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MSR Recycling, LLC v. Weeks & Hutchins, LLC

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

August 1, 2019

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

         Argued: June 13, 2019

Page 2

          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.

         OPINION

         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

Page 3

reversal to the Superior Court pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 80B; however, Clark failed to file a brief, resulting in ...


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