UNIVERSITY OF MAINE SYSTEM
Argued: February 7, 2017
William C. Herbert, Esq. (orally), Hardy, Wolf & Downing,
P.A., Lewiston, for appellant Aleshia D. Diviney
Christopher C. Dinan, Esq. (orally), Monaghan Leahy, LLP,
Portland, for appellee University of Maine System
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Aleshia D. Diviney appeals from the grant of summary judgment
for the University of Maine System (UMS) by the Superior
Court (Kennebec County, Mullen, J.). The court
concluded that Divineys tort claim was time barred by the
Maine Tort Claims Act, because it was not filed within the
statutory 180-day filing period pursuant to 14 M.R.S. §
8107 (2016), and that the statutory "good cause"
justification for the delay in filing could not be
On appeal, Diviney argues that the court erred (1) because
the issue of good cause presented a disputed material fact
not appropriate for resolution on summary judgment; (2) in
its "good cause" determination applying the plain
language of section 8107 to the facts in the record; and (3)
by failing to interpret section 8107s filing period to
commence from the date the "good cause" for delay
has been removed. We affirm the judgment.
The following facts are viewed in the light most favorable to
Diviney-the party against whom summary judgment was entered.
See Remmes v. Mark Travel Corp., 2015 ME 63, ¶
18, 116 A.3d 466.
On January 17, 2014, Aleshia D. Diviney was injured when she
slipped and fell on ice outside of her dormitory, located on
the University of Southern Maine (USM) Gorham campus. On
February 3, 2014, Divineys father emailed USMs risk
management office about his daughters injury. He explained
that his daughter sustained a broken leg, torn ligaments, and
required surgery because of the injuries. He also stated that
he hoped the University would assume some degree of
responsibility, because the incident stemmed from maintenance
of walks, steps, and parking areas on the campus.
William Wells, Associate Vice President of Operations and
Risk Management for USM, responded to the fathers email on
February 6, 2014. In his email Wells expressed his sympathy
for Diviney, and requested that she file an incident report.
He also inquired as to whether she intended to file a claim.
Divineys father responded on February 9, 2014, explaining
that he and his daughter would not be involving legal counsel
"because of.. . [their] faith that the University would
be willing to satisfy the medical and other related expenses
... related to this incident without the need for legal
Wells did not respond to the fathers email or acknowledge
receipt of Divineys incident report until March 18, 2014. He
explained that "for whatever reason, " USM had not
received the previous correspondence or the incident report,
but he assured the father that the University was not
ignoring the situation. Between March 20 and March 28, 2014,
Divineys father and Wells continued to email about
documentation needed for the investigation of the incident,
including medical releases and Divineys incident report.
On March 28, 2014, Wells referred Divineys claim to the
University of Maine Systems risk management department, which
referred the case to John Glover at Cross
Insurance. That same day, Glover attempted to reach
Diviney by phone and email to request a recorded statement
about the incident and her treatment. Sometime between March
28 and April 2, 2014, Glover spoke with Diviney by phone to
confirm a date to take her recorded statement. During that
phone call Glover "advised [Diviney] that although she
would probably not recover much from her claim, she would
probably recover something, " and further stated that he
would "get this worked out for
By April 2, 2014, Glover had interviewed Diviney and also
attempted to reach a witness who was with Diviney at the time
of her fall. Due to "a series of issues, " however,
Glover did not get a statement from that witness until May 5,