D. WARREN JUSTICE
the court is a motion to dismiss filed by defendant Maine
School Administrative District 6.
case is part of a two decades-long dispute relating to the
Town of Frye Island's attempt to withdraw from MSAD 6.
This dispute centers on emergency legislation enacted in 2001
(P. & S.L. 2001 ch. 8, also referred to as
':L.D. 500"), which states mat Frye
Island may not withdraw from MSAD 6 unless authorized by
further action by the Legislature.
500 was challenged previously in litigation that culminated
in the Law Court's 2008 decision in Town of Frye
Island v. Stale, 2008 ME 27, 940 A.2d 1065, although the
Law Court found that the issues with respect to L.D. 500 were
moot at that time. L.D. 500 is now also being challenged in a
pending Lawsuit between MSAD 6 and the Town of Frye Island in
which the plaintiffs in this action have intervened. MSAD
6 v. Town of Frye Island, CV-18-008 (Superior Court
Cumberland County). In that case the court recently granted
summary judgment to MSAD 6.
action plaintiffs Jim Hodge and Ed Rogers allege that L.D.
500 violates equal protection, due process, the Emergency
Legislation clause of the Maine Constitution, me right to
petition government for redress of grievances, and the right
to Equal Taxation under the Maine Constitution.
Hodge and Rogers allege they are residents, taxpayers, and
registered voters of the Town of Frye Island. Complaint
¶¶ 1-2. Frye Island is a seasonal community with
approximately 1500 seasonal and weekend residents and
approximately 160 registered voters. Id.
¶¶ 7, 9. Frye Island shuts down each winter from
November 1 to April 1, suspending ferry service, draining the
public water supply, and closing the island roads.
Id., ¶¶ 23-24, 
to the complaint, Frye Island has no school age children who
reside on the island during the school year and no residents
of the island attend MSAD 6 schools. Id.
¶¶ 31-32. Hodge and Rogers allege that Frye Island
made an annual contribution of approximately Si.5 million to
MSAD 6 in each of the years 2015, 2016, and 2017 and received
no services for that contribution. Id. ¶¶
and Rogers allege that they are injured by L.D. 500 because a
portion of their taxes go to MSAD 6, and L.D. 500 denies Frye
Island the ability to withdraw from MSAD 6 and thereby
relieve Frye Island residents from contributing to MSAD
6's finances. Id. ¶ 50.
purposes of a motion to dismiss, the material allegations of
the complaint must be taken as admitted. Ramseyy. Baxter
Title Co., 2012 ME 113 ¶ 2, 54 A.3d 710.
The complaint must be read in the light most favorable to the
plaintiffs to determine if it sets forth elements of a cause
of action or alleges facts that would entitle plaintiffs to
relief pursuant to some legal theory. Bisson v. Hannaford
Bros. Co., Inc., 2006 ME 131 ¶ 2, 909 A.2d 1010.
Dismissal is appropriate only when it appears beyond doubt
that the plaintiffs are not entitled to relief under any set
of facts that they might prove in support of their claim.
Moody v. State Liquor & Lottery Commission, 2004
ME 20 ¶ 7, 843 A.2d 43. However, the plaintiffs may not
proceed if the complaint fails to allege essential elements
of the cause of action. See Potter, Prescott, Jamieson
& Nelson P. A. v. Campbell, 1998 ME 70 ¶¶
6-7, 708 A.2d 283.
considering a motion to dismiss, the court can consider
official public documents and documents that are central to
plaintiffs' claim without converting a motion to dismiss
into a motion for summary judgment. Moody v. State Liquor
& Lottery Commission, 2004 ME 20 ¶¶ 9-10.
In this case, therefore, the court can consider the text and
provisions of L.D. 500 although L.D. 500 is nowhere quoted in
pending motion MSAD 6 challenges the standing of Hodge and
Rogers to pursue this action and the sufficiency of the
factual allegations supporting their complaint.
standing in cases brought against units of local government
appears to depend on whether the taxpayers are seeking
preventive or remedial relief and, if remedial relief is
sought, whether the taxpayers have demonstrated
particularized injury. See Petrin v. Town of
Scarborough, 2016 ME 136 ¶ 20, 147 A.3d 842. In
this case, however, Hodge and Rogers are not challenging
actions by municipal authorities with respect to taxation or
apportionment. They are instead challenging a state statute
which prevents Frye Island's attempt to withdraw from
MSAD 6 and thereby causes a portion of their property taxes
to be contributed to an entity from which they receive no
respect to taxpayer standing in cases challenging state
governmental action, the Law Court has abandoned the
distinction between preventative and remedial relief in cases
where taxpayers allege that the State is acting in violation
of the Constitution and injuring them by raising their taxes.
Common Cause v. State, 455 A.2d 1, 9-13 (Me. 1982).
Although the State was a named party in Common Cause
and is not a named party in this case, Common Cause
involved state action taken pursuant to legislation
authorizing a bond issue which was then approved by the
voters in a referendum. 455 A.2d at 5. Because Hodge and
Rogers are similarly challenging a state statute which they
allege raises their taxes, the court sees no reason to apply
the preventative vs. remedial distinction in this case.
that distinction were to be applied, Hodge and Rogers are
seeking a declaratory judgment that L.D, 500 is
unconstitutional, which appears to be a form of preventative
rather than remedial relief. Accordingly, the court does not
have to consider the issue of whether Hodge and Rogers have
shown a particularized injury given that the effect of L.D,
500 on their taxes is indirect, rather than direct. On the
issue of taxpayer standing, the court concludes that Hodge
and Rogers may proceed with this action.
as noted below, it appears that in some instances Hodge and
Rogers are attempting to assert claims on behalf of the Town
of Frye Island rather than on their own behalf, and it is not
clear that they have standing to do so. The court will
consider those issues in connection with MS AD 6's
arguments that each of the claims set forth in the complaint
fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
drafted, the complaint consists of one count, generally
alleging that L.D. 500 is unconstitutional. However, in the
portion of the complaint addressed to the relief requested,
Hodge and Rogers are seeking separate declaratory judgments
that L.D. 500 (1) violates equal protection, (2) violates due
process, (3) violated the Emergency Legislation Clause, (4)
violates the right to ...