January 29, 2017 – Attorney James B. Haddow wins appeal to the Maine Law Court from a judgment of the Superior Court on Maine’s Paper Streets Act.In February, 2016, in a case involving the rights of subdivision lot owners in a street that had been shown on an approved subdivision plan but never fully developed as a subdivision road, the Maine Superior Court ruled that the effect of Maine’s Paper Streets Act was to extinguish the defendant’s easement rights in the street retroactively.
Jim Haddow took an appeal from that decision to the Maine Law Court on behalf of the lot owner whose easement rights had been called into question by the decision of the Superior Court. On appeal, the Law Court reversed the Superior Court’s decision, ruling that it had erred in its application of Title 23, sections 3031 and 3032 of the Maine Revised Statutes.
The Paper Streets Act is made up of several statutes whose combined effect had previously been difficult to discern. The Law Court’s decision brings much greater clarity to the structure and overall effect of the Act. The Law Court also rejected the Superior Court’s conclusion that the easement had been abandoned as a matter of common law.