ERIC CRAIGUE individually, as parent and next friend of Charlie Craigue, and as personal representative of the Estate of Destiny Victoria Daye Plaintiff
DANIEL PRICE, LEWIS D. PRICE and DIANE L. PRICE Defendants
ORDER ON RENEWED MOTION TO DISMISS
to M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), Defendants Daniel Price, Lewis D.
Price and Diane L. Price have renewed their Motion to Dismiss
the Amended Complaint of Plaintiff Eric Craigue,
individually, as next friend of Charlie Craigue and as
personal representative of the Estate of Destiny Victoria
Daye. Plaintiff has filed a timely objection and Defendants
have filed a reply.
pertinent allegations of the Amended Complaint are that
Plaintiff is the widower of Destiny Victoria Daye; the father
of their minor child, Charlie Daye, and the personal
representative of her Estate. Plaintiff contends that Destiny
Victoria Daye died May 4, 2016 of an overdose of fentanyl
combined with alcohol at a home owned by Defendants Lewis and
Diane Price, at which they and their son Daniel Price were
residing, and where they permitted Destiny Victoria Daye to
reside as well. The Complaint alleges that Destiny Victoria
Daye and Daniel Price were in a romantic and "illegal
drug-procurement relationship, " of which Defendants
Lewis and Diane Price were aware.
10 of the Amended Complaint alleges that Daniel Price
"accompanied and assisted Destiny in the procurement of
illegal drugs, and accompanied and assisted Destiny to, or
failed to prevent Destiny from, her use of those drugs within
the premises that led to her overnight death within those
premises." The Amended Complaint alleges that Lewis and
Diane Price were aware that their son and Destiny were using
drugs within the home. It alleges that all three Defendants
owed a duty to prevent harm to Destiny from her drug use.
standard of review applicable to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss calls for the court to determine whether the pleading
to which the motion is directed, viewed in a light most
favorable to the non-moving party, states any cognizable
claim for relief. See Town of Eddington v. University of
Maine Foundation 2007 ME 74, ¶5, 926 A.2d 183, 184;
Heber v. Lucerne-in-Me. Vill Corp., 2000 ME 137,
¶ 7, 755 A.2d 1064, 1066.
renewed Motion to Dismiss contends that the Complaint fails
to state a legally cognizable claim against them for purposes
of Rule 12(b)(6). Specifically, they contend that they cannot
be held liable for Destiny's death, unless Plaintiff
alleges and proves that there was a special relationship that
imposed a duty upon them to protect her from harm, or unless
Plaintiff alleges and proves that they created the risk of
danger or harm that caused her death.
Maine, there is no common law tort liability for
nonfeasance-failure to act-unless the defendant either
created the risk that resulted in harm to the plaintiff, or
the defendant had a duty to act arising out of a special
[T]n instances of nonfeasance rather than misfeasance, and
absent a special relationship, the law imposes no duty to act
affirmatively to protect someone from danger unless the
dangerous situation was created by the defendant. Only when
there is a "special relationship, " may the actor
be found to have a common law duty to prevent harm to
another, caused by a third party. There is simply no duty so
to control the conduct of a third person as to prevent him
from causing physical harm to another unless ... a special
relation exists ....
Bryan R. v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc'y of
N.Y., Inc., 1999 ME 144, P 14, 738 A.2d 839, 845
(footnote omitted). Accord, Jackson v. Tedd-Lait Post No.
75, 1999 ME 26, ¶8, 723 A.2d. 1220, 1221
("absent a special relationship, the law imposes no duty
to act affirmatively to protect someone from danger unless
the dangerous situation was created by the defendant").
Amended Complaint does not allege that Lewis and Diane Price
actually created the risk that caused harm to Destiny, i.e.
administered or at least furnished the illegal drugs that
allegedly caused her death. However, paragraph 10, read in
alight most favorable to the Plaintiff as it must be, does
allege that Daniel Price was involved in obtaining drugs for
Destiny and "accompanied and assisted" her in using
the drugs. The court has no difficulty with the proposition
that someone who furnishes, or clearer still, administers an
intoxicant to another under life-threatening circumstances
can be deemed to have created the risk of harm.
court's view, the allegations that Lewis and Diane Price
knew that their son and Destiny were using drugs in the home,
procured for them by him, does not create a "special
relationship" for purposes of imposing a duty to act
where none would otherwise exist. This is not to defend
inaction by a parent and homeowner who knows of and tolerates
illegal drug use in the home, but has not furnished the
drugs. It means only that the common law does not impose
civil liability in such an instance.
even viewed in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff, the
Amended Complaint tails to state a legally cognizable claim
or cause of action as to Lewis and Diane Price but does
sufficiently allege facts sufficient to create a duty on the
part of Daniel Price .
HEREBY ORDERED AS FOLLOWS;
Defendant's renewed Motion to Dismiss is hereby granted
as to Defendants Diane and Lewis Price and is denied as to
Defendant Daniel Price. Lewis and Diane Price are hereby
dismissed as Defendants, Pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 79(a), the