Articles Posted in New Hampshire Supreme Court

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Petitioners, Barbara and George G., appealed a circuit court that denied their petitions to terminate the parental rights of the mother, Amelia T., over her three children, Faith T., Arom T., and Jacoby T. They argued that the trial court erred in: (1) concluding that they failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the mother substantially and continuously neglected to pay for necessary subsistence, education, or other care; (2) failing to balance the best interest of the children and the totality of the circumstances; and (3) dismissing their petitions. Finding that the trial court did not err in denying the termination petitions, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "In re Faith T." on Justia Law

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Defendant City of Portsmouth (City), appeals a jury verdict awarding $128,111 as just compensation for the defendant’s taking by eminent domain of easement rights in property of plaintiff Houston Holdings, LLC. Defendant challenged the Superior Court’s ruling on a motion in limine and the Superior Court’s denial of a motion to set aside the verdict. Finding no error in the Superior Court's decisions, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Houston Holdings, LLC v. City of Portsmouth" on Justia Law

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Defendant Matthew Tabaldi appealed his convictions for the sale of narcotics, possession of narcotics, being a felon in possession of an electronic defense weapon, and for receiving stolen property. He argued the superior court erred in denying his motion to strike a prospective juror, and by denying his motions to dismiss the weapon-possession and narcotics-possession charges. Additionally, defendant claimed the court erred in admitting certain evidence over his objection. Finding no errors, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "New Hampshire v. Tabaldi" on Justia Law

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Respondent Sophia-Marie H's father appealed a circuit court order that terminated his parental rights. He argued the evidence presented at trial did not support the court's findings that (1) he failed to support, educate and care for the child; and (2) that termination of his rights was in Sophia-Marie's best interests. Sophia-Marie’s guardian ad litem (GAL) submitted a detailed final report that recommended that the termination petition be denied. At the hearing, the GAL testified that this was not an easy decision: the father appeared to be a changed man and "made an effort to turn his life around [and] he want[ed] to be involved in [his] daughter's life." To the extent that the court relied upon the father's failure to pay child support during his incarceration as evidence that the mother met her burden, the Supreme Court concluded this was error. The GAL testified that if termination was ordered, Sophia-Marie would miss out on having a relationship with her father. For these reasons, the Supreme Court concluded the trial court erred in finding termination of the father's parental rights was necessary. View "In re Sophia-Marie H." on Justia Law

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Defendants Leisure Life Industries a/k/a Leisure Life Industries, Inc. a/k/a Leisure Life Industries, LLC (Leisure Life) and Knothe Apparel Group, Inc. appealed a superior court order that denied their motion for summary judgment and granted the cross-motion for entry of final judgment on the issue of indemnity filed by plaintiffs, JoAnne Gray, Jeffrey Gray, Jeffrey J. Gray, and Jonathan Gray. The defendants also appealed the trial court’s order denying their motion for summary judgment on successor liability. Jeffrey Gray purchased a robe from The Orvis Company (Orvis) for his wife, JoAnne. Orvis purchased the robe from the manufacturer, Leisure Life. Mrs. Gray was wearing the robe when she added a piece of firewood to her wood stove and the robe caught fire. As result, she was severely burned and suffered extensive injuries. Plaintiffs sued the defendants and Orvis along with other parties involved either in the design and distribution of the robe or the manufacture and sale of the wood stove. Leisure Life argued that it was not liable for the plaintiffs" injuries because it was no longer the same entity that manufactured the robe, and the circumstances of the purchase did not support holding Knothe liable as a successor. The trial court denied the motion. Orvis claimed that it "had no involvement in the design and manufacturing of the robe" and that it "was simply a 'pass-through' entity." As a result, Orvis sought indemnity or contribution from the defendants for any damages it ultimately owed to the plaintiffs, including the amount of any judgment against, or settlement by, Orvis. Immediately prior to the scheduled start of the trial, all parties except Leisure Life settled with the plaintiffs. The parties involved in the sale and manufacture of the wood stove settled the claims against them for five million dollars. Orvis settled the claims against it for one million dollars and assigned to the plaintiffs "any and all rights to indemnity" that Orvis had against the defendants. The settlement did not extinguish the plaintiffs' claims against the defendants. The plaintiffs, as Orvis's assignees, subsequently moved for summary judgment against the defendants on the indemnity claim. On appeal, the defendants argue that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment for the plaintiffs on the issue of indemnity. They further contend that there is no basis for the trial court’s award of attorney’s fees and costs and that, therefore, the award must be set aside. Finally, the defendants argue that the trial court erred in finding Knothe liable as a successor to Leisure Life. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded plaintiffs' indemnity claim failed because when Orvis settled with the plaintiffs, it extinguished its own liability, but not that of the defendants. The trial court's order addressing the settlement stated that "[t]his case has been settled as to all defendants except Leisure Life Industries." In consideration for the receipt of one million dollars and the assignment of Orvis's indemnity rights against the defendants, the plaintiffs released Orvis from all claims of liability asserted against it. In contrast, there was no release of liability running to the defendants, and the defendants remained potentially liable to the plaintiffs under the theories of direct liability asserted against them, including the strict liability claim. The Court reversed the trial court’s denial of summary judgment with respect to the plaintiffs’ indemnity claim. View "Gray v. Leisure Life Industries " on Justia Law

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Petitioner Dr. Kevin Boulard, D.M.D. appealed a New Hampshire Board of Dental Examiners (Board) finding that he committed professional misconduct and suspending indefinitely his “moderate sedation – unrestricted” permit. The Supreme Court concluded that because the Board was in the process of conducting other investigations of petitioner’s practice, without more, it was error for the Board to continue the suspension of petitioner's permit based on the other facts presented on the record. The Court vacated a portion of the Board's order and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Appeal of Dr. Kevin D. Boulard, D.M.D." on Justia Law

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Defendant William Decato appealed his convictions for aggravated felonious sexual assault, attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary, and falsifying physical evidence, on the ground that he was incompetent to stand trial. Finding that the trial court did not err in finding defendant competent to stand trial, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "New Hampshire v. Decato" on Justia Law

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Respondents Steven and Philomena Landrigan appealed a Superior Court order finding that they unlawfully subdivided their property and granting petitioner Town of Newbury's request for injunctive relief and the imposition of a $2,000 fine. Respondents argued that the trial court erred in finding that their conduct and that of their predecessors had merged two non-conforming parcels into a single lot. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Town of Newbury v. Landrigan" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Victor Virgin Construction Corporation appealed a Superior Court remitting a jury award following an advisory jury finding of breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation by defendant New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT cross-appealed, asking that the award be further reduced. In 2008, Virgin bid on a DOT project to replace a stone box culvert located underneath Depot Road in Hollis. Virgin submitted the lowest bid and was awarded the contract. After completion of the project, DOT paid Virgin the sum agreed to in the contract with only a minor upward adjustment. Virgin sued DOT for both breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation. The trial court denied DOT's request to bifurcate the trial; subsequently the jury found in favor of Virgin. DOT then moved for a new trial or to set aside the jury's damages award. The trial court granted remittitur, but did no enter a finding of liability on the breach of contract claim, finding that the award could only be sustained on the negligent misrepresentation claim. Virgin then appealed, seeking the full amount of damages awarded by the jury. The Supreme Court found that Virgin's negligent misrepresentation claim for money damages was capped by statute, therefore it was not entitled to the full amount of damages originally awarded by the jury. That cap does not apply to breach of contract, however, and because the trial court did not include findings with regard to liability on the breach of contract claim, the case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Victor Virgin Construction Corp. v. New Hampshire Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Defendant Ernest Willis appealed his conviction on two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault (AFSA) and one count of felonious sexual assault (FSA). He alleged the Superior Court erred by admitting at trial statements he made to his church pastor, which he asserted violated his religious privilege, and by admitting certain portions of a recording of a police interview of him. Although his notice of appeal referenced his conviction by plea on a second charge of FSA, his brief did not assert any error as to his plea. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed all four convictions. View "New Hampshire v. Willis" on Justia Law