MARIAH PENNELL, Individually and on behalf of the Estate of Harold Howard Owen, Sr., Plaintiffs
MARGARET L. KELLEY and INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF TOPSHAM, Defendants.
PENNELL - PLAINTIFF OBO Attorney for: MARIAH PENNELL,
JENNIFER A DAVIS
OWEN EST OF SR - PLAINTIFF MARGARET KELLET - DEFENDANT
Attorney for: MARGARET KELLEY DONALD S LAWSOK-STOPFS -
INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF TOPSHAM - DEFENDANT Attorney for;
INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF TOPSHAM MICHAEL ECDGINS - RETAINED
BERNSTEIN SHDH SAWYER S. NELSON
ORDER AND DECISION ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
I. Billings, Justice.
matter is before the Court on Defendant Margaret L.
Kelley's Motion to Dismiss, joined by Defendant Town of
Topsham ("the Town").
1970, Gilbert B. Stanbridge granted the property at 223 Ward
Road, Topsham, Maine to "Harold Howard Owen, Jr."
(Def.'s Mot. Ex. 5). This deed was recorded in the
Sagadahoc County Registry of Deeds at Book 372, Page 115.
(Def.'s Mot. Ex. 5).
Howard Owen, Sr., was domiciled at 223 Ward Road at the time
of his death on May 7, 2009. (Def.'s Mot. Ex. 1).
Plaintiff, Mariah Pennell, is Harold Howard Owen, Sr.'s
daughter, sole devisee, and personal representative of his
estate. (Def.'s Mot. Ex. 1 & 2). On the application
for informal probate, completed by Plaintiff and signed on
June 3, 2009, the probate estate is listed as containing real
estate in the Town. (Def.'s Mot. Ex. 1).
20, 2009, the Town sent a Tax Collector's Notice, Lien
Claim and Demand 30 Day Notice to Harold Howard Owen, Jr.,
the owner of record for 223 Ward Road. (Def.'s Mot. Ex.
3). On August 26, 2009, the Town sent a Tax Lien Certificate
to Harold Howard Owen, Jr., the owner of record for 223 Ward
Road. (Def.'s Mot. Ex. 4).
January 25, 2011, the Town sent a Notice of Impending
Automatic Foreclosure to Harold Howard Owen, Jr., which was
returned as "not deliverable as addressed, unable to
forward." (Pl.'s Opp. Ex. 2). The returned envelope
had the message "PO Box 292, ?, leave it alone per
Ruth" written on the front. (Pl.'s Opp. Ex. 2).
Town's "vision card," as printed on April 9,
2010, reflects Harold Howard Owen Jr., as the owner of record
of 223 Ward Street. (Pl.'s Opp. Ex. 3). Someone added a
note by hand to the vision card that reads: "Probate
Howard SR?, c/o Mariah L. Pennell." (Pl.'s Opp. Ex.
3 (emphasis in original)). Despite this note, Plaintiff did
not receive notice from the Town of the impending
foreclosure. (Compl. ¶ 13). The foreclosure redemption
period expired on February 26, 2011. (Def Mot. Ex. 6).
26, 2011 Town Board of Selectmen's meeting minutes
reflect the following under the heading "Consideration
and Any Appropriate Action on the Tax-Acquired Property
Formerly Owned by Harold Owen, Jr.":
Following an explanation by the Town Manager that the Owen
family has submitted a $3, 100 check to cover all back-taxes,
lien charges and interest which happened because they never
received the lien notice because of a Jr./Sr. mix up ... it
was unanimously VOTED to authorize the Town Manager to accept
the $3, 100 for back taxes and to authorize a Quit Claim
(Pl.'s Opp. Ex. 4). Plaintiff contends that the Owen
family did not know of the mix up. (Pl.'s Opp. p. 3).
Plaintiff claims this by asserting that Defendant Kelley is
not a part of the Owen family, despite Defendant Kelley's
denial and assertion that she married a biological member of
the Owen family. (Compl. ...