KERRY A. JOHNSON et al.
BARBARA C. CRANE
Argued: May 11, 2017
K. Mills, Esq. (orally), Hale & Hamlin, LLC, Ellsworth,
for appellants Kerry A. Johnson and Kathleen A. Thommen
William B. Devoe, Esq. and Kady S. Huff, Esq. (orally), Eaton
Peabody, Bangor, for appellee Barbara C. Crane
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
Kerry A. Johnson and Kathleen A. Thommen appeal from a
judgment of the Superior Court (Hancock County, R.
Murray, /.) dismissing their complaint for tortious
interference with an expectancy and breach of contract
against Barbara C. Crane following Crane's motion filed
pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Because we conclude that
the issues raised by the complaint are not yet ripe for
judicial review, we vacate the court's judgment and
remand for entry of a dismissal without prejudice.
The following facts, taken in the light most favorable to the
plaintiffs, are derived from the allegations in the
complaint. See Moody v. State Liquor & Lottery
Comm'n, 2004 ME 20, ¶ 7, 843 A.2d 43.
Jean Quayle Johnson was the mother of Kerry A. Johnson,
Kathleen A. Thommen, Kim A. Johnson, and Kasey A. Reid
(collectively, the children), and sister of Barbara C. Crane.
Jean died testate on October 31, 2015. Consistent with the
terms of Jean's will, Crane filed an application for
informal probate of the will and was appointed personal
representative of the estate by the Hancock County Probate
The assets of the estate include a one-half interest in JKJ
Property Group, LLC, a Maine limited liability company, and
one half of the outstanding shares of stock in The Colony
Cottages, Inc., a Maine corporation (collectively, the
properties). JKJ Property Group owns commercial land and
buildings in Bar Harbor-subject to a mortgage and assignment
of rents-and The Colony Cottages owns and operates seasonal
rental cottages on the property owned by JKJ Property Group.
Jean's will devised the properties to Crane.
On May 25, 2016, Kerry Johnson and Kathleen Thommen filed a
complaint against Crane, and Kasey Reid and Kim Johnson were
later added as interested parties. The complaint contains two
counts. Count I, for tortious interference with an expected
inheritance, alleges that Crane fraudulently induced Jean to
bequeath the properties to Crane with the assurance that
Crane would either distribute equal shares of the properties
to the children or sell the properties and divide the net
proceeds among the children. Count II, for breach of
contract,  alleges that Crane agreed with Jean, as a
condition of Crane becoming Jean's personal
representative according to the will, to distribute among the
children the properties or the net proceeds from any sale of
the properties, and that Crane breached that agreement.
The Superior Court (Hancock County, R. Murray, J.)
granted Crane's motion to dismiss pursuant to M.R. Civ.
P. 12(b)(6), concluding that Count I did not satisfy the rule
articulated in Shine v. Dodge,130 Me. 440, 443, 157
A. 318 (1931), that a promise to take a future action will
not support an action for fraud; Count I did not state the
nature, content, or scope of the children's fraud
allegations with particularity pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 9(b);