Judy’s practice includes the resolution through trial and negotiation of disputes, especially those involving real estate in Maine. Judy represents property owners in connection with claims arising from boundary disputes, adverse possession, and easements and rights of way (including those which derive from deeded rights or arise by prescription). Judy has helped preserve the privacy of waterfront and beachfront owners through negotiated, cooperative agreements which assure that only those with legal rights to do so access the beach via the owners’ land. Judy’s practice also involves representation in Superior Court and before Commissioners on matters related to partition of real estate owned by more than one person. She protects clients in the prosecution and defense of real estate contracts, probate matters, paper street cases, and matters arising from claimed breach of fiduciary duty.
Judy also has developed a state-wide reputation in connection with her work to enforce the Maine Dealer Act adopted to protect Maine automobile dealers from overreaching and unfair trade practices by automobile manufacturers. Through her steadfast commitment to enforcing the rights of the dealers, she has protected the right to reimbursement on implied warranty and express warranty repairs, assured that the rate of payment captures all the dealer’s costs and margin on such repairs, disallowed wrongful and untimely charge backs of warranty payments, and compelled manufacturers to justify proposed changes to the franchise before the Maine Motor Vehicle Franchise Board.
Representative cases include:
- Successfully defended jury verdict in favor of Maine Ford dealer before the Law Court. Law Court also affirmed decisions secured by Judy upholding the constitutionality of the Maine Dealer Act, notice provisions required under that Act, and the methodology of appealing decisions of the Maine Motor Vehicle Franchise Board. Ford Motor Company v. Darling’s, 2014 ME 7. http://www.courts.state.me.us/opinions_orders/supreme/lawcourt/2014/14ME7Fo.pdf
- Prevailed at trial concerning location of boundary. Trial court decision upheld on appeal. Perkins v. Graves, 642 A.2d 1349.
- Represented property owners in appeal of issuance of a permit to install a seasonal stairway for shore access over clients’ land which was burdened by an easement for the benefit of others in the same subdivision. The Law Court agreed with Judy’s clients that the Board of Appeals had failed to make a finding required by ordinance and remanded the case. D’Alessandro v. Town of Harpswell, 2012 ME 89.
- Represented village in action for declaratory judgment brought by property owners concerning the constitutionality of a village tax. The Superior Court entered judgment for village. Village successfully defended that decision to the Maine Law Court, which affirmed that the tax was constitutional. Rackliffe v. Northport Village Corp., 711 A.2d 1282, 1998 ME 114.
- Represented owners of land burdened by easement in action to enforce a settlement agreement with a homeowner’s association and other owners in the neighborhood who had the right to use the easement. The Superior Court granted summary judgment to clients. On appeal by the association, the Law Court affirmed the decision in favor of Judy’s clients that the association was bound by its settlement agreement. Muther v. Broad Cove Shore Association, 968 A.2d 539, 2009 ME 37.
- Represented owners of land claimed by abutters under the Maine paper streets statute. Successfully proved by summary judgment that statutes pertaining to paper streets cannot serve to strip clients of title to land where it is clear that chain of title and deeds in place prior to effective date of paper street statute transferred the title to Judy’s clients. Parsons v. Guttenplan, Lincoln Cty. Super. Ct. RE-09-39.
- Represented owners of land depicted as numbered lots on a recorded plan where their right to travel on the paper streets depicted on the plan was blocked. Successfully proved on summary judgment that under the paper streets statute, clients’ right to travel on proposed ways could not be extinguished merely because the town did not accept the proposed ways as public streets. Gabriele v.Mahan, Knox Cty. Super. Ct. RE-04-03.
- Assisted clients in a variety of matters to resolve long lingering title defects where lost deeds, unclaimed interests, and ancient claims affect the marketability of property. For example, Watchowski v. Heirs of Harlow, Lincoln Cty Super. Ct., RE-2010-47; Egers v. Mifflin, Cumberland Cty. Super. Ct., RE-07-251; Matheson v. Wickes, Lincoln Cty Super. Ct., RE-05-11; Stebbins v. Heirs of Waterhouse, WES-RE-99-04.
- Assisted clients in resolving through negotiated settlements a variety of real estate disputes that impaired the marketability of property and/or interfered with the quiet enjoyment of land: Dee v. O’Shea, Cumberland Cty. Super. RE-10-136 (boundary and prescriptive beach easement); Center v. Halliday, Cumberland Cty. Super. RE-10-317 (easement dispute); Nelson v. Peterson, Knox Cty. Super. RE-09-09 (boundary dispute); Giorno v. Oliver, Sagadahoc Cty. Super. RE-09-19 (boundary dispute; validity of deed); Hartman v. Maffei, Cumberland Cty. Super. RE-09-52 (adverse possession; boundary by acquiescence); Town of Litchfield v. Richard, Kenn. Cty. Super. RE-12-01 (dispute re: boundary abutting public easement and easement rights along way).
- And, in connection with the Maine Dealer Act, Darling’s v. Ford Motor Company, 2003 ME 21, after remand, further trial and judgment for Darling’s, further aff’d,Darling’s v. Ford Motor Company, 2006 ME 22
- Following a trial before the Maine Motor Vehicle Franchise Board, Darling’s was awarded over $250,000 in damages, attorneys fees and costs. Ford appealed the Board’s decision to the Maine Superior Court and demanded a jury trial. After transfer of the case to the Business and Consumer Court and a three day trial, the jury upheld the Board’s decision in favor of Darling’s. Ford Motor Company v. Darling’s, Kenn. Cty Superior Court, Docket Nos. AP-08-01, AP-08-02 and AP-10-05 (decision of jury 3/10/11).
Judy is a partner at Eaton Peabody, resident in its Brunswick office. From this office, she has protected the rights of her clients in almost every county, from Aroostook to York, from Hancock to Oxford.
“Thank you again for your brilliant assistance as we navigated this litigation (I hope I never have to do this again!). We have all been so grateful for your capability, intelligence, and candor. Your team has been terrific too, in assistance and quality of work, and it has been a pleasure working with all of you. “
– From a satisfied client