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Nadeau v. Lovejoy

Superior Court of Maine

March 2, 2017

COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT JUDGE ROBERT NADEAU AND ROBERT M.A. NADEAU, Plaintiffs
v.
TRAVIS LOVEJOY, Defendant.

          ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF ROBERT NADEAU NADEAU LEGAL PLLC

          ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANTS: GENE LIBBY TYLER SMITH LIBBY O'BRIEN KINGSLEY & CHAMPION

          ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS

          LANCE WALKER JUSTICE

         Before the Court is Defendant Travis Lovejoy's Motion to Dismiss.

         I. Background

         Plaintiffs Committee to Re-elect Judge Robert Nadeau and Robert M.A. Nadeau bring this action seeking relief for the alleged taking and vandalism of campaign signs by Defendant Lovejoy. In the Complaint, Plaintiffs contend that Travis Lovejoy was responsible for posting signs in public roadways advocating against Nadeau's re-election without the sponsor, contact information or posting duration; adding the word "suspended" to signs promoting Nadeau's re-election; and removing and causing injury to signs for Nadeau's re-election from public roadways. Plaintiffs assert counts of trespass to chattels and interference with advantageous opportunities and seek punitive damages.

         Defendant moves the Court to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint.

         II. Standard of Review

         In order to survive a motion to dismiss for lack of standing, the plaintiff must show, "that the party, at the commencement of the litigation, has sufficient personal stake in the controversy to obtain judicial resolution of that controversy. Halfway House v. City of Portland, 670 A.2d 1377, 1379 (Me. 1996). "To have standing, a party must show they suffered an injury that is fairly traceable to the challenged action and that is likely to be redressed by the judicial relief sought. Further, the injury must be particularized. Put differently, it must be distinct from the harm suffered by the public-at-large." Collins v. State, 2000 ME 85, ¶ 6, 750 A.2d 1257.

         On review of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court accepts the facts alleged in plaintiffs' complaint as admitted. Saunders v. Tisher, 2006 ME 94, ¶ 8, 902 A.2d 830. The court "examine[s] the complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiff to determine whether it sets forth elements of a cause of action or alleges facts that would entitle the plaintiff to relief pursuant to some legal theory." Doe v. Graham, 2009 ME 88, ¶ 2, 977 A.2d 391 (quoting Saunders, 2006 ME 94, ¶ 8, 902 A.2d 830). "For a court to properly dismiss a claim for failure to state a cause of action, it must appear 'beyond doubt that [the] plaintiff is entitled to no relief under any set of facts that might be proven in support of the claim.'" Dragomir v. Spring Harbor Hosp., 2009 ME 51, ¶ 15, 970 A.2d 310 (quoting Plimpton v. Gerrard, 668 A.2d 882, 885 (Me. 1995)).

         III. Discussion

         Defendant moves the Court to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint as to Plaintiff Robert Nadeau for lack of standing and as to the Committee to Re-elect Judge Robert Nadeau for failure to state a claim.

         A. Standing

         Defendant argues that Nadeau does not have standing to bring the current action because the Committee to Re-elect Judge Robert Nadeau, rather than Nadeau personally, owned the signs. Defendant argues that even if Nadeau personally purchased the signs, he donated them to the Committee, leaving Nadeau with no personal interest in the signs and therefore no standing to sue. Moody v. State Liquor & Lottery Comm'n,2004 ME 20, ¶ 8, 843 A.2d 43. In the Complaint and subsequent filings, Nadeau asserts that the signs were owned by both Nadeau personally and by the Committee. For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the court takes the facts alleged in the Complaint to be true. Therefore, for the purpose of this Motion to Dismiss, the ...


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