DECISION AND JUDGMENT
civil action came before the court for a jury-waived trial
November 22, 2016, with both parties participating through
counsel and presenting evidence. The trial was electronically
recorded. The only live witness was Plaintiff Mark Blackler,
and the deposition testimony of Michael Brewer was also
admitted by stipulation. After the trial, each party filed a
on the entire record, the court adopts the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law and renders judgment as set
forth below. All affirmative findings of fact are made by a
preponderance of the evidence.
all relevant times, Plaintiff Mark Blackler has been a
resident of Jefferson, Maine. He has been married to Tamara
Blackler for about 28 years and they have two adult children.
Mr. Blackler has been employed as a framing and finish
carpenter for most of his career. Initially, he was working
for other contractors but in the late 1990's or early
2000's he became self-employed. He has worked on various
projects for various clients, including high-end clients. Due
to the nature of his work, he has experienced some shoulder
problems and has had cortisone injections in both shoulders
to relieve pain.
of 2014?, Plaintiff owned a 2006 Harley Davidson motorcycle,
VIN lHDlKAVl06Y694445, that was covered by a policy of
insurance issued by Dairyland Cycle Insurance/Dairyland
Insurance Company, having policy number ME174150800. The
policy was in effect as of June 19, 2014 and applies to the
accident that gives rise to this lawsuit.
June 19, 2014, Plaintiff Bladder was riding the motorcycle
home from work northbound on Route 1 in Edgecomb. The day was
warm and clear and the roads were dry.
about 5 p.m., not long after he had crossed the bridge from
Wiscasset to Edgecomb, he was in a line of traffic traveling
at or near the near the Pyro City Fireworks Store on the east
side of Route 1. The speed limit in that area of Route 1 is
40 or 45 miles per hour, and the line of northbound vehicles
within which Plaintiff was riding his motorcycle was
traveling at or near the speed limit. The vehicle directly in
front of Plaintiff stopped in the travel lane and signaled a
left turn. It did not leave skid marks as it came to a stop.
The vehicle was a small passenger car similar to a Toyota
Corolla. It had stopped within the northbound travel lane.
that place, Route .1 consists of a travel lane in each
direction, separated by a double yellow stripe. The outside
edge of each travel lane is marked by a single white fog line
stripe, beyond which there is a paved breakdown lane. At that
place, the breakdown lane next to the northbound travel lane
is wide enough to accommodate a medium to small sized car or
a motorcycle like the one Plaintiff was driving. In other
words, at the place where the left-turning car stopped in
front of Plaintiffs motorcycle, there is ample room for
northbound cars and motorcycles to pass a stopped,
left-turning vehicle on the right, by entering the paved
Plaintiff first saw that the vehicle had signaled a left
turn, he logically and reasonably assumed, given that there
was no oncoming traffic that the vehicle would complete the
signaled turn. However, the vehicle did not turn-it could
have turned because there was no traffic ahead of it, but
Plaintiff then realized that the vehicle was not turning
because there was no driveway or other area across the
roadway for it to turn into. Plaintiff slammed on the brakes
of the motorcycle to avoid colliding with the stopped
vehicle, causing the motorcycle tires to leave a long, black
skid mark on the pavement. The motorcycle started to slide
sideways and Plaintiff had to let go of it. As the motorcycle
went out from under him, he hit the pavement on his left side
and rolled, while the motorcycle travelled a little farther.
While he was braking, Plaintiff could hear the squeal of
brakes behind him as the driver of the vehicle behind him
also was trying to come to a stop. It turned out to be a tow
truck operated by a driver named Michael Brewer. It stopped
short of where Plaintiff and his motorcycle had ended up, and
Mr. Brewer got out and came to Plaintiffs assistance.
Although shaken up and injured, Plaintiff was able to stand
up and walk. He began gathering broken pieces of the
motorcycle from the roadway. Meanwhile, the driver of the
stopped vehicle that had caused Plaintiff to crash got out of
the vehicle and asked if Plaintiff was "OK."
Exactly how Plaintiff responded is unclear, but he clearly
was injured and shaken. In any case, the driver of the
stopped vehicle returned to the vehicle and drove away, not
making the left turn but continuing north. Neither the
Plaintiff nor Michael Brewer noted the registration plate
number on the vehicle before it departed, and neither the
vehicle nor its driver has been located or identified.
Plaintiff and Michael Brewer testified that the vehicle ahead
of Plaintiff stopped very suddenly, although the fact that
the vehicle left no skid marks as it stopped plainly suggests
that it stopped much less suddenly than did Plaintiffs
motorcycle when the Plaintiff braked.
parties stipulate that "Plaintiff incurred medical bills
in the amount of $32, 107.67, as a result of injuries he
received that were proximately caused by the event of June
19, 2014 that is the subject of this case." Plaintiffs
and Defendant's Joint Stipulation ¶ 3. They also
stipulate that, as a result of the June 19, 2014 accident, he
had surgery on his left shoulder on January 28, 2015 and that
his injuries were fully healed within eight to 12 months
after the surgery. He thus claims no permanent impairment due
to the accident, and no loss of income after the post-surgery
recovery period of eight to twelve months.
recover under his own policy's uninsured or underinsured
motorist provisions. Plaintiff essentially has the same
burden of proof that he would have if the driver of the
vehicle that stopped in front of Plaintiffs motorcycle were
the defendant in this case. This is because the purpose of
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is "to permit
an injured party to receive the same recovery as would have
been available to him or her had the tortfeasor ...