Articles Tagged with Portland wrongful death attorney

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has addressed a blind spot in case law regarding which victims may claim a defendant’s money and assets in a case involving multiple individuals who are equally harmed. 

The case of Estate of Summers v. Nisbet stems from the deadliest fire in Maine in over 40 years. The blaze broke out in a two-unit home in 2014 in Portland. Six people were killed.

In the aftermath, it was alleged the landlord was negligent in maintaining the property in safe condition, which played a central role in the fire. Soon after, families began filing wrongful death lawsuits against the landlord, who also faces six criminal counts of manslaughter.

The family of one man, Steven Summers, was the first to file a claim for damages in court. However, his widow, as personal representative of his estate, did so by filing what is known as an ex parte attachment. It is a claim that is not made public until after the defendant – here, the landlord – goes through a process of challenging that attachment. It’s a secretive process intended to block a defendant’s assets without warning, to prevent the defendant from concealing property or money to avoid having to part with it to satisfy the judgment.  Continue reading

When serious or fatal injuries are caused by another person’s negligence, the victim and/or surviving family have a right to pursue compensation for their losses. However, when the injuries sustained are the result of an intentional act, collecting becomes a more complicated matter. The reason is that while victims are still entitled to damages insurance companies often have policy exclusions for intentional criminal acts resulting in injury or death. That often leaves a plaintiff’s only recourse collection directly from the wrongdoer.

In many instances, that individual lacks the resources and assets to adequately compensate the victim(s). That doesn’t necessarily mean it is not worth it to pursue such a case, but the viability must be carefully weighed.

Recently, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court considered a lawsuit against a homeowners’ insurance company brought by the family of a man killed by another on property belonging to attacker’s grandmother. In Metro Prop. & Cas. Inc. Co. v. Estate of Benson, the court was asked to consider whether insurer could be liable for wrongful death despite its intentional tort exclusion in the policy. Continue reading

The father of a 21-month-old boy says their child died in a Portland hospital after falling ill a week after a visit to the Oxford County Fair. The child was diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, which is a disease born of E. coli, a bacteria that’s typically found in the intestines of both humans and animals.

After learning of another toddler who is in critical condition with the same condition after visiting the same petting zoo, the deceased boy’s father said he is convinced his child picked up the illness at the petting zoo. He told the Boston Globe he and the other family compared notes on everything they ate, places they went, cleanliness practices. He said the two children didn’t know each other and had never met.

“But we both went to the petting zoo,” he told a reporter.

The other child, 17 months, remains hospitalized. Continue reading