Search

Martica Douglas – ‘Make decisions consistent with principles and values’

(Article from “Maine Women Magazine”, February 21, 2013) Martica Douglas has been practicing law, primarily as a trial attorney, since 1977. Back then, she was the only woman in the Portland firm, Hewes and Culley. Since the beginning, her practice has included a broad base of personal injury, toxic exposure, professional malpractice, and insurance coverage cases. She also offers her services as a mediator in divorce cases. Read The Article...

Read More

Defense Verdict in Lead Poisoning Case

On March 27, 2012, after a seven-day trial at the Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn, a jury of five women and four men returned a verdict finding that a Lewiston landlord was not responsible for a young boy’s lead poisoning. Martica Douglas represented the landlord, a family-held corporation that owns multiple rental properties in the Lewiston-Auburn area. The Plaintiff alleged that his son had suffered serious irreversible brain damage as a toddler living in one of the Defendant landlord’s apartments as a result of exposure to lead paint. The Plaintiff’s attorney called five expert witnesses to testify regarding both liability and damages issues, including two treating physicians, a toxicologist, a life care planner who proposed the need for intensive lifetime care and supervision, and an economist. In addition, the boy’s teachers and special Ed aide testified that he required continual assistance to maintain focus and minimize disruptive outbursts. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury for an award of 14 million dollars. Martica presented evidence to show that her client kept its apartments in good condition; that this particular apartment complied with local building codes and had been inspected annually by the Lewiston Housing Authority, whose inspections included a lead hazard assessment in every room; that 90% of the buildings in Lewiston contain lead paint; and that the child was likely to have been exposed to lead at his grandmother’s apartment, where he spent time; and/or by exposure to imported pottery and toys, as the parents and grandmother had emigrated from Morocco and the medical records documented that as a toddler the boy was known to “put everything in his mouth.” Because of the Jury’s acceptance of the defense put forth by Martica, no money was awarded to the plaintiff. The landlord was exonerated....

Read More

Superior Court upholds Allstate’s denial of coverage re: alleged conspiracy to enable sexual assault

Superior Court upholds Allstate’s denial of coverage re: alleged conspiracy to enable sexual assault Martica Douglas has been representing Allstate Insurance Company in a declaratory judgment action initiated by the named insured on an Allstate homeowners’ policy seeking to compel Allstate to defend her in an action filed by her sister. The sister’s complaint alleged that the insured conspired with her boyfriend to enable him to sexually assault her while the sister was a guest at the insured’s home; and that a violent and brutal assault took place when the insured left them alone in the house. The sister suffered significant injuries, and was awarded over $5 million in damages in a civil suit against the boyfriend. Allstate declined to defend the insured in the action on the ground that a “conspiracy” was not an “accident” and therefore not a covered “occurrence;” and on the further ground that the homeowners policy does not cover an insured’s liability for injuries resulting from intentional conduct that should reasonably be expected to cause injury. On May 3, 2013, the Superior Court issued a 9-page Decision and Order affirming Allstate’s position that it had no duty to defend or indemnify the insured. Of particular interest is the Court’s determination that the insured’s alleged negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) did not generate a duty to defend because emotional distress did not qualify as a “bodily injury,” which the policy defined as physical harm to the body. The Court also noted that under current Maine law, in the absence of a custodial or fiduciary relationship, an individual does not owe a duty to control the conduct of prevent one person to prevent harm to another —therefore, the complaint did not allege a liability that triggered a duty to defend....

Read More

Christine Kennedy-Jensen honored by Maine Supreme Court

Attorney Christine Kennedy-Jensen was recently honored by the Maine Supreme Court for her participation in the Katahdin Counsel Recognition Program. The program is designed to both honor Maine’s lawyers who provide pro bono representation, and to help meet the need for civil legal representation by increasing the number of attorneys who voluntarily provide pro bono representation. Christine assisted her clients in a variety of family law matters and completed over 50 pro bono service hours in 2012. She and many other generous Maine lawyers donated their time and demonstrated their commitment to justice for Maine’s low-income residents. Congratulations,...

Read More

Woman who fell asleep while driving is found by Oxford County Jury to be only 10% responsible for fatal accident

In October 2011 Attorney Christine Kennedy-Jensen represented a young woman from Massachusetts who fell asleep at the wheel and crossed the center line into the path of a tractor trailer while driving home from an afternoon of skiing at Sunday River. The accident resulted in the death of a driver of a third vehicle when the tractor trailer flipped over on top of his pick-up truck. The jury heard eight days of witness testimony and legal argument. Counsel for the family of the deceased pick-up truck driver presented testimony from several members of the Maine State Police accident reconstruction team, the state medical examiner, and its own retained experts to establish that the tractor-trailer’s defective brakes and driving decisions made by the truck driver contributed in at least some small way to the fatality. In her opening statement, Ms. Kennedy-Jensen acknowledged her client’s role in the accident and conceded liability. However, she maintained that the tractor-trailer company and its driver played a substantial role in the accident and the resulting fatality. The attorney for the tractor-trailer company strenuously disputed that either the company or its driver bore any responsibility for the accident or the death of the pick-up truck driver. The company presented testimony from its driver and a company representative as well as an out-of-state expert witness who testified that the accident and the fatality would have happened as it did even if the brakes on the tractor-trailer were in optimum condition. The attorney for the five adult children of the deceased drivers asked the jury for over 1.5 million dollars to compensate them for the loss of their father. After several hours of deliberation, the jury awarded the family just $310,000. The jury allocated fault for the accident as follows: 90% to the tractor-trailer company and 10% to Ms. Kennedy-Jensen’s client. This verdict resulted in the insurer for Ms. Kennedy-Jensen’s client paying substantially less than its pre-suit policy limit offer....

Read More