MAINE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICT NO. 6, Plaintiff
INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF FRYE ISLAND, Defendant
D. Warren Justice.
the court are two interrelated motions: (1) a motion by three
residents of Frye Island to intervene as defendants and
counterclaimants in this case and (2) a motion by plaintiff
Maine School Administrative District No. 6 (MSAD 6) to
dismiss count III of the counterclaim filed by defendant
Inhabitants of the Town of Frye Island (Town).
case involves the latest chapter of a two decades-long
dispute relating to Frye Island's attempt to withdraw
from MSAD 6. This dispute was previously the subject of
litigation a decade ago. See Town of Frye Island v.
State, 2008 ME 27, 940 A.2d 1065.
the court construes the motion to intervene as primarily a
vehicle to raise the constitutional claims in Count III of
the Town's counterclaims in the event that the Town is
not found to have the right to assert those claims, the
motion to dismiss will be addressed first.
Motion to Dismiss
III of the Town's counterclaims alleges that if the 1997
statute allowing Frye Island to secede from the Town of
Standish (the "Secession Act"), as amended by a
clarifying statute in 2001 (the "Clarifying Act"),
interpreted to prohibit Frye Island from withdrawing from MS
AD 6, it will violate the equal protection and due process
rights of Frye Island and its residents under the U.S. and
Maine Constitutions, the Special and Emergency Legislation
clauses of the Maine Constitution, the right of Frye Island
and its residents to petition for redress of grievances under
the Maine Constitution, the right of Frye Island and its
residents to equal taxation under the Maine Constitution, and
the contract clause of the Maine Constitution.
initial matter, the Town does not offer any authority - and
the court is aware of none - for the proposition that it has
standing to assert the constitutional rights of its
residents. The remaining question is whether the
claims in Count III of the Town's counterclaim can be
asserted by the Town in its own right.
court concludes that, with one exception, the Town does not
have the right to assert any of the claims in Count III of
the counterclaim. Town of Frye Island v. State, 2008
ME 27 ¶ 11 n.3, citing Williams v. Mayor and City
Council of Baltimore, 289 U.S. 36, 40 (1933); South
Portland v. State, 476 A.2d 690, 693 (Me. 1984). The
exception is Frye Island's claim under the Special
Legislation clause of the Maine Constitution, in which Frye
Island claims that the Secession Act as amended improperly
exempts one municipality from generally applicable law.
Town cites a number of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that it
contends supports its right to assert the claims in count
III, but all are distinguishable. The Town also cites to the
Home Rule provision of the Maine Constitution and notes that
the Emergency Legislation clause of the Maine Constitution
specifically bars emergency legislation from infringing the
home rule rights of municipalities. Me. Const. Art. 4, Part
3, § 16(1). The problem with this argument is that,
regardless of its other alleged infirmities, the Secession
Act as amended does not intrude on any Home Rule rights that
the Town may have.
MS AD 6's motion to dismiss count III of the Town's
counterclaims is granted with the exception of the claim set
forth in paragraph 62(C) of the counterclaims.
noted above, the motion to intervene is a vehicle to raise
constitutional claims that the Town is unable to raise on its
outset, except for those claims which the Town does not have
any right to raise, the motion to intervene under Rule 24(a)
(Intervention of Right) is denied because that rule expressly
does not allow intervention when a proposed intervener's
interest "is adequately represented by existing
parties." The court cannot discern any conceivable
reason why the Town, represented the same counsel (Pierce
Atwood) that represents the proposed interveners, cannot
adequately represent the interests of the proposed
respect to the constitutional claims asserted in count III of
the counterclaim, MS AD 6 argues that - in light of the
dismissal of all but one of those claims - allowing the
motion to intervene would interject issues into the case that
would not otherwise be present. As a result, MSAD 6 argues
that intervention under Rule 24(a) is not appropriate
because, regardless of the outcome of this action, the
proposed interveners could bring an action on their own
behalf and the disposition of this action would not as a