Courts Reduce Hours

In order to save money in the face of a budget shortfall, several courts are cutting their hours on certain days:

YORK DISTRICT COURT will be closed from 8 to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays.

SPRINGVALE DISTRICT COURT will be closed on the first Wednesday of every month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

BIDDEFORD DISTRICT COURT will be closed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays.

YORK COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT will be closed from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

PORTLAND DISTRICT COURT will be closed from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays.

BRIDGTON DISTRICT COURT will be closed from 8 a.m. to noon on Mondays.

Press Herald

Gay Marriage Bill To Be Introduced

In what will certainly be controversial, supporters of same-sex marriage are hoping to make it legal in Maine.

Gay marriage supporters announced today they are moving forward with legislation that will permit same-sex couples to wed in Maine.

The bill, to be sponsored by Sen. Dennis Damon, D-Trenton, would end the prohibition on qualified gay and lesbian couples from marrying in Maine, according to a statement from the Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition.

The bill codifies civil marriage in Maine law as the legally recognized union of two people. The bill affirms that religious institutions continue to have control over their own religious doctrine and teachings regarding who may marry within each faith.

Finally, the bill recognizes the validity of marriages validly licensed and certified in other states.

The coalition includes EqualityMaine, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Maine Civil Liberties Union, and the Maine Women’s Lobby.

Opponents, including the Catholic Diocese of Portland and the Maine Family Policy Council, said they will fight the bill as it goes through the legislative process.

Law Firm Sued Over Oil Contract

The Kennec Journal reports on the law firm Linnell, Choate and Webber is being sued by Downeast Energy Corp.  for breaching an oil purchase contract.  The firm allegedly locked in the price of oil over the summer when it was at $4.36, but is now refusing to take any more oil at that price, which is nearly double the current rate.

The firm is claiming that there was not in fact a contract because Downeast did not provide a signed confirmation of the agreement.  However the firm has accepted the delivery of some oil since the agreement was made.

With contract disputes, what was actually agreed to will decide.  However here the firm is claiming the contract was never ratified.  The Court will first need to look at the ‘who did what and when’ to determine if the contract was actually formed.  The fact that the firm did accept oil deliveries, and presumably paid the higher price will go against them.  The court will  also look to see what is the normal practice in this type of situation, e.g., is a signed confirmation from the oil supplier the norm.

Perhaps in the end they will just settle, and the firm will pay a reduced amount for their oil.

Indecent Exposure

A Searsport lawyer exposed himself to former clients.

Mason was accused of exposing himself to a woman while he was parked at the On the Run store in Winterport on Oct. 17. The second charge stems from an alleged incident on July 4, 2007, that took place in Stockton Springs.

Baghdoyan said that in both cases it was alleged that Mason exposed his genitals to the women in a public place.

Baghdoyan said indecent conduct is a Class E misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Baghdoyan said he recommended that Mason be given a 60-day suspended sentence with probation. Defense attorney Steven C. Peterson of Rockport argued for a lighter sentence.

“The judge decided 20 days would be sufficient,” Baghdoyan said….

Baghdoyan said both victims, who were current or former clients of Mason’s, had submitted complaints to the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar against Mason. The board could impose a number of possible sanctions, including informal reprimand, formal reprimand, suspension or disbarment.