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Latest from Maine Appeals

The Law Court recently addressed an issue of great importance to appellate practitioners: does a party need to cross-appeal a favorable judgment in order to preserve an argument providing alternate grounds for affirmance, when the lower court rejected that argument? The answer, per the Law Court’s decision, is “yes.” As the Law Court’s decision makes clear, and as my predecessor on this blog has noted, a cross-appeal is the only way to ensure that…
The Law Court recently issued a short decision, Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB v. Abildgaard, which provides a reminder of the importance of taking the appropriate steps at trial to ensure that interlocutory orders can be challenged on appeal. On its facts, Abildgaard is fairly straightforward. Wilmington Savings Fund sought to foreclose on Abildgaard’s mortgage. To prevail, Wilmington was required to prove (among other things) that it had sent a proper notice of default…
The coronavirus shut-down has been anything but a slow-down for this attorney-blogger, but it hasn’t entirely prevented me from continuing to muse about the Maine Constitution during its now-cancelled bicentennial celebration. So I thought I would give the Constitution a little more of the attention it is due, despite the coronavirus. (A welcome respite to think about something else, no?) When I last blogged about the Maine Constitution, just before its 200th birthday, I asked…
I recently wrote about the orders affecting appellate practice during the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the importance of staying up to date with current developments.  While those developments continue at a relentless pace, there was one I thought it particularly helpful to highlight here.  The Maine Supreme Court recently issued a consolidated Pandemic Management Order.  That order addresses the 49-day extension to appellate deadlines, and makes it clear that the deadline for filing notices of…
Holed up here in my home office like many of you, I thought it would be a helpful time to take stock of the current state of affairs in the courts of appeal during this pandemic. As with most of life, COVID-19 has disrupted normal operations, leaving all of us in a state of uncertainty. But here is where things currently stand: In the Supreme Court, the March oral argument session has been cancelled –…
On March 15, 2020, Maine turns 200 years old. For any Mainer, especially history buffs, the bicentennial is an occasion worth celebrating. For any legal beagle, the bicentennial is worth celebrating for an additional reason: Maine’s Constitution is also celebrating its 200th birthday. The Maine Constitution was adopted at convention on October 29, 1819, approved by the people on December 6, 1819, and became effective on the same date Maine became a state. The Maine…
Spreading the news that e-filing is coming might not have quite the same importance as the message delivered by Paul Revere and his fellow riders in 1775 – but e-filing is still worth noting. I attended the Maine State Bar Association winter meeting in January, which gave Maine practitioners a sneak preview of the state courts’ new e-filing system, File & Serve. It was an interesting and informative session. The tentative plan, as attendees were…
As loyal readers of this blog already know, Cathy Connors – the former author of this blog and my former colleague here at Pierce Atwood – has moved on to bigger and better things: an appointment to Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court. My hat is off to her for this well-deserved achievement.  Her formidable intellect will be a credit to the bench (and her sharp questions doubtless a scourge to any lawyer who is less than…
So, as some of my loyal readers may have heard, I am off to other adventures. After 11+ years of beavering away on this blog, commenting on “interesting” decisions emanating from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, it looks like I will now be participating in issuing those “interesting” opinions. Let’s hope those black robes are slimming! It’s been fun working on this blog these many years – at least for me. Some of you might…
As our last entry this year before heading off for the holidays, let’s take a look at a recent First Circuit decision in a Maine criminal case with a rare holding that the trial court abused its discretion in an evidentiary ruling, and the error wasn’t harmless. US v. Kilmartin, No. 18-1513 (Dec. 6, 2019). Judge Selya wrote the decision, with Judges Barron and Boudin on the panel. Jamesa Drake represented the defendant on…