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Sinenl v. Burnham

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

April 7, 2017

ANTHONY SINENL III, Plaintiff,
v.
JONATHAN BURNHAM and JONATHAN BURNHAM d/b/a MAINE PAWN & JEWELRY Defendants.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Lance Walker Justice, Superior Court.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         I. Background

         On October 30, 2014, Wilhemina E. Ogden sold a 10-piece set of Towle 1959 sterling silverware to Maine Pawn & Jewelry. Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 1. Plaintiff, Anthony J. Sineni, III, alleges that Defendants Jonathan Burnham and Jonathan Burnham d/b/a Maine Pawn & Jewelry purchased the set for $400. Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 1. Plaintiff claims the set had an actual value of over $9, 000. Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 1. Plaintiff attests that he owned the silver and had not given Ogden permission to sell it. Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 2. Defendants contend that Ogden signed a bill of sale promising to warrant and defend her ownership of the silverware. D. Opp. to Summ. J. p. 2. Plaintiff claims that Ogden told him that she returned to Maine Pawn & Jewelry on November 3, 2014 to retrieve the silverware and was told by Defendant Burnham that it had been sold for scrap silver and smelted. Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 3. Defendant contends that Ogden did not return to retrieve the silver after the sale on October 30, 2014. D. Opp. to Summ. J. p. 2. The parties agree that Defendant Burnham did not take any digital photographs of the silverware prior to selling it. Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 10; Opp. S.M.F. ¶ 10.

         On January 21, 2015, Sineni filed a police report, alleging that his silverware had been stolen by Wilhemina Ogden or Ray Baldwin and pawned at "the shop on route 302 in downtown North Windham." D. Opp. to Summ. J. p. 2. On January 29, 2015, Cumberland County Sheriff's Detective John Fournier went to Maine Pawn & Jewelry and reviewed pawn slips for the months of September through December 2014 as they pertained to the silverware. Supp. S.M.F. ¶ 6. Plaintiff has brought this action against Defendants Burnham and Maine Pawn & Jewelry alleging violation of 30-A M.R.S. § 3972(8) and negligence. Defendants have brought the counterclaim of abuse of process. Plaintiff moves the Court for entry of summary judgment in his favor and dismissal of Defendant's counterclaim for abuse of process.

         II. Discussion

         A. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate if, based on the parties' statements of material fact and the cited record, there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. M.R. Civ. P. 56(c); Dyer v. Dep't of Transp., 2008 ME 106, ¶ 14, 951 A.2d 821. "A material fact is one that can affect the outcome of the case. A genuine issue of material fact exists when the fact finder must choose between competing versions of the truth." Id. (citations omitted). When deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court reviews the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id.

         1. 30-A M.R.S. § 3972(8)

         Plaintiff's first count is for violation of the law governing the records required of dealers in secondhand precious metals. The statute states:

A dealer shall maintain the following records with respect to each transaction conducted by the dealer involving secondhand precious metals:
A. The date, time and place of the transaction;
B. The name and address of the seller or other person from whom the dealer acquired the precious metals;
C. A digital photograph of each item of precious metals that is the subject of the transaction, as well as a complete description of the item purchased or acquired from the seller, including the weight of the item and any identification numbers, ...

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