Attorney for Plaintiff: Verne Paradie, Esq. Paradie
Seasonwein & Rabasco
Attorney for Defendant, Christian Roy: Russell Pierce, Esq.
Norman Hanson & Detroy
Attorney for Defendant, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland:
Gerald Petruccelli, Esq. Petruccelli Martin & Haddow
ORDER AND JUDGMENT
the court are the Motions for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendant Christian Roy and Defendant The Roman Catholic
Bishop of Portland ("the Diocese"), together with
Plaintiff Jeffrey Libby's opposition to both Motions, and
the Defendants' reply memoranda. Oral argument was held
November 29, 2017, at which time the court took the Motions
on the entire record, Defendants' Motions for Summary
Judgment are granted, for the reasons set forth below.
Jeffrey Libby's date of birth is February 20, 1963
(Diocese S.M.F. ¶ l.) In 1980, Libby moved from Florida
to Winslow, Maine and began attending high school while
residing with his grandparents. (Diocese S.M.F. ¶¶
9-11.) In 1986, Libby was convicted of the murder of his
grandfather and began serving a 60-year sentence at the Maine
State Prison. (Diocese S.M.F. ¶ 84.)
Diocese is the corporation sole that owns and administers the
Roman Catholic churches and facilities in Maine, and employs
and supervises the priests who serve within the Diocese.
1979, Defendant Christian Roy began working as a priest in
the Diocese, assigned as associate pastor for St.
Ignatius' Parish in Sanford, Maine. (Roy S.M.F. ¶
1.) In June of 1981, Roy was reassigned to Holy Family Parish
in Lewiston, Maine. (Roy S.M.F. ¶ 8.)
alleges that he was subjected to sexual abuse by Roy numerous
times in different locations, beginning in 1979 or 1980,
while he was a minor, and continuing through 1982, after he
had turned 18 years of age. See Libby Deposition at
of 1986, Roy was reassigned as pastor to St. Bernard's
Parish in Rockland, Maine. (Roy S.M.F. ¶ 9.) While
working at St. Bernard's Parish, Roy also served as a
part-time chaplain working 12 hours per week at the Maine
State Prison. (Roy S.M.F. ¶ 10-11.) Roy continued
serving as a part-time prison chaplain until 1991. (Roy
S.M.F. ¶ 14.) The Maine State Prison provided Roy with
an office and all items necessary for religious services.
(Roy S.M.F. ¶ 28.)
his tenure as prison chaplain, Roy was paid bi-weekly by the
State of Maine through direct payroll deposits to his bank
account. (Roy S.M.F. ¶ 12-13.) The Diocese did not
compensate priests for serving as chaplains in State
institutions. (Diocese S.M.F. ¶ 10-11.) As a prison
chaplain, Roy participated as a State employee in the Maine
Public Employee Retirement System. (See Roy S.M.F.
alleges that, between 1987 and 1991, while Roy was working as
a prison chaplain, Roy subjected him to numerous instances of
sexual touching at the State prison, causing significant
emotional distress. Libby Deposition at 136-38.
September 15, 2016, Libby filed a complaint against
Defendants Christian Roy and the Diocese. (Compl. at 1.) In
his complaint, Libby alleges that Roy sexually abused him
numerous times between 1979 and 1982. (Compl. ¶ 59.)
Libby also alleges that Roy continued to inflict emotional
distress on him between 1987 and 1991, while Libby was
incarcerated at the Maine State Prison. (Compl. ¶¶
47-48.) He alleges that the Diocese is liable for Roy's
actions before and during Libby's imprisonment, based on
respondeat superior and other theories.
3, 2017, this court granted in part Defendant Roy's
motion for judgment on the pleadings. Libby v. Roy,
No. PORSC-CV-16-357, 2017 Me. Super. LEXIS 135 (July 3,
2017). Based upon the statute of limitations applicable at
the time of the alleged abuse, this court entered judgment in
favor of Roy as to all claims accruing before Libby's
imprisonment. Id. at 6. However, the court denied
Roy's motion with respect to Libby's claims against
Roy arising out of Roy's service as a chaplain at the
Maine State Prison.
the Diocese filed its Motion for Summary Judgment on all of
Libby's claims against it, and Roy filed his Motion for
Summary Judgment on the remaining claims against him.
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[V] before the court [are]
solely... of law." Bouchard v. American
Orthodontics, 661 A.2d 1143, 44 (Me. 1995).
of fact must be viewed in a light most favorable to the
non-moving party-Plaintiff in this case. However,
"summary 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 the fact." Lougee
Conservancy v. City-Mortgage, Inc., 2012 ME 103, ¶
11, 48 A.3d 774 (quotation omitted).
Plaintiff's Prison-Based Claims against Defendant
Roy argues that while serving in his capacity as prison
chaplain he was an employee of the State, and that
Libby's claims relating to the 1987-91 period are
governed by the Maine Tort Claims Act (MTCA). See 14
M.RS. §§ 8101-8118 (2016). Pursuant to the MTCA,
claims against an employee of a governmental entity are
barred unless a notice of claim is given within 180 days of
the accrual of the cause of action, and an action is filed
within two years of accrual. See id. § 8107
(180-day notice requirement), § 8110 (two-year
limitations period). Roy argues that, because Plaintiff never
provided the 180-day notice required by the MTCA nor filed
suit within the applicable two-year statute of limitations,
his claims are time-barred.
Libby does not dispute Roy's contention that he has not
met the MTCA notice and filing deadlines. He also does not
contend that the MTCA deadlines are tolled by virtue of his
imprisonment. Rather, Libby contends that Roy was an
independent contractor for the State rather than a State
employee. Because the MTCA does not apply to torts committed
by independent contractors, see id. § 8102,
Libby argues that his claims against Roy are not subject to
the MTCA notice and limitations provisions.
MTCA defines the term "employee" in broad terms, as
"a person acting on behalf of a governmental entity in
any official capacity, whether temporarily or permanently,
and whether with or without compensation from local, state or
federal funds . . . ." Id. § 8102(1).
However, the MTCA specifically ...