E. Walker Justice.
the Court is Plaintiff Steve Anctil's appeal of the
District Court Order (PORDC-SC-16-136) dismissing Plaintiffs
small claims breach of contract action. Both Plaintiff and
Defendant filed written briefs. Having reviewed the
parties' filings and their respective arguments, and for
the reasons stated below, the judgment of the Portland
District Court is affirmed.
is an inmate at the Maine State Prison in Warren, Maine.
Defendant is the medical provider contracted with the Maine
Department of Corrections ("DOC") to provide
patient care to the inmate population at Maine State Prison.
February 11, 2016, Plaintiff filed a breach of contract
action in small claims court, alleging that Defendant
illegally withdrew funds from his prisoner trust account
after Plaintiff received medical care from Defendant.
Plaintiff also alleged that Defendant was required to provide
Plaintiff with a sick call slip following his medical care
pursuant to DOC policy, which Defendant did not provide.
record shows that on June 22, 2016, $15.00 was deducted
pursuant to DOC policy from Plaintiffs prisoner trust account
to pay three $5.00 co-pays that he had incurred at three
different medical appointments. Plaintiff has not disputed
that he received care at these three medical appointments;
instead, Plaintiff claims he was exempt from the fees due to
a different DOC policy. DOC policy also states that it is the
DOC's Director of Administrative or Support Services, not
Defendant, who ensures that appropriate fees are collected
from each prisoner for medical services rendered and who
controls the timing and withdrawals from the prisoner's
order dated May 16, 2016, die District Court (Powers,
J.) found that the DOC is the entity that deals with
charging for medical services at the prison, not Defendant.
Therefore, Defendant could not have illegally withdrawn funds
as Plaintiff asserted. Judge Powers further found that if
Defendant failed to provide Plaintiff with the copy of the
sick call slip, that alone would not support a breach of
contract or other claim of damages.
alleges several errors of law on appeal. First, Plaintiff
argues that the District Court erred in finding that the DOC
is the proper defendant because Defendant directs die DOC to
make withdrawals. Second, Plaintiff argues that the District
Court erred in finding that Defendant's failure to
provide the sick call slip did not constitute a breach of
aggrieved parry may appeal from a judgment of the District
Court in a small claims action to the Superior Court within
30 days of the entry of the judgment appealed from. M.R.
Small Claims P. 11(a). When the plaintiff in a small claims
case appeals to the Superior Court, the appeal is on
questions of law only, based on the record on appeal.
Id. 11(d)(1). The record on this appeal includes the
papers and exhibits filed in the District Court and a copy of
the docket entries prepared by the clerk. M.R. Civ. P.
District Court did not err in determining that Plaintiff did
not state a plausible claim for breach of contract as a
matter of law. A breach of contract requires: (1) a breach of
a material contract term, (2) causation, and (3) damages.
Me. Energy Recovery Co. v. United Steel Structures,
Inc., 1999 ME 31, ¶ 7, 724 A.2d 1248.
Plaintiffs breach of contract claim regarding the
"illegal" withdrawals is improper because Defendant
had no control over the withdrawals. If Defendant had no
control over the withdrawals, its actions or inactions did
not form any sort of breach of the implied contract it had
with Plaintiff to perform medical services. The District
Court did not err in finding that there was no breach of
contract by Defendant because Defendant never made
withdrawals from Plaintiff s prisoner trust account.
Defendant's failure to provide a sick call slip to
Plaintiff following his receipt of medical care does not
constitute a breach of contract. Even if the failure to
provide the sick call slip was a type of breach of contract,
it was hardly material. Any contract between Plaintiff and
Defendant was for Defendant to provide medical services to
Plaintiff for a co-pay of $5.00. Plaintiff has not asserted
that Defendant withheld medical services, so the contract was
essentially performed in full. Additionally, whether a
contract term is "material" or whether the contract
has been breached are questions of fact, which are not
reviewable on appeal to the Superior Court. See M.R.
Small Claims P. 11(a). The District Court did not err in
finding that a failure to provide a receipt of services does
not make a plausible claim for a breach of contract.
Plaintiff has not established any error of law in the small