Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MSR Recycling, LLC v. Weeks & Hutchins, LLC

Supreme Court of Maine

August 1, 2019

MSR RECYCLING, LLC, et al.
v.
WEEKS & HUTCHINS, LLC, et al.

          Argued: June 13, 2019

          Phillip E. Johnson, Esq. (orally), Johnson, Webbert & Young, LLP, Augusta, for appellants MSR Recycling, LLC, et al.

          John S. Whitman, Esq., and Heidi J. Eddy, Esq. (orally), Richardson, Whitman, Large & Badger, Portland, for appellees Weeks & Hutchins, LLC, et al.

          Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          MEAD, J.

         [¶1] MSR Recycling, LLC; Fred Black Properties, LLC; and Fred Black (collectively, MSR) appeal from a summary judgment entered by the Superior Court (Kennebec County, Stokes, J.) in favor of Attorney Matthew Clark and Weeks & Hutchins, LLC (collectively, Clark) on MSR's complaint alleging attorney malpractice. The court concluded that MSR failed to present evidence of causation to proceed with its legal malpractice claim against Clark. We vacate the judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Underlying Case

         [¶2] In January 2012, MSR submitted an application for site plan review to the Town of Madison Code Enforcement Officer for approval of a commercial facility that was to receive motor vehicles and appliances such as stoves and refrigerators for transport to MSR's recycling facility in Winslow. The Town's Planning Board held several public hearings and meetings on MSR's application for site plan approval during which the Board received evidence concerning the facility's satisfaction of the Town's Site Review Ordinance requirements. The Board approved the application on October 15, 2012.

         [¶3] Abutters to the site appealed the decision of the Planning Board to the Town's Board of Appeals (BOA), and MSR hired Clark to represent it before the BOA. The BOA met on December 6, 2012, for the purpose of hearing the appeal. Three members of the BOA believed that the Planning Board had not properly characterized the business to be conducted at the site and that the facility was going to be an automobile and metal recycling facility.[1] The BOA voted 3-2 to reverse the decision of the Planning Board. MSR, represented by Clark, appealed the BOA's reversal to the Superior Court pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 8OB; however, Clark failed to file a brief, resulting in dismissal of the appeal.

         B. Claim Against Clark

         [¶4] On February 6, 2017, MSR, represented by new counsel, filed a complaint in the Superior Court alleging that it suffered harm due to Clark's negligence. Clark filed a motion for summary judgment on January 18, 2018, arguing that MSR could not show that Clark's breach of duty was the proximate cause of MSR's alleged harm because the operative decision to be reviewed was the BOA decision, and there was a sufficient basis for the BOA to conclude that the proposed use of the property was as an automobile graveyard or junkyard. Thus, according to Clark, MSR could not show that a different and better result would have occurred absent Clark's negligence, thereby entitling Clark to summary judgment on MSR's complaint.

         [¶5] On November 9, 2018, the court granted Clark's motion for summary judgment. It concluded that, regardless of the operative decision to be reviewed on appeal, the reviewing court would have held that MSR's proposed operation amounted to a junkyard as a matter of state law, and therefore MSR could not show either that the Planning Board's decision would have been upheld ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.