Deschenes v. City of SanfordAnnotate this Case
On February 17, 2012, John Deschenes fell down stairs at Sanford City Hall. On August 13, 2012, 178 days after his fall, Deschenes appeared at City Hall and spoke to the Finance Assistant and the Finance Director regarding his fall and medical treatment. On September 1, 2012, 197 days after his accident, Deschenes provided the City Manager with written notice of a claim against the City based on his fall. On January 28, 2014, Deschenes filed a complaint with the superior court. The City moved for summary judgment, asserting that Deschenes’s written notice was sent after the Maine Tort Claims Act’s 180-day deadline for submitting a written notice of claim against a governmental entity. The trial court granted the City’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that Deschenes failed to substantially comply with the notice requirement of the Act. Deschenes appealed, arguing that he substantially complied with the statute because the City was aware of his accident and was not prejudiced by his failure to file a written notice before the 180-day deadline. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a person cannot substantially comply with the Act if he provides only oral notice of his claim.