Bragg complied and Mr. York then
got out of the car, started yelling, and began breaking
result of the defendants' conduct, the plaintiffs
suffered extensive property damage, physical and emotional
injuries, and considerable pain and suffering. Specifically,
the evidence indicates the property damage described above
totaled $9, 093.50. Medical expenses incurred as a result of
the injuries suffered on March 27, 2013 totaled $18, 978.14.
Each of the plaintiffs directly experienced significant
trauma stemming from the events of March 27, 2013 which were
caused by the defendants. The conduct by Defendant York, Jr.,
in particular, was so extreme and outrageous, this Court
finds that punitive damages against him are warranted.
Mr. Bragg is Not Entitled to Litigate Causation
Civ. P. 55(b)(2) provides in relevant part: "If, in
order to enable the court to enter judgment or to carry it
into effect, it is necessary. . . to determine the amount of
damages, the court may conduct such hearings. . . as it deems
necessary." When a default is entered against a
defendant, the allegations in the plaintiffs complaint are
deemed to be true and are treated as findings of fact.
McAlister v. Slosberg, 658 A.2d 658, 660 (Me. 1995).
Plaintiffs' Complaint stated, "Each of the
Defendants was aware of and assisted Defendant York, Jr. in
reaching that level of intoxication, and permitted and/or
assisted his transportation to the Plaintiffs' home,
despite their awareness of the danger he presented to
Plaintiffs and others in his state of intoxication."
(Pls.' Comp. ¶ 22.) The Complaint further states,
"Each of the Defendants, by and through their actions,
was negligent and through their negligence caused Plaintiff
to suffer and continue to suffer pain, medical ...