DAWN H. HASKELL et al.
GROVER B. BRAGG JR.
Argued: June 14, 2017.
William Druary, Jr., Esq., and Gregory M. Patient, Esq.
(orally), Marden, Dubord, Bernier & Stevens, PA LLC,
Waterville, for appellant Grover B. Bragg
E. Belleau, Esq, and Adam R. Lee, Esq. (orally), Trafton,
Matzen, Belleau & Frenette, LLP, Auburn, for
cross-appellants Dawn H. Haskell and Martin W. Witham.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
REPORTER OF DECISIONS.
Grover B. Bragg Jr. appeals and Dawn H. Haskell and Martin W.
Witham cross-appeal from a judgment for damages entered in
the Superior Court (Waldo County, R. Murray, J.) in
favor of Haskell and Witham after entry of a default against
Bragg. Haskell and Witham's claims arose from an invasion
of Haskell and Witham's home in the early morning hours
of March 27, 2013. Bragg argues that the court erred by
precluding him from contesting causation at the damages
hearing and by concluding that Haskell and Witham were not
comparatively negligent. Haskell and Witham contend that the
court erred by allowing Bragg to assert an affirmative
defense of comparative negligence. We affirm the judgment.
In March 2014, Dawn H. Haskell and Martin W. Witham filed a
six-count complaint against Grover B. Bragg Jr. and Donald R.
York Jr. Haskell and Witham asserted a claim for
negligence against both Bragg and York (Count 1) and claims
for assault and battery, intentional trespass, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of
emotional distress, and punitive damages against York (Counts
Bragg was served in hand with the summons and complaint on
April 24, 2014. Bragg did not file an answer within twenty
days after being served and did not otherwise appear in or
defend the matter. See M.R. Civ. P. 12(a). Haskell
and Witham filed a motion for default against Bragg, which
the clerk entered on June 17, 2014. See M.R. Civ. P.
Upon the entry of a default for failure to timely appear or
respond in an action, the facts alleged in the complaint are
deemed to have been proved and affirmative defenses are
deemed to have been waived. See M.R. Civ. P.
8(b)-(d); McAlister v. Slosberg, 658A.2d 658, 660
(Me. 1995) ("When a default is entered . . . the
allegations in the plaintiffs complaint are deemed to be true
and become findings of fact").
Haskell and Witham alleged the following facts in their
complaint. On or about March 27, 2013, York became highly
intoxicated due to his use of some combination of crack
cocaine, cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, bath salts, and
marijuana. York used one or more of the intoxicants while in
the company of Bragg, who was aware of and assisted York in
reaching that level of intoxication. Despite Bragg's
awareness of the danger York presented to others in his state
of intoxication, Bragg transported York to the Haskell-Witham
residence because he did not want York-who was acting
"really crazy"-in his own home.
Haskell and Witham, who had never met Bragg or York before
March 27, 2013,  were awakened by the sound of windows
being broken. Witham exited his home and found Bragg and York
outside. Bragg and York returned to a pickup truck that was
parked nearby. After some time, York exited the truck, ran
into Haskell and Witham's home without permission and
damaged property inside, including a flat screen television,
several pieces of furniture, five windows, lamps, and various
other items. York threw a bench through a window, punched
holes in the walls, damaged various portions of the bed and
floor, and tracked blood throughout the house. He also
damaged Haskell and Witham's vehicle. York then attacked
Witham causing substantial physical injuries to Witham.
Witham believed that York was going to kill him. After
injuring Witham, York reentered the residence and continued
to cause damage. Haskell locked herself in the garage while
York damaged property and assaulted Witham. Haskell feared
for her life and for Witham's life.
Haskell and Witham further alleged in their complaint that
they exercised due care at all pertinent times, and that
Bragg and York were negligent and through their negligence
caused Haskell and Witham to suffer pain and property damage.
Based on these claims, Haskell and Witham requested relief
"for such sums as ...