TOWN OF ARUNDEL et al.
DUBOIS LIVESTOCK, INC., et al.
Submitted On Briefs: April 24, 2019
S. MacColl, Esq., Thompson, MacColl & Bass, LLC, P.A.,
Portland, for appellant Dubois Livestock, Inc.
B. Rachin, Esq., Bergen & Parkinson, LLC, Kennebunk, for
appellees Town of Arundel et al.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
Dubois Livestock, Inc., a corporation based in Arundel, and
Cynthia Dubois, Trustee of the Randrick Trust (collectively,
the Dubois entities) appeal from an order entered by the
Superior Court (York County, O'Neil, J.) denying
a motion for contempt filed by several individuals-Randy
Dubois, Marcel Dubois, and Sol Fedder (the
individuals)-against the town and others and granting the
Town of Arundel's motion for sanctions in the form of a
vexatious litigant order (VLO) in two consolidated land-use
matters. The Dubois entities now argue that the individuals
lacked standing to file a motion in the matter, and thus the
court's order on the merits of the motion and the VLO
order should be vacated. Because we agree that the
individuals were not properly before the court, the order on
the motion for contempt must be vacated. Because the
individuals were dismissed as parties to this appeal, the VLO
must be vacated as well.
In 2015, the Town filed two M.R. Civ. P. 8OK complaints
against the Dubois entities alleging violations of land-use
laws. In 2016, the parties agreed to a consent order
resolving the issues, and the court entered a consented-to
order that listed the Town and the Dubois entities as the
only parties. The individuals were not parties, and the order
did not mention them.
One year later, the individuals filed a motion in that
proceeding seeking a contempt order against the Town, the
Arundel Planning Board (APB), and individual members of the
APB,  asserting that they had violated the
consent order by denying the Dubois entities a permit that it
applied for a few months earlier. See M.R. Civ. P.
66. The Town responded by defending against the merits of the
individuals' arguments. In addition, the Town moved for
sanctions in the form of a VLO against both the individuals
and the Dubois entities. See Spickler v. Key Bank of
Southern Maine, 618 A.2d 204, 207 (Me. 1992) (holding
that "a court may enjoin a party from filing frivolous
and vexatious lawsuits"). The Town did not raise the
issue of the individuals' standing to file motions in the
In addressing the individuals' motion for contempt, the
court heard oral argument on the meaning of the consent order
from only the individuals and the Town. Following the
hearing, the court issued an order denying the motion for
contempt on its merits. At the same time, the court entered a
VLO against the individuals, prohibiting them from filing any
proceedings against "individual town officials, . . .
and others who [they] may try to sue in their individual
capacity" without prior approval of the court. The court
denied the motion for a VLO against the Dubois entities
because the entities were not named in the contempt
proceedings and had not filed the allegedly vexatious motion.
The Dubois entities and the individuals timely filed a notice
of appeal, see 14 M.R.S. § 1901 (2018); M.R.
App. P. 2B(c)(1), and, after receiving briefing on the issue
of standing, we entered an order dismissing the individuals
as parties to the appeal for want of standing. We also
ordered, "The appeal of [the] Dubois [entities] will
proceed in the usual course." M.R. App. P. 10(a)(4).
Motion for Contempt
The Town, asking that the court's order denying the
motion for contempt be affirmed, now argues that the
individuals did have standing to file the motion, and
therefore the court did not err in acting on that motion. The
Town supports its argument by reasoning that the consent
order "represented a global settlement of not only two
Rule 8OK land-use enforcement actions by the Town against
Dubois, but also six pending cases" initiated by the
individuals against the Town. Notably, none of the parties
moved to ...