ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
the court is defendants Maine Media Collective, LLC, and
Kevin Thomas's motion to dismiss pursuant to M.R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6). For the following reasons, defendants' motion
to dismiss is DENIED in part and GRANTED in part.
Jessie Lacey is a resident of Portland. (Compl. ¶ 2.)
Defendant Kevin Thomas is a resident of Yarmouth and was the
owner and CEO of defendant Maine Media Collective, LLC (MMC),
a Maine corporation with its principal place of business in
Portland. (Compl. ¶¶ 3, 4, 7.) Plaintiff worked for
defendants from 2006 to November 2010. (Compl. ¶ 10);
(Defs.' Ex. C.)
April 26, 2018, plaintiff published a blog post detailing her
experience as an employee of MMC and described incidents of
sexual harassment, abuse, retaliation, and bullying. (Compl.
¶ 50); (Defs.' Ex. A.) In response to this blog post
and a story published in the Bollard detailing similar
incidents, (Defs.' Ex. B), both defendant Thomas and
defendant MMC made statements relating to the accusations
levied against them. (Compl. ¶¶ 51, 55-67, 72,
74-80.) Plaintiff alleges that many of these statements were
defamatory and were intended to cause her emotional distress.
(See Compl. ¶¶ 84-99.)
reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to M.R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6), the court "examine[s] the complaint in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff to determine whether it
sets forth elements of a cause of action or alleges facts
that would entitle the plaintiff to relief pursuant to some
legal theory." In re Wage Payment Litig. v. Wal-Mart
Stores. Inc., 2000 ME 162, ¶ 3, 759 A.2d 217.
"Dismissal is warranted when it appears beyond a doubt
that the plaintiff is not entitled to relief under any set of
facts that he might prove in support of his claim."
Johanson v. Dunnington. 2001 ME 169, ¶ 5, 785
the court considers only the allegations in the complaint,
which are accepted as true. Nadeau v. Frydrych. 2014
ME 154, ¶ 8, 108 A.3d 1254; Moody v. State Liquor
& lottery Comm'n. 2004 ME 20, ¶ 8, 843 A.2d
43. A court may, however, consider official public documents,
documents that are central to a plaintiff's claim, and
documents referred to in the complaint without converting a
motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment.
Moody. 2004 ME 20, ¶ 11, 843 A.2d 43; see
also M.R. Civ. P. 12(b). Defendants attached three
exhibits to their motion to dismiss pursuant to
Moody. The court has considered the exhibits, which
include plaintiff's blog article about defendants, a
Bollard article about the defendants, and plaintiff's
termination letter from MMC, because all three are
"documents referred to in the complaint." 2004 ME
20, ¶8, 843 A.2d 43.
court notes that the defamation cases on which defendants
rely for the motion to dismiss involved motions for summary
judgment, judgments after trial, or case law from other
jurisdictions. See McKee v. Cosby, 874 F.3d 54,
59-60 (1st Cir. 2017) (Michigan law); Pan Am Sys. v. Atl.
Ne. Rails & Ports. Inc., 804 F.3d 59, 62 (1st Cir.
2015) (summary judgment); Gray v. St. Martin's Press.
Inc., 221 F.3d 243, 247 (1st Cir. 2000) (summary
judgment and judgment after trial); Flotech. Inc. v. E.
I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., 814 F.2d 775, 776-77
(1st Cir. 1987) (summary judgment; Massachusetts law);
Green v. Cosby, 138 F.Supp.3d 114, 124 (D. Mass.
2015) (California and Florida law); Schatz v. Republican
State Leadership Comm., 777 F.Supp.2d 181, 189 (D. Me.
2011) (federal court procedure); McNamee v. Clemens,
762 F.Supp.2d 584, 599-600 (E.D.N.Y. 2011) (New York law);
Stark v. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Inc., 587 F.Supp.2d
170, 174 (D.D.C. 2008) (summary judgment); Levesque v.
Doocy, 557 F.Supp.2d 157, 159 (D. Me. 2008) (summary
judgment); Norris v. Bangor Publ'g. Co., 53
F.Supp.2d 495, 498 (D. Me. 1999) (summary judgment);
Novecon, Ltd. v. Bulgarian-American Enter. Fund. 977
F.Supp. 45, 46 (D.D.C. 1997) (summary judgment); Ballard
v. Wagner, 2005 ME 86, ¶ 9, 877 A.2d 1083 (judgment
after trial); Rice v. Alley. 2002 ME 43, ¶ 1,
791 A.2d 932 (judgment after trial); Rippett v.
Bemis, 672 A.2d 82, 84 (Me. 1996) (summary judgment);
Lester v. Powers, 596 A.2d 65, 66 (Me. 1991)
(summary judgment); Bakal v. Weare, 583 A.2d 1028,
1029 (Me. 1990) (summary judgment); Picard v.
Brennan, 307 A.2d 833, 833 (Me. 1973) Qudgment after
trial); Brown v. Guy Gannett Pub. Co., 147 Me. 3, 5,
82 A.2d 797, 798 (1951) (motion to dismiss; defendant
admitted falsity and intent to injure plaintiff). The
standard of review for a motion to dismiss differs from that
for a motion for summary judgment or a judgment after trial.
M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); 56(c); Ballard, 2005 ME 86,
¶ 11, 877 A.2d 1083 ("[A] determination by the
fact-finder of whether the alleged defamatory statement is
fact or opinion is subject to review for clear error.").
Further, no analysis has been presented with regard to
whether Maine law and the law from other jurisdictions are
defamation claim, plaintiff must allege:
(a) a false and defamatory statement concerning another;
(b) an unprivileged publication to a third party;
(c) fault amounting to at least to negligence on the part of
the publisher; and
(d) either actionability of the statement irrespective of
special harm or the existence of special harm caused by the
Morgan v. Kooistra,
2008 ME 26, ¶ 26, 941 A.2d
447. Plaintiff alleges the following instances constituted