The Maine Supreme Court recently handed down an important decision in an asbestos lawsuit that may have an impact on future toxic tort cases in Maine. Fence

In Grant v. Foster Wheeler et. al., the court affirmed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment for numerous defendants accused of liability to plaintiff for decedent’s alleged exposure to asbestos at a shipyard. Decedent died of asbestos-related lung disease in 2011, and his wife, as representative of his estate, filed a lawsuit against defendants–makers of asbestos-laden products–for negligence, failure to warn, distribution of unreasonably dangerous goods, and loss of consortium.

Asbestos litigation has become prevalent across the country, as those who were exposed to the substance decades ago have only recently emerged with diagnoses of the resulting, latent diseases. However, it’s been years since the Maine high court has issued any kind of clarification on the question of causation in these notoriously complex cases, all of which stem from circumstances that occurred decades ago. That can make proving causation a problematic issue. That was also true in Grant, but at least now asbestos injury lawyers have some clearer direction about the evidence needed to prevail in future cases. Continue reading

In Maine, motorists are required to maintain minimum limits of uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) benefits. These help make up the difference in costs if you are injured by the negligence of another driver who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your losses. It can also be applied if you are struck by a vehicle, such as a bicyclist/pedestrian/skateboarder, are injured in a hit-and-run or are run off the road by a “phantom” vehicle. The minimum amount of coverage is $50,000 per person and $100,000 per crash.Gavel

But even when drivers maintain their benefits, they may still find that insurers are reluctant to pay these costs. Injured parties may need to take their claim to a judge to collect.

That was the situation in the recent Maine Supreme Judicial Court case of Graf v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. According to court records, plaintiff was injured in a Maine auto accident when she was rear-ended by an underinsured motorist. All parties agree the crash was entirely the fault of the other driver, who at the time had a liability motorist policy worth a (statutorily legal) $50,000. Plaintiff claimed UM/UIM coverage and medical payments under two State Farm insurance policies. Continue reading

Two men died and two others were seriously injured when a pickup truck slammed into a dump truck on a recent Wednesday morning in Durham. It was shortly after 7 a.m. when the pickup, exiting Rabbit Road onto Route 9, slammed into a crossing dump truck driven by a 42-year-old. Two of the men inside the pickup, ages 21 and 24, were pronounced dead at the scene. A third, age 35, was seriously injured and taken by helicopter to a Lewiston hospital. The dump truck driver also suffered injuries, although he was reportedly in fair condition.

Several of the details we know about this case so far suggest there may be complex legal issues that trucking accident attorneys will likely explore in civil litigation. dump truck

The dump truck was reportedly owned by a local construction company, according to The Portland Press Herald. The pickup struck the dump truck near the gas tank. The pickup truck burst into flames almost instantaneously as the dump truck flipped onto its side. Three men who happened on the scene pulled the three men out of the burning pickup truck.

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During this past summer, a 23-year-old suffered serious injuries in a Portland bicycle accident that occurred at the intersection of State Street and Cumberland Avenue. Although the cyclist’s injuries were not life-threatening, the incident raised questions for local news outlets about the most dangerous intersections for bicyclists in Portland. bicycle

The Bangor Daily News first turned to the Maine Department of Transportation, which revealed there were more than 250 bicycle accidents in Portland between 2011 and 2015. Reporters compared this data with the average daily traffic counts from 2013 to ascertain the most dangerous intersections for cars and bicycles.

In that five-year time frame, the Portland intersection with the most crashes was at Park Street and York Street. There were a total of five bicycle-versus-vehicle crashes counted at that location over the five-year period. Reporters conceded, though, that this particular intersection has a high traffic volume. When the numbers were controlled for traffic volume, the intersection with the most crashes-per-volume was Adelaide Street and Read Street at Forest Avenue, which had four crashes during the five-year time frame. The three-way intersection branches off Forest Avenue, which is one of Portland’s most active roadways.

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A major police group in Maine has released a statement saying law enforcement would be unduly burdened – and not at all prepared – by legalized recreational marijuana in Maine.


Representatives of the Maine Association of Chiefs of Police said during a recent press conference that legalized marijuana in Maine is going to pose an array of problems that would result. One of the primary areas of concern is how it will affect the safety of the roads.

The group plans to launch a statewide campaign to oppose Question 1, the November ballot issue that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21. If the measure is approved, those of age would be allowed to have in their possession up to 2.5 ounces of the drug, as well as up to six flowering plants. Sales of marijuana at stores and social clubs with proper license (from the state) and approval (from the municipality) would pay a sales tax of 10 percent.  Continue reading

Authorities say two people were injured in a Maine car accident that occurred in Harpswell while the pair were engaged in a heated argument with each other. driving01

The Portland Press reported first responders were called to the 1300 block of Harpswell Neck Road on a recent Thursday evening, where they found a Nissan car that had veered off the road and struck a tree. The vehicle was totaled. The driver, a 26-year-old man from Milton, Mass., was reportedly fighting with his 20-year-old girlfriend/passenger, from Brunswick, as he traveled at a high rate of speed. Investigators say he suffered serious leg injuries and was transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland. His passenger, who suffered minor injuries, was transported to Brunswick’s Mid Coast Hospital, where she was treated and released.

The incident serves as a reminder of one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving: Arguing with your passenger. Some research suggests this practice is even more dangerous than talking on the phone or possibly even texting. As the Washington Post recently reported on federal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, passengers pose a greater risk of distraction than cell phones. Conversations with passengers were reportedly responsible for 57 percent of distracted driving accidents, while phone use only accounted for 12 percent.  Continue reading

Globally, we have become reliant on social media platforms. They are a source of fulfillment on many fronts, keeping us connected, informed and entertained. But they are increasingly being used for another purpose: Evidence. iphone6

This is true of course for law enforcement, combing for evidence of threats or probation violations or gang activity. However, they are also used in personal injury lawsuits, which is why it has become more and more prevalent to our practice.

On one hand, social media can be a benefit. For example, let’s say an at-fault truck driver was believed to have been playing around on Snapchat, got distracted and caused the crash. That digital evidence can be used to our client’s advantage to prove not only negligence, but perhaps gross negligence warranting punitive damages. On the other hand, social media has become something of a burden as well because defendants – particularly insurance companies – comb these platforms for any evidence that might help them dispute causation or the extent of damages.  Continue reading

A woman from York County, Maine is suing a beef manufacturer headquartered in New Hampshire following an outbreak of E. coli that made her 9-year-old son so sick he had to be hospitalized. groundbeef

According to a report from, plaintiff purchased the meat at a store in Kittery, and she prepared it for her son one day in June. Within five days, the boy began to experience a severe reaction that included vomiting, fever and diarrhea. These are typical symptoms of the food poisoning caused by an E. coli infection. The boy was rushed to a local hospital in York before being transferred for more intensive treatment at the Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts.

The boy was one of more than a dozen people sickened by the outbreak tied to this particular farm, with other cases cropping up across Maine, as well as in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. It was ultimately the U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety Inspection Service, alongside the Department of Health in New Hampshire, that traced the outbreak not just to this one farm but to a specific slaughter date. This prompted the farm to recall some 8,800 pounds of raw beef products that were deemed potentially contaminated.  Continue reading

In most situations wherein someone’s injury or death is caused by the negligence of another, a civil lawsuit may be in order. However, if the injured party was working or acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident, the case could become more complicated. truckoverbridge

Workers’ compensation laws in Maine contain something known as an exclusive remedy provision. This means that the only remedy one has against his or her own employer for work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses is workers’ compensation, which typically covers medical bills and a portion of lost wages, but nothing else. There can sometimes be grounds for a third-party lawsuit against others aside from the employer. There are also situations in which entities wrongly label themselves as “employers” when in fact they are not, in which case litigation is still appropriate.

These are matters that must be handled by an experienced Portland injury lawyer.  Continue reading

Maine requires all drivers to purchase uninsured/ underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, and it often comes into play in many car accident lawsuits. The minimum limits of UM/UIM coverage are $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. Typically, it’s a good idea if you can afford it to purchase more than that, as a serious auto accident can result in damages that far exceed that amount. cardriving

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can apply if you are:

  • Injured in a crash caused by a driver with no car insurance;
  • Injured as a pedestrian bicyclist or skateboarder struck by a vehicle;
  • Injured in a hit-and-run accident or in a situation where a “phantom vehicle” enters your lane and causes you to veer off the road;
  • Injured as a passenger in a motor vehicle;
  • Injured in a crash caused by a driver whose bodily injury liability limits are lower than the limits of your UIM coverage.

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