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Boutin v. R.E. Drapeau, Inc.

Superior Court of Maine, Kennebec

August 20, 2019

JESSICA ALLEN BOUTIN, Appellee
v.
R.E. DRAPEAU, INC, Appellant

          Plaintiff's Attorney Jessica Allen Boutin, Pro Se

          Defendant's Attorney Laura Piech, Esq.

          ORDER

         Before the Court is Appellant R.E. Drapeau, Inc.'s ("Drapeau's") Rule 76G appeal of a Small Claims decision of the District Court (Montgomery, J.). Appellee Jessica Allen Boutin ("Boutin") has also moved to dismiss the appeal based on the alleged failure of the appellant to timely request a copy of the transcript.

         Background

         This matter arises out of a dispute over a faulty clothes dryer which Boutin purchased from Drapeau and used, albeit briefly, in her hair and nail salon. Specifically, the parties dispute the applicability of the implied warranty of merchantability.

         On February 5, 2018, Boutin's husband Jeff went to Drapeau and inquired about purchasing a clothes dryer for Boutin's salon. (Tr.20, 58.) Jeff Spoke with Dan Poulin, a co-owner of Drapeau, about a specific model of a Whirlpool brand clothes dryer. (Tr. 58-59.) Dan told Jeff that there would be no warranty on the Dryer if it was used in Boutin's salon because the manufacturer would not cover it. (Tr. 59.) Jeff said he understood this and would talk to his wife about it. (Tr. 59.)

         The next day, February 6, 2018, Jeff returned to Drapeau and spoke with Ronald Poulin, Dan Poulin's brother and co-owner, and informed Ronald that he would like to purchase the Whirlpool dryer. (Tr. 59.) Ronald attempted to persuade Jeff to purchase a much less expensive model suggesting that it would be riskier to purchase the Whirlpool dryer because there was no warranty. (Tr. 59.) Jeff declined this invitation and purchased the Whirlpool dryer for $1, 170. (Tr. 11, 59.) The dryer was delivered and installed at Boutin's Salon the same day it was purchased. (Tr. 60.)

         Two days later, on February 8, 2018, the dryer stopped working. (Tr. 11.) Boutin called Drapeau and Dan went to the Salon to service the dryer. (Tr. 11, 36.) Dan discovered that the filter had not been properly inserted and adjusted the filter. (Tr. 36.) The next day, however, the dryer was still not working and was showing the same error code as the day before. (Tr. 11.) Dan returned to the salon and made an adjustment to the drainpipe to try and alleviate any strain on the dryer pump. (Tr. 11.) The Dryer worked for a couple of cycles before it once again stopped working and showed the same error code. (Tr. 12.) Boutin contacted Drapeau and spoke with Dan who told her that the dryer was not covered by a warranty and that Boutin would have to contact Whirlpool. (Tr. 14, 35, 37.) Drapeau refused to replace the dryer or the dryer pump. (Tr. 14.)

         Boutin initiated a small claims action on March 22, 2018 and a hearing was held on June 8, 2018. On June 19, 2018, judgment was granted to Boutin in the amount of $1, 170 and costs of $55.

         Standard of Review

         When a jury trial has not been requested, the Superior Court's review of a small-claims judgment rendered by the District Court is limited to questions of law only. M.R.S.C.P. 11(d); Taylor v. Walker, 2017 ME 218, ¶ 6, 173 A.3d 539. "Any findings of fact of the District Court shall not be set aside unless clearly erroneous." M.R. Civ. P. 76D. "Factual findings are deemed clearly erroneous only when there is no competent record evidence to support them." Thibeault v. Brackett, 2007 ME 154, ¶ 14, 938 A.2d 27.

         Discussion

         I. Appellee Boutin's Motion to Dismiss

         In her opposition, Boutin requests that the court dismiss the appeal for want of prosecution. In support of her arguments Boutin cites Rules 76F and 76H. Rule 76F requires the record on appeal to be "filed in the Superior Court not later than 40 days after the filing of the notice of appeal or 10 days after the filing of any transcript... whichever occurs later." M.R. Civ. P.76F(a). Additionally, Rule 76F specifies that "it is the Appellant's responsibility to insure that these time limits are met." If the Appellant fails to comply with Rule 76F, "the District Court may .. . dismiss the appeal for want of prosecution." Rule 76H ...


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