More Verrill Dana Lawyers Face Sanctions

The Portland Press Herald provides an update on the fallout from the actions of the former firm partner John Duncan.

Questions have lingered about the response to Duncan’s thefts within Verrill Dana, and whether other lawyers — most notably former managing partner David Warren — would be charged criminally or brought up for sanctions by the Maine Board of Bar Overseers.  While it appears that no one other than Duncan will face criminal charges, the lead counsel for the Board of Bar Overseers has accused six Verrill Dana lawyers of breaking ethics rules.

After investigating the matter for nearly three years, J. Scott Davis recently filed a court complaint outlining the allegations against Warren and James Kilbreth III, who chaired Verrill Dana’s executive board in the summer of 2007.  Davis also seeks unspecified sanctions against lawyers Eric Altholz, Mark Googins, Roger Clement Jr. and Juliet Browne, who served on the firm’s executive board at the time.  Disciplinary hearings for all of the lawyers have been scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14 in District Court in Lewiston.

More here, here, here, and here


Lubec man jailed for internet sales scam

After apparently ripping people off through online sales of things he did not actually deliver, or what was delivered was not as advertised, David Anderson will spend three years in jail.

MACHIAS — A Lubec man who sold baseball cards and other merchandise over the Internet was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County Superior Court to seven years in prison with all but three suspended for theft by deception.

David Anderson, 66, also was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $6,500 in restitution to three victims, according to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office.

In an April plea agreement with prosecutors, Anderson pleaded guilty to theft by deception. He was charged with a Class B crime because what he stole was valued at more than $10,000, according to Paul Cavanaugh, first assistant district attorney for Washington County.

Cavanaugh said Tuesday that Anderson offered items, including a large collection of baseball cards he had inherited from his father, for sale on the Internet between 2001 and 2005. After some of the sales were completed, local police and authorities in states where his customers lived, complained that the merchandise either never arrived or was not in the condition described by Anderson.

Cavanaugh said Tuesday that Anderson’s victims numbered 25 and their losses were estimated at $87,000.

via  – Bangor Daily News.

Court Rejects General Duty of Care

For most people on a day to day basis, there is no duty of care owed to other people. Some people do have a duty, such as doctors who have a duty to their patients, or landlords who have a duty to their tenants. In a recent case, the Maine Supreme Court weighed if people owe a duty to others if action could prevent further harm.* So while you may be considered a hero if you save someones life who is in danger, you do not have a legal obligation (unless you put that person in the danger).

Steven Cilley, 54, of Princeton, sued Jennifer Lane, of Princeton, over the death of Cilley’s son. Joshua Cilley died on Jan. 31, 2005, at age 27 in the Calais Regional Hospital emergency room of a gunshot wound to the abdomen from a .22-caliber bullet. He was shot while in Lane’s trailer, according to court documents.

Lane, described as the younger man’s on-again, off-again lover, allegedly sat with him for at least 15 minutes after he was shot before attempting to seek medical assistance. Steven Cilley said earlier this year that the doctor who treated his injured son told him Joshua Cilley could have been saved if he had arrived at the hospital five minutes earlier.

“Because Cilley was a trespasser at the time of the incident, Lane’s only duty to him was to refrain from wanton, willful, or reckless behavior,” Justice Ellen Gorman wrote for the court. “Lane’s failure to contact emergency assistance for Cilley immediately after she heard the pop [of the gunshot] does not rise to the level of wanton, willful, or reckless behavior because Lane did not create the danger to Cilley, nor commit any act that led to his initial injury.”

via Bangor Daily News.

* I have not read the full case so I don’t know how the issue was exactly presented to the court.

Updated: The case indicates: The Estate contends that Lane owed Cilley a duty of care because he was a social guest in her home, and in the alternative has asked us to recognize a new common law duty: the affirmative duty to seek emergency assistance through reasonable means.

First Distracted Driver Citation

KITTERY — A New Hampshire teenager has been cited under Maine’s new distracted-driving law after allegedly crashing her car into a utility pole while texting on her cell phone.

Kittery police Sgt. Charles Denault told the Portsmouth Herald that 19-year-old Jessica Jones admitted that she was texting when she crashed into the pole on Leach Road at about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, knocking out power to the neighborhood for the remainder of the afternoon.

via Portland Press Herald.

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.