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McGeachey v. Portland Water District

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

November 20, 2017

ANNA McGEACHEY Plaintiff
v.
PORTLAND WATER DISTRICT Defendant

          Attorney for Plaintiff: Thimi Mina, Esq. McCloskey Mina & Cunniff.

          Attorneys for Defendant: Thomas McKeon, Esq. Joseph Cahoon, Esq. Richardson Whitman Large & Badger.

          ORDER ON DEFEND ANTS MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          A. M. Horton, Justice.

         Pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 56, Defendant Portland Water District has moved for partial summary judgment. Plaintiff Anna McGeachey opposes the motion, and Defendant has filed a reply memorandum. The court elects to decide the motion without oral argument. See M.R. Civ. P. 7(b)(7).

         Defendant's motion has three grounds:

• Defendant seeks an order limiting its liability to Plaintiff to the $400, 000 damages cap contained in the Maine Tort Claims Act ("MTCA" or "the Act")
• Defendant seeks an order precluding Plaintiff from recovering any damages for lost earnings, on the ground that the MTCA precludes an award of such damages
• Defendant seeks an order precluding Plaintiff from recovering any damages for lost earnings on the ground that Plaintiffs claim for lost earnings is too speculative to be the basis for an award of damages

         For the reasons set forth below, the court grants the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in part, and otherwise denies it.

         I. Background

         Defendant is a governmental entity for purposes of the immunity and limitations provisions of the MTCA. See 14 M.R.S. § 8102(3) (definition of "political subdivision" includes water districts). Plaintiff claims to have been injured in an automobile accident for which Defendant is liable. She claims that her injuries have limited her ability to pursue her career as a musician, and seeks damages for lost earnings, among other categories of damages.

         2. Standard of Review

         "The function of a summary judgment is to permit a court, prior to trial, to determine whether there exists a triable issue of fact or whether the question's] before the court 'are] solely . . . of law." Bouchard v. American Orthodontics, 661 A.2d 1143, 44 (Me. 1995).

         "[S]ummary judgment is appropriate when the portions of the record referenced in the statements of material fact disclose no genuine issues of material fact and reveal that one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Currie v. Indus. Sec, Inc.,2007 ME 12, ¶ 11, 915 A.2d 400. "A material fact is one that can affect the outcome of the case, and a genuine issue exists when there is sufficient evidence for a fact finder to choose between competing versions of ...


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