Another Supreme Court Win


It will be posted at 11 am on the Law Court's website TOWN OF GLENBURN V. SIDNEY PINKHAM .

The Maine Supreme Court just notified me of their decision vacating a $23,900 civil penalty against our client, an elderly gentleman, who had his water turned off by a neighbor but was being fined for no running water that had been shut off arbitrarily by a neighbor.

Excerpt from the decision:

In this case, although the evidence supports the court’s ultimate finding that Pinkham allowed the alleged plumbing and subsurface wastewater disposal violations to occur on the property, the record is devoid of any mention of a “municipal order to stop,” 30-A M.R.S. § 4452(3)(E)(3), or any other notice to the landowner that he was in violation of the ordinance. Thus, on the evidence before it, the court could not have considered the extent to which the violations may have continued after notification to Pinkham—a factor that must be considered by the court before assessing a civil penalty.2 In the 2 Pursuant to 30-A M.R.S. § 4452(3)(E) (2017), in setting a civil penalty, “the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following: (1) Prior violations by the same party; (2) The degree of environmental damage that cannot be abated or corrected; (3) The extent to which the violation continued following a municipal order to stop; and (4) The extent to which the municipality contributed to the violation by providing the violator with the incorrect information or by failing to take timely action.” 6 absence of such evidence,3 the imposition of the $23,900 civil penalty must be vacated.