DECISION & JUDGMENT
W. Clifford, Active Retired Justice
Plaintiff Webster Bank, N.A. initiated the present action
through a complaint asserting that defendants M. Beth Myers
and Timothy McGuire failed to meet their obligations under a
Home Equity Consumer Revolving Loan Agreement and Open-Ended
Mortgage Deed. Plaintiff contends that defendants failed to
meet all of their obligations under the Loan, including their
obligation to make timely monthly payments. As a result of
this default, plaintiff accelerated the obligations evidenced
by the Loan and seeks the full balance plus interest, late
charges, and other fees. Although the Loan is secured by a
mortgage, and the mortgage provides that plaintiff is
entitled to all remedies of law and equity, including
foreclosure, should defendants default under the mortgage or
the above agreement, plaintiff has not sought to foreclose on
the mortgaged property.
court held a bench trial on May 1, 2017. During trial, the
parties disputed whether: (1) pursuant to 9-A M.R.S. §
5-111, plaintiff had to comply with the notice requirements
of 14 M.R.S. § 6111; (2) defendants had waived their
right to assert this affirmative defense; and (3) if
compliance with section 6111 is necessary, and whether
plaintiff sufficiently complied with that section. The court
requested, and the parties provided, post-trial memorandum.
Whether the Notices to Cure Default Had to Comply with 14
M.R. S. § 6111
contends that 14 M.R.S. § 6111 is inapplicable because
the entire provision is focused on mortgages and foreclosure.
Plaintiff is not, however, foreclosing or acting as a
mortgagee. As a result, plaintiffs action is not "[w]ith
respect to [a] mortgage" as required by § 6111.
9-A M.R.S. § 5-111 provides, in pertinent part:
Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, a
notice to cure default for a consumer credit transaction
secured by a mortgage subject to Title 14, section 6111 must
satisfy the requirements of Title 14, section 6111 and not
the requirements of this section.
9-AM.RS. § 5-111(6) (2016). Title 14 § 6111, in
With respect to mortgages upon residential property located
in this State when the mortgagor is occupying all or a
portion of the property as the mortgagor's primary
residence and the mortgage secures a loan for personal,
family or household use, the mortgagee may not accelerate
maturity of the unpaid balance of the obligation or otherwise
enforce the mortgage because of a default consisting of the
mortgagor's failure to make any required payment, tax
payment or insurance premium payment, by any method
authorized by this chapter until at least 35 days after the
date that written notice pursuant to subsection 1-A is given
by the mortgagee to the mortgagor and any cosigner against
whom the mortgagee is enforcing the obligation secured by the
mortgage at the last known addresses of the mortgagor and any
cosigner that the mortgagor has the right to cure the default
by full payment of all amounts that are due without
acceleration, including reasonable interest and late charges
specified in the mortgage or note as well as reasonable
attorney's fees. If the mortgagor tenders payment of the
amounts before the date specified in the notice, the
mortgagor is restored to all rights under the mortgage deed
as though the default had not occurred.
14 M.R.S. § 6111(1) (2016).
interpreting a statute, [the court's] single goal is to
give effect to the Legislature's intent in enacting the
statute." Dickau v. Vt. Mut. Ins. Co., 2014 ME,
158, ¶ 19, 107 A.3d 621 (citation omitted). Initially,
the court seeks to accomplish this goal by "examining
the plain meaning of the statutory language and considering
the language in the context of the whole statutory
scheme." Darling's v. Ford Motor Co., 1998
ME 232, ¶ 5, 719 A.2d 111 (citations omitted). "A
plain language interpretation should not be confused with a
literal interpretation, however." Dickau, 2014
ME 158, ¶ 20, 107 A.3d 621(citations omitted).
"Rather, courts are guided by a host of principles
intended to assist in determining the meaning and intent of a
provision even within the confines of a plain language
analysis." Id. (citation omitted). One of these
principles is to take "into account the subject matter
and purposes of the statute, and the consequences of a
particular interpretation." Id. ¶ 21
(citation omitted). "In determining a statute's
'practical operation and potential consequences, '
[the court] may reject any construction that is 'inimical
to the public interest' or creates absurd, illogical,
unreasonable, inconsistent or anomalous results if an
alternative interpretation avoids such results."
Id. (quotation omitted); see also Darling's
v. Ford Motor Co., 1998 ME 232, ¶ 5, 719 A.2d 111
(the court avoids "statutory constructions that create
absurd, illogical or inconsistent results") (citation
statute is ambiguous, the court may look beyond the plain
language of the statute and the context of the statutory
scheme "to indicia of legislative intent such as the
statute's history and its underlying policy."
Fuhrmann v. Staples, 2012 ME 135, ¶ 23, 58 A.3d
1083 (quotation omitted). "A statute is ambiguous if it
is reasonably susceptible to different interpretations."
Id. (quotation omitted).
the plain language of 9-A M.R.S. § 5-111 and 14 M.R.S.
§ 6111 clearly provide that plaintiffs "Notice of
Default and Intent to Foreclose" (Notices) must satisfy
the requirements of section 6111. This is because 9-A M.R.S.
§ 5-111 requires such compliance whenever a consumer
credit transaction is "secured by a mortgage subject to
Title 14, section 6111." This language focuses upon
whether the mortgage is subject to section 6111, not
whether the creditor is also seeking to foreclose upon the
mortgage is subject to section 6111 if it is upon residential
property located in Maine where the mortgagor is occupying
all or a portion of the property as the mortgagor's
primary residence and the mortgage secures a loan for
personal, family, or household use. Here, the record is clear
that the mortgage is upon a residential property that serves
as the defendants' primary residence and secures a loan