ERIC N. FITZPATRICK
Submitted On Briefs: January 11, 2018
M. Dunleavy, Esq., Currier & Trask, PA, Presque Isle, for
appellant Eric N. Fitzpatrick
McCrary, appellee pro se
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Eric N. Fitzpatrick appeals from a judgment entered by the
District Court (Houlton, O'Mara, J.) denying his
M.R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion for relief from judgment after the
court granted Arlene McCrary's motion to modify a
parental rights and responsibilities order regarding their
son. We affirm the judgment.
Fitzpatrick and McCrary are the parents of a child, born June
15, 2013. In November 2013, Fitzpatrick filed a complaint
seeking a determination of parental rights and
responsibilities. The District Court [Daigle, J.)
entered a judgment and ordered shared parental rights with
primary residence awarded to McCrary. Several years later, on
January 28, 2016, the District Court [Soucy, J.)
granted Fitzpatrick's subsequent motion to modify after
the parties agreed to an order changing primary residence
from McCrary to Fitzpatrick.
On April 14, 2016, McCrary filed a motion for contempt
against Fitzpatrick, alleging that Fitzpatrick failed to
comply with the modified parental rights and responsibilities
order. Twelve days later, on April 26, 2016-while that motion
was "out" for service-Fitzpatrick filed a complaint
in the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania,
seeking an order to confirm that he had legal custody of the
child. Less than two months later, on June 24,
2016, before her contempt motion was served on Fitzpatrick,
McCrary filed a motion to modify the parental rights and
responsibilities order in the District Court in Houlton. On
August 3, 2016, the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas
entered an "interim order" that purported to
"supersede all prior Orders in any jurisdiction"
and provided that "[jurisdiction of this matter . . .
and the child shall remain with [the Pennsylvania Court]
until further Order of Court."
After he was finally served with McCrary's motions early
in August, Fitzpatrick filed a motion to dismiss
McCrary's motion to modify in the District Court in
Houlton, arguing that Maine lacked subject matter
jurisdiction over the matter because "the Pennsylvania
court has assumed full jurisdiction over the matter, [and]
superseded the Order of the State of Maine."
Fitzpatrick's motion to dismiss contained factual
assertions-without any accompanying affidavits-and legal
arguments. After a pretrial/status conference on the issue of
jurisdiction, the court [O'Mara, J.) denied that
motion, determining, in relevant part, that
once "Home State" jurisdiction is established, no
other state may simply "assume full jurisdiction"
such that its orders "supersede" orders of the
"Home State, " unless the parties and the child
have all left the "Home State." Here, while
[Fitzpatrick] and the child have moved to Pennsylvania,
[there] is not even an allegation that [McCrary] no longer
lives in Maine, or has left this immediate area.
filed a motion to reconsider, which included further factual
assertions-again, without any accompanying affidavits-and
legal arguments. The court denied that motion in an order
dated February 21, 2017. On the same date, following a
hearing where Fitzpatrick failed to appear, the court granted
McCrary's motion to modify, awarding her primary
residence of the child.
Several weeks later, on March 8, 2017, the court had a
telephone conference with the Pennsylvania Court of Common
Pleas judge who had issued the "interim order" in
August 2016, regarding home state jurisdiction. As a result
of that conference, the Pennsylvania court entered an order
"relinquishing] jurisdiction of this case and find[ing]
that jurisdiction lies with the Maine District Court."
On April 3, 2017, Fitzpatrick filed in the Maine District
Court a motion for relief from judgment and requested a
hearing regarding that motion. See M.R. Civ. P.
60(b)(4). The court denied that motion on June 7, 2017.
Fitzpatrick then filed a motion for findings of fact, which
the court denied. See M.R. Civ. P. 52(b). This