STATE OF MAINE
DOCKET NO: CY-I0,:!100 ,
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CIANCHETTE FAMILY LLC,
SHAMAYEL KARCAl\.:~J\TE OF MAINE
MOHAMMAD KARCxioerland, SS, CI!1fk's Office
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY
, fEB 2 :1 2011
This case is a companion to Cianchette Family LLC's earlier lawsuit
against the Kargars, docket number RE-07-045. Defendants Shamayel and
Mohammed Kargar assert that plaintiff Cianchette's claims in this action are
barred by Cianchette's successful motion for Rule 11 sanctions in the companion
case, and they move for summary judgment on the ground of res judicata.
There are no disputes of material fact. The roots of this case go back to
August 20,2004, when the Kargars purchased Lot 11 in the unfinished Sherwood
Forest Subdivision from Davis Land Development, LLC. Plaintiff Cianchette
Family LLC purchased the remainder of Sherwood Forest on April 12,2005.
Disputes arose between the two neighbors, leading Cianchette to file a complaint
in February 2007 alleging that the Kargars had violated the Sherwood Forest
Subdivision's protective covenants. The Kargars counterclaimed, accusing
Cianchette of the same.
A judicial settlement conference was held \vith Chief Justice Humphrey
on August 11, 2008, and the parties reached an agreement. This agreement was
read into the record, but required that certain actions be taken before it could be
reduced to a final writing. The Kargars challenged the agreement on April 6,
2009, alleging that they thought they would receive certain recreational rights
under the settlement. This challenge was not successful. The parties' properties
were then surveyed, and the agreed-upon boundaries were reduced to a legal
written description. The settlement agreement was then put into writing and
signed on June 24, 2009.
The agreement required the Kargars to support and assist Cianchette's
application to terminate the Sherwood Forest Subdivision Plan and its attendant
restrictions. This application was scheduled to be heard before the Town of
Falmouth Planning Board on February 2, 2010. On January 29, 2010, the Kargars,
through their new attorney, informed the plaintiff that they believed the written
agreement did not accurately describe certain property boundaries. They filed a
motion to reform the agreement, claiming that there had been a mutual mistake
or, alternatively, that they had been defrauded. They also informed the Planning
Board that they would not support Cianchettc's application. Cianchette opposed
the motion and requested that the court impose Rule 11 sanctions on the Kargars
for acting in bad faith. Cianchette also moved for leave to add a count relating
the Kargars' alleged breach of the settlement agreement to its complaint.
Cianchette initiated this separate civil action against the Kargars on March
4,2010. The complaint alleges that the Kargars breached the settlement
agreement by their actions of January 29, 2010, and made fraudulent statements
to the court that caused Cianchette harm. It requests compensatory and punitive
damages, and "that the [c]ourt require the Kargars to comply with the covenants
and settlement agreement ...." (CompI. at 7.)
An evidentiary hearing on the Kargars' motion was held on May 28, 2010,
in Superior Court with Justice Cole presiding. The parties were allowed to
submit exhibits and to call and cross-examine witnesses in accord with Maine's
Rules of Evidence. At the close of the hearing, Justice Cole denied the Kargars'
motion and found that there was a basis for imposing Rule 11 sanctions.
Following this hearing, Cianchette submitted a supplemental motion for
sanctions requesting: its attorney fees and costs incurred in responding to the
motion; future fees and costs necessary to reschedule the Planning Board
meeting; additional taxes that it would have to pay on the land due to the failure
to remove the subdi vision restrictions; and costs incurred for road maintenance,
plowing, and association expenses.
[n a written order dated July 23, 2010, the court found that there were no
good grounds supporting the Kargars' motion and! or that it was interposed for
delay. It therefore denied the Kargars' motion and determined that they had
violated Maine Rule of Civil Procedure 11 by submitting a motion with no legal
merit or factual support in order to delay the termination of the subdivision and
delay the conclusion of the settlement. The court granted Cianchette's request for
current and future legal fees and costs. It did not address the request for taxes or
other association expenses, and did not rule on Cianchette's motion to amend its
The Kargars now move for summary judgment in Cianchette's civil action
on the ground that Cianchette's complaint is duplicative of its motion for Rule 11
sanctions, and the order grunting Rule 11 sanctions in the companion case bars
them from seeking to recover similar damages for the same conduct in this case.
Cianchette contends that the Rule 11 motion decided only the narrovv issue of the
Kargars' bad faith, and did not reach the larger questions of breach and fraud. It
claims it should therefore be allowed to seek the full extent of its damages
a result of the Kargars' breClch.
SummClry judgment is appropriClte where there Clre no genuine issues of
mClterial fact Clnd the moving pmty is entitled to judgment CIS a mCltter of law.
M.R. Civ. P. 56(c); Leville v. RB.I<. Caly Corp., 2001 ME 77, cK 4, 770 A.2d 653,655.
There Clre no makriCll disputes of fact relevant to the Kargars' motion, leaving
onl y the legCll issues of res judicata for this court's review. "The doctrine of res
judicata is a 'court-made collection of rules designed to ensure that the sClme
mCltter will not be litigated more than once.'" N.E. Harbor GoljClub, I/lc. v. TOLLin oj
MOllllt Descrt, h18 A.2d 225, 227 (Me. 1992) (quoting Beegan v. Sclllliidt, 451 A.2d
642,643-44 (Me. 1982)) Res judicata has two components: claim preclusion, and
issue preclusion. Pel/kill v. Matarazzo, 2009 ME 113, err 7, 983 A.2d 375, 377
(quoting MncolII!Jer v. MacQl1inn-Twcerlic, 2003 ME 121, CJ[22, 834 A.2d 131, 138).
Issue preclusion, also referred to as collateral estoppel, "prevents the
relitigation of factual issues alread y decided if the identical issue was determined
by a prior final judgnlent, and the party estopped had a fair opportunity and
incentive to litigate the issue in a prior proceeding." Bcnl v. Allstate
ME 20, err 17, 989 A.2d 733, 740 (quoting Portlallrl Water Dist., 2008 ME 23121 err 22,
834 A.2d at 110D) (quotations omitted). "Claim preclusion prevents relitigation if:
(1) the same parties or their privies are involved in both actions; (2) a valid final
judgment was entered in the prior action; and (3) the matters presented for
decision in the second action were, or might have been litigated in the first
action." ld. (quoting Portlnlld Wnter Dist. v.
of Stnlldisll, 2008 ME 23, 9I 8, 940
A.2d 1097, 1099) (quotations omitted).
There is no question that the same parties are involved in both of the
relevant actions. It is equally clear that this case and the prior Rule 11 motion
raise identical issues. The question before this court is, then, whether the order
granting Cianchette Rule 11 sanctions is a valid final judgment on the merits. It is
The Uni ted States Supreme Court squarely addressed this issue in Willy v.
Constnl Corp., 503 U.s. 131 (1992). Interpreting the nature of sanctions imposed
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, the Court explained that '''imposition
of a Rule
sanction is not a judgment on the merits of an action. Rather, it
requires the determination of a collateral issue: whether the attorney has abused
the judicial process, and, if so, what sanction would be appropriate.'" ld. at 138
(quoting Cooter & Cell v. HnrtJJ1nrx Corp., 496 U.s. 384, 395-96 (1990)). Orders
granting sanctions do '''not signify a [trial] court's assessment of the legal merits
of the complaint.'" ld. (quoting Cooter
Cell, 496 U.S. at 396).
The Supreme Court's interpretation of the Federal Rule j 1 offers
persuasive guidance to this court's interpretation of Maine's own Rule 11. See
Benl! v. Cilll!ll/il!gs, 2008 ME 18,
11, 939 A.2d 676,680 (quoting Me. Cellt. R.K Co.
Aroostook R.R. Co., 395 A.2d 1107, 1114 (Me. 1978)) (interpretations of
the federal rules may provide guidance in interpretation of analogous rules in
Maine). The court's decision to grant Cianchette Rule 11 sanctions in the
companion case only stands for the prospect that the Kargars were acting in bad
faith for the purpose of delay in that action. It was not a final judgment on the
legal merits of the claims raised in this action. As such, it can have no preclusive
The entry is:
The defendants' motion for summary judgment.i
FAMILY LLC VS SHAMAYEL KARGAR ET AL
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30 MILK STREET PO BOX 449 PORTLAND ME 04112-0449
CIANCHETTE FAMILY LLC
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75 PEARL ST SUITE 207 PORTLAND ME 041014101