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Chase v. Chase

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

December 15, 2017

JOHN F. CHASE Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendant
v.
BRUCE G. CHASE Defendant and Counterclaim Plaintiff and JANET CHASE Counterclaim Plaintiff

          Attorney for Plaintiff: Gene Libby, Esq., Tyler Smith, Esq., Libby O'Brien Kingsley.

          Bruce Chase, Defendant and Counterclaim Plaintiff. Pro-Se.

          Janet Chase, Counterclaim Plaintiff only, Pro-Se.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          A. M. Horton, Justice.

         This case is before the court in connection with Plaintiff John F. Chase's Motion for Summary Judgment on All Pending Claims. Defendant and Counterclaim Plaintiff Bruce G. Chase and Counterclaim Plaintiff Janet Chase have filed a response, titled Answer to Motion for Summary Judgment, but have not filed any signed opposing affidavits or any statement in response to Plaintiffs statement of material facts.

         The court elects to decide Plaintiffs Motion without oral argument. See M.R. Civ. P. 7(b)(7). Based on the entire record and for the reasons set forth herein, the Plaintiffs Motion is hereby granted in part.

         Background

         The underlying facts can be summarized as follows:

         Plaintiff John F. Chase and Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff Bruce G. Chase are brothers. Counterclaim Plaintiff Janet Chase is Bruce Chase's spouse.

         In 2015, Bruce Chase was convicted of a felony theft charge for misappropriating about $159, 000. John Chase paid restitution of $159, 000 on behalf of his brother and also paid off about $58, 000 of credit card debt owed by Bruce and Janet Chase. In consideration for the payments made by John Chase on his and his wife's behalf, Bruce Chase executed a Secured Promissory Note dated May 1, 2015 for the principal amount of $228, 013.30, with interest at 8% annually. The Note recites that payment is due only upon Bruce Chase's death, and it is secured by four life insurance policies covering Bruce Chase as the named insured:

Primerica Insurance policy no. 0421725562
Maine Public Employees Retirement System Group Life Policy
CMFG Life Insurance Company Group Accidental Death Insurance Policy, Credit Union No. 018-0005-0, Certificate No. G2490467
Portland Maine Police Department Federal Credit Union, Association No. 018-0082-7, Certificate No. A4546809

         The Note requires Bruce Chase to "immediately execute Beneficiary Designations which shall designate John F. Chase as the sole and irrevocable beneficiary of the above-named policies." The Note also requires Bruce Chase to make timely payment of all premiums due on the policies, and provides that, if John Chase pays any premium, the amount paid will be added to the total principal due, with interest at 8%.

         The Note contains a merger provision: "This Note sets forth the entire understanding of the Borrower and Lender with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes any prior agreement, representations or understandings related to the same."

         John Chase's Complaint alleges that Bruce Chase has failed to execute the irrevocable designations of John Chase as beneficiary, as required by the Note. His Complaint alleges breach of contract and seeks specific performance and injunctive relief-a judgment requiring Bruce Chase to execute the designations and enjoining him from making any further changes in beneficiary on the four policies.

         Bruce Chase responded to the Complaint with an answer and counterclaim, and his wife, Janet Chase, joined the action as a counterclaim plaintiff. Their New Amended Counterclaim alleges that John Chase is in breach of an agreement that he and Bruce and Janet Chase reached in 2009, with the following material terms:

• John Chase would provide Bruce and Janet Chase with housing in Naples, Maine, at no cost, for as long as ...

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