Attorney Gamache skis for a worthy cause at this year's Sugarloaf Summit Charity Challenge!
This past weekend, Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice sponsored of this year’s Sugarloaf Charity Summit Sugarloaf Charity Challenge to benefit Maine Cancer Foundation, The Dempsey Center, and Martha B. Webber Breast Care Center in the fight against cancer. ATR’s own Jerome Gamache participated in the event, where skiers collectively skied for over one million vertical feet and individually raised over $7,500 for the fight against cancer!
Jerome is pictured here post-event, and with all digits and limbs attached after starting the day at -9 at the Skyline lift, next to the ATR banner displayed at the Beach for the event. Many thanks to all who donated to Jerome and to this wonderful cause, especially our clients, family and friends, and we look forward to next year’s Sugarloaf Charity Summit Sugarloaf Charity Challenge!
ATR clients, Craignair Inn and Restaurant and Greg & Lauren Soutiea are proactive members of the resilient Maine hospitality industry and organizations such as Hospitality Maine, Penobscot Bay Chamber of Commerce, and the Saint George Business Alliance who are making creative changes to the business and operations while maintaining strict health and social pandemic procedures to protect customers, staff and themselves. If that were not enough, Greg and Lauren have worked with the Maine Coast Heritage Trust to provide parking for the public’s access to the Clark Island Preserve and other State of Maine conservation lands. ATR attorneys Jerome Gamache and Jake Bowie have been with Greg and Lauren every step of the way from drafting and negotiating the purchase agreement terms for the Soutiea’s acquisition of the Craignair Inn and Restaurant, handling the title work and acquisition due diligence and setting up the corporate entities to hold real estate and operate the business, to working with the State of Maine to craft the conservation easement with Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and ATR could not be more pleased to see the community spirit shown by Greg and Lauren in the time operating the Craignair Inn and Restaurant. ATR is ready to assist all of its hospitality industry clients, and any other business owners in their commercial and real estate oriented endeavors.
For more information on the Clark Island Project, and Craignair Inn and Restaurant’s connection to this great State resource: https://www.mcht.org/conservation-work/initiative/the-clark-island-project/
Attorney Jake Bowie, joined by real estate practice group head Attorney Jerome Gamache, assisted CKW, LLC in its acquisition of a 15 property commercial real estate portfolio. The portfolio includes over 140 residential units and is the second large scale portfolio the South Portland firm has helped clients navigate in the past quarter, having represented a different buyer client in a 49 property, 204 unit acquisition earlier this spring. ATR continues to be a strong advisor in the commercial real estate field for investors in the Southern Maine, Greater Portland and Augusta areas drawing on the years of experience and depth of knowledge of the real estate team. If you are considering buying or selling commercial real estate on a small or large scale, call attorneys Jerome Gamache and Jake Bowie at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A. today.
Attorney Eleanor Dominguez assisted Multivision Investments LLC and Capital Properties LLC to purchase 49 properties, incorporating 204 residential units, in Augusta in an expansion of their investment portfolio. Eleanor was joined by the other ATR real estate team members, Attorneys Jerome Gamache and Jake Bowie, who also assisted with the title and closing and corporate issues related to large-scale multi-unit ownership. Their combined involvement highlights the fact that our firm can assist with all aspects of your commercial real estate transaction, and the ongoing legal matters related to your business thereafter, guided by years of experience and knowledge by the team of attorneys here at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A.
Following up on our prior posting regarding our initiative to support our community businesses during this trying time, ATR is pleased to announce the next local business we are supporting by purchasing gift cards: Cia Cafe. Cia is a wonderful neighborhood business to grab a coffee, a delicious breakfast sandwich, or lunch. As soon as is reasonably possible, we hope to see it return to the local meeting place where our neighbors and friends meet to relax and catch up. We hope you will join us in support of Cia with your takeout and gift card purchases.
ATR would not exist without the trust the local community puts in us and our services day in and day out, and we want to make sure that all of you, and your businesses, are with us on the other side of these challenging times. While we know everyone is in different financial positions, we are mindful that we are indeed all in this together, and that we are stronger together – we owe our success to each other in our small communities, and where possible, we encourage and challenge those that can to support local businesses, by picking up gift cards, tipping extra (or even in scenarios you might not normally) so that we are all present and as successful as possible when we move through this period of upheaval.
We are here for you, and we encourage us all to be here for each other. Suggestions for other businesses to support are appreciated, just let us know. Also, if you, your business or any one you know is in need of legal assistance and counsel, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 207-767-4824, we look forward to working with you!
Everyone is feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic near and far as we all adjust our personal and business lives to deal with the changing landscape of governmental and health related directives. ATR remains committed to being present, available and on top of this evolving legal landscape and we also remain committed to those that allow us to be present in that endeavor: our clients and our local community.
This is a challenging time, and we, like you, want to support our community as best we can, and encourage others to join us. To that end, ATR has committed to purchasing gift cards from local businesses and clients as well as finding other creative ways to give back and sustain the local community.
The first business we are supporting by purchasing gift cards is the South Portland House of Pizza, an active member of the South Portland community that gives back day in and day out. We encourage you to take advantage of curbside pick-up and purchase your own gift cards for later use or provide to a neighbor who might need a hand.
We look forward to sharing with you the next business we support, and please share with us your story or a suggestion for a community business you think would be a candidate for our program of community support.
We are here for you, and we encourage us all to be here for each other. If you, your business or any one you know is in need of legal assistance and counsel, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 207-767-4824, we look forward to working with you!
Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice gratefully supports our front-line medical providers and all those putting the good of the community over themselves during these unprecedented times. We encourage those who can to support those working for the greater good however they can, and show them the heartfelt thanks we all have for their dedicated and selfless work as we battle COVID-19. A big thank you as well to DiPietro’s Market for making the delicious food we were able to share with our steadfast frontline workers!
The line above is not only a reality, it is a serious problem for anyone involved in Maine’s Family Court system. Before the pandemic, people had career changes and job losses and modifications had to be made to Child Support Orders all the time. The difference now is- THE COURT IS CLOSED UNTIL AT LEAST MAY 1, 2020. Now what?
Right now, the only cases that are getting regularly scheduled hearings are those dealing with people incarcerated for crimes and people seeking Protection orders. See link : https://www.courts.maine.gov/covid19/pmo-sjc-1-3-30-20.pdf Despite the real "emergency" presented to everyone who has a job and obligations to children delineated by Court Order, these are not deemed "emergency" by the Courts. That does not mean, however, that you cannot do something to help your situation.
The process for modifying a Child Support Order is the same: a Motion has to be filed and "served" upon the opposing party. If the Courts were open, the clerks’ office would notify all parties of a date upon which everyone would appear, and the matter would end by agreement or be set for mediation and/or a hearing eventually. The fact is those cases can take months to proceed through the system, and if you are no longer employed, you simply cannot wait.
What many people do not know is that modifications to orders can be entered and made effective very quickly BY AGREEMENT. To be valid, any such agreement needs to be formalized and signed by the Court. Despite the closures, the Court can still sign these modifications now and ease the pressure on those obligated. Clearly not all of these cases can be resolved by agreement, but if no motion to modify is filed for months, then the person obligated to pay will owe that money. In some cases, when modifications are requested by Motion and the facts support such a finding, payments can be retroactively reduced but only to the date of the filed Motion. This means that filing a Motion to Modify sooner rather than later can save you money. Call ATR’s family law team to discuss your options and to see if there is some compromise that can be reached, or whether you should file a Motion to Modify.
Attorney Christopher P. Leddy is one of ATR’s Family Law practitioners.
Read more about Attorney Leddy and contact him here: Link
All of us at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A. hope you and your family are safe and well.
Our attorneys and staff continue to closely monitor coronavirus-related developments in our area. The firm has always followed general health and safety guidelines, including those relative to office cleaning.
However, given the nature and extent of this virus as an extremely contagious pandemic, we’ve taken additional steps out of an abundance of caution.
Currently, we intend to continue to staff our offices and remain available to assist our clients. That being said, we have secured our offices at 7 Ocean Street in South Portland so that we can control access, thereby safeguarding the well-being of our staff, attorneys, clients, and the public at large.
The best manner of contact for the firm remains by telephone.
Our general office number is (207)767-4824. Attorneys and staff also stand ready to communicate via email and facsimile, as needed.
To the extent that you believe that in-person, in-office legal assistance is necessary, please contact the firm by telephone to discuss your particular matter with the appropriate attorney.
Clients experiencing fever, coughing, or shortness of breath must cancel any scheduled appointments. And, of course, clients who have any reason to believe they experienced exposure to the virus must cancel appointments.
In the event that in-office assistance is deemed necessary, please be aware that we have reviewed and reinforced cleaning procedures throughout the firm’s offices, including the prompt, regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces throughout the firm, such as those found in our conference rooms, reception area, and rest rooms.
Our firm’s attorneys and staff must stay home if they do not feel well, or have any reason to believe they were exposed to the virus.
As a small, local business, we appreciate your support and understanding in these difficult times. If our situation changes, we will update answering machine messages, our firm website, as well as our firm Facebook page, including contact information in the event of a legal emergency.
Attorney Michael Vaillancourt helped Scott Giles of ZBC Blackwood LLC and Scorebuilders to purchase Lot 32 at Scarborough Downs in order to accommodate for his company’s growth. The new building will help provide office space and warehousing for Mr. Giles’ business and is part of an explosive growth in this industrial park. ATR’s own Jerome Gamache also assisted with Lot 32’s closing as well as the other property featured in Maine Biz at Scarborough Downs. Their combined involvement highlights the fact that our firm can assist with all aspects of your real estate transaction, guided by years of experience and knowledge by the capable attorneys here at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A. Read More
The Maine hospitality industry continues to be a strong market for buyers and sellers. ATR’s Jerome Gamache and Jake Bowie, along with Rick Wolf of The B & B Team, assisted the sellers of the Maine Stay Inn & the Captain Jefferds Inn with the sale of the two inns to Lark Hotels. If you are looking to purchase or sell commercial real estate or ongoing business operations, call the attorneys at ATR today!
On June 12, 2019 Governor Mills made Maine the 9th state in the nation to adopt what is widely known as the "Death with Dignity Act". Laws of this nature have been political and social lightning rods throughout the United States. This article will take no stance on the moral issues that surround the debate, rather it will breakdown what the Death with Dignity Act requires of potential patients.
Note, this article does not break down all the specifics of each step, please click the link below to read the act in its entirety:
The Maine law has established an extensive process that prospective "qualified terminally ill patients" must go through before a physician may prescribe any end of life medication. Below is the overview of the step-by-step process required by the Act:
The "Death with Dignity" Act is built to have numerous safeguards in place. It goes without saying a decision like this is incredibly emotional. If you or a loved one has any questions about the new law, please reach out to an Elder Law Attorney.
At Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice we have 30 years of elder law experience. Bob Raftice and Eleanor Dominguez are available. If you need help understanding the new law, or any of the associated steps, please call us today.
Jerome Gamache has once again helped excited buyers close on a dream business opportunity here in Maine. Dawn and Cassidy Gintz searched all over the country before finding the Captain Nickels Inn in Searsport, Maine. They are excited to embark on this new journey and we wish them all the best!
Jerome has helped buyers and sellers all over Maine. If you are looking to buy or sell a personal home, a commercial business, an inn by the ocean, or even raw land, the Real Estate Team at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice is here to help. Contact us today to set up an appointment!
Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice has serviced Mainers for decades. On June 14th, 2019, Governor Mills signed "An Act to Update the Laws Governing Child Safety Seats and Seat Belts". Feel free to click the link to read the version loaded with legalesee, but the major updates are addressed below:
Children Under the Age of 2 Must Be: (<2 yrs, unless exceeding manufacturer’s weight limit)
Children 2 Years or Older AND Weighing Less than 55 Pounds: (>2 yrs,<55 lbs)
Children Less than 8 AND, Less than 80 Pounds, AND Less than 57 inches in height: (<8 yrs,<80 lbs, <57 inches)
Children Less than 12 Years Old AND Less than 100 Pounds: (<12 yrs, <100 lbs)
All Other Children Under 18: (<18 yrs, doesn’t fit other categories)
While there are the new laws of Maine, we ALWAYS recommend utilizing a seat belt. It does not matter how old you are or how much experience you have on the road, an accident can happy at any time and without warning.
About once a week our Criminal team fields a call from someone who was arrested and wants us to "get the case dismissed" because no one "read (them) me my rights." Just like criminal cases are not investigated, tried, and decided in one hour like on T.V.; you do not always need to have your "rights" read to you. In fact, the vast majority of police contact does not require an officer to read you any warnings at all. If the police arrest you AND THEN ask questions about a crime you are suspected of, only then do they need to "Mirandize" you. It is perfectly normal to be arrested and never hear anything about your rights.
The "rights" we are talking about refer to your "Miranda Rights." Miranda v. Arizona from 1966 discusses your right to NOT incriminate yourself in any criminal proceeding. The right to be free from self-incrimination is bestowed upon all of us via the 5th Amendment. If you have ever seen any crime drama, you may know the warning by heart:
"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?"
If you refer to my last Criminal blog post, you will know the answer to that last question is NO.
It is extremely rare for a criminal defendant to help themselves by talking to authorities without consulting an attorney. You may, in fact, be innocent, but you are already a suspect, and there is nothing you can say at that point to make them remove the handcuffs. Therefore, say nothing, and ask to speak with an attorney before answering any substantive questions.
Law enforcement might try a variety of tactics to get you to talk (i.e. "You must be guilty if you are not talking", "If you tell me, I can help you", etc.) You DO have to answer basic questions of who you are, age, address, etc, but if you are at all in doubt about the situation, say nothing beyond that. Be respectful but protect yourself until you can enlist the help of an attorney. The truth may "set you free", and a good attorney can make sure your facts get to the right people. Call our experienced Criminal Law team today.
The Constitution of the United States contains something that is referred to as "The Supremacy Clause". This clause was put in the Constitution to clear up any ambiguity or conflicts that could arise when laws of the State differed from the laws of the Federal Government. In short, any activity that involves marijuana currently is in violation of Federal Law, so why have states, including Maine, continued to publish new rules or to allow new businesses to emerge?
The short answer is opportunity. There are many theories as to why marijuana was made illegal; my personal favorite being that the founding fathers all grew tobacco and didn’t want the competition. With the passing of the Farm Bill and new proposed banking initiatives working their way through the House and Senate, it is logical to see a path to legality. While not official, the Federal Government has been content to leave local marijuana businesses alone if they comply with all local laws (and pay Federal taxes!).
The new draft rules lay out what businesses need to be doing to prepare for application day. While the rules still need to be submitted for comment and approved by the legislator, the time to begin working on your business plan is now.
Compliance is going to control the industry. Given the anticipated demand for licenses, one slip by you or a business partner could find you sitting on the sidelines. Does your ownership group have the right makeup? Are there any "disqualifying drug offenses"? Are all your officers "Residents" as defined by the rules?
There are many issues to consider when starting a marijuana business. If you, or someone you know, want to learn more about the process, please reach out to Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice and set up an appointment with Michael Vaillancourt, or Jake Bowie.
With the new recreational marijuana laws comes new business opportunity. Like any regulated business, entrepreneurs will face many regulatory hurdles. These issues include criminal background checks, licensing, police oversight, advertising and much more. Here, at Ainsworth, Thelin and Raftice, we can help with all aspects of business formation, compliance, and analysis of the laws, but that is just step one.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of iconic brands? Coke, Amazon and Microsoft are all examples of companies that have built a successful brand. There is a short window of opportunity to get out ahead of the pack in Maine. So, while our office can help with all the legal logistics, including regulatory compliance, we will not create a logo, develop operating procedures or help run QuickBooks.
While I can tell entrepreneurs that they cannot use "people, animals or fruits" (not a joke) on their labels, my graphic design skills leave something to be desired. This is where Nucleus-One comes in.
I was fortunate to be able to meet with the owner of Nucleus-One, Jacques Santucci, and Nucleus-One’s Director, Connor Yost. Nucleus-One has assisted to launch marijuana businesses all over the United States. They help with strategy, branding, accounting and much more. Getting into the marijuana field is a capital-intensive endeavor, and this requires that you make your brand standout. Whether you wish to open a retail store, grow and distribute, or are still unsure which direction to go, Nucleus-One can provide your business the direction it needs.
Many Mainer’s are already speaking with lawyers to set up companies and to position themselves for application day. Not as many, however, are focusing on issues that will become important factors for future success.
Most people stopped by a police officer are convinced they HAVE to answer every question put to them. In addition, most of us want to cooperate with Law Enforcement personnel, and we should. Some may even believe that if we are cooperative, they will "give us a break". Simply put, it does not work that way in an OUI context.
Our men and women in blue do our communities a great service, but they also have a job to do. Some of the tools they use to keep us safe can be confusing, this is not an accident!
In the initial moments of a stop one of the first questions you may be asked is, "On a scale of 1-10, how impaired would you say you are". DO NOT ANSWER THAT QUESTION!!!
Here’s why: Many people think about a scale of 1-10 and they think the lower the number, the better. In the context of an OUI this is only half true. Police officers know that, in Maine, before a case goes to a jury, the judge will give them a set of instructions as to the law, evidence, and procedure.
A common jury instruction given in OUI cases in Maine says in part: "State law does not prohibit drinking and driving; the question is whether someone was under the influence. A person is under the influence if that person’s senses- their physical or mental faculties-are impaired, however slightly, or to any extent by the alcohol that person had to drink. The State does not need to prove that the person was falling down drunk, the State need only prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person’s physical or mental faculties were impaired however slightly or to any extent by the alcohol that person had to drink."
Can you now see why ANY answer other than 0 –(ZERO) can be interpreted as an admission that what you drank (or smoked, or injected) has affected you, even a little bit? You may think you did well by saying "3", when in fact you have literally admitted you are impaired just a bit. Guess what, that is all it takes! The ONLY safe answer here is 0.
We are clearly NOT advocating for people to lie to Law Enforcement, we just want people to know that they have a right to avoid self-incriminating statements. The question seems innocent enough, and it even lets you choose a number! Just remember this question is used daily by prosecutors to point out that the defendant themselves felt impaired, even to a slight degree.
First, DO NOT drive drunk, second, know your rights at all times. The Criminal Defense Team at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice can help you minimize the damage a criminal charge can have on your future, call us today.
Post-divorce dynamic’s are extremely emotional. The threat of "I’m taking you back to Court" often has the same effect as a lit match does on gasoline. Sometimes that is exactly the result someone is looking for. The trouble is, that tone is something that Court’s in Maine are getting very tired of.
Our Family Law team fields daily calls from people who want to return to Court with some "new" information that will surely make the judge side with them. We consistently hear comments like, "My husband is an alcoholic" or "my wife is mentally abusive". Maybe the claims are true, maybe they are exaggerated, but constantly running to court for modifications can get expensive.
The key phrase in Family Law modification is "substantial change in circumstances". That may sound simple enough, but it is not. Your former partner may have a conviction for Operating Under the Influence and that means they are unfit and unsafe for your children, right? Well, if the conviction did not involve a child in the vehicle, or serious jail time that made the parent unavailable for an extended period, what is the true impact on the child’s well-being? Many normally responsible people make mistakes, and an anecdotal event does not always translate into parental unfitness.
To establish whether there has been a change in circumstances "substantial" enough to warrant a modification of the existing order, the Court will examine how the stated behavior effects the child or children. The legal standard is "the best interest of the child". Our Family Law team, headed by John Turcotte and myself, has the experience to know when a "problem" warrants judicial intervention and when other less incendiary options will suffice. At Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice we are always prepared for Court battles, but, more importantly, we know when they are necessary.
"When should I create a Will?" I would love to attribute this quote to just one person; however, I am repeatedly asked this question. People tend to put off estate planning for a variety of reasons, but getting started early will only give you more power and control.
Let’s say you were offered the chance to invest in Amazon when it was $1.00 a share, would you do it? With the benefit of hindsight, of course you would, but hindsight is 20-20 and you will never get that opportunity back. Creating an estate plan, or even just a basic Will, gives you the benefit of hindsight. You can change your Will anytime you want, so long as you remain competent to do so. A properly executed Will guarantees that should something unexpected happen, your assets will be distributed in accordance with your current wishes. If those wishes change, you can easily update your Will.
My wife and I created our Wills when we were only 30 years old. I put myself through the "Hit By a Bus" analysis. While this is about as fun as it sounds, it is a useful and short exercise.
There is only one question, "If I get hit by a bus today, am I sure all of my assets are going to the people or organizations I want them to go to?"
If you pass without a Will, your assets will be distributed by the laws of "Intestate" succession. Please click this link and let me know if these laws look like an easy area for your heirs, who likely have little or no legal training, to understand. Of equal importance, this process can end up being more expensive and less exacting than creating a plan from the beginning. MarketWatch, a financial planning website, published an article on the importance of having a will even if you are not "rich".
Our Estate Planning team is headed by Bob Raftice and his almost 30 years of experience. We recommend looking at your Will after major life events (i.e. a wedding, a new baby, divorce etc.), or once every five years. This does not mean you have to change your Will; rather, the question is, does that life event, or the passage of time, cause you to view your plans and current Will differently.
If you would like an initial estate planning consultation, or to have us do a review of your existing plan, please contact us below.
There has been a significant uptick in Bed and Breakfast and Inn sales in Maine. The real estate team at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, headed by Attorney Jerome Gamache can help buy or sell any property in Maine.
Dana Moos and Rick Wolf, both of The B&B Team Inn Consultants and Brokers, represented the buyers and sellers. Greg Soutiea, one of the new co-owners of Craignair Inn and Restaurant, alongside his wife Lauren, had this to say about working with Jerome:
"We chose to work with Attorney Jerome Gamache of ATR after interviewing several firms for our purchase of the Craignair Inn and Restaurant. We found Jerome easy to communicate with and very responsive during the several month long transaction. He also had experience working with other purchases of Bed and Breakfast type properties, which was a big selling point for us.
Jerome and paralegal Robert Dixon were both very knowledgeable and helpful as minor (and major) issues came up throughout the transaction. Together their team was able to help us to remain calm and ultimately get to the finish line and complete the transaction to purchase the property.
We would definitely recommend ATR and Jerome for anyone looking to make a similar purchase and will continue to utilize the knowledge of the firm as needs may arise in the future."
If you are interested in learning more about buying or selling your Inn, bed and breakfast, or any commercial or residential property, please contact the real estate team at Ainsworth, Thelin and Raftice to set up a consultation.
Congratulations Katie and Thom at Island Lobster Company on this exciting new venture coming to Peaks Island! We look forward to visiting and enjoying fresh caught seafood and the sights of Casco Bay from the deck!
Co-owner Katie Werner has this to say about working with Attorney Jake Bowie on the acquisition of the property and business, "Thank you, Jake! You made the legal process a breeze!"
Take a minute to click the link below to read about this coming Maine rooted trap-to-table restaurant, or to schedule a time to speak with Attorney Jake Bowie about any of your real estate and business needs.
On January 15th attorney general nominee William Barr shared his opinion on the current state of the marijuana laws. His comments sent publicly traded Marijuana Companies spiraling down before mounting a comeback later on in the trading session.
William Barr said that the current system around marijuana laws is "untenable" and that he personally supports prohibiting marijuana all throughout the United States. Barr went on to say that although he feels this way personally, he would not go after cannabis businesses that comply with state regulations.
Marijuana remains a Schedule A drug under Federal Law, so comments of this nature could certainly spook individuals or businesses looking to establish themelves under Medical or new Adult Use Marijuana laws throughout Maine.
The question is, what does this mean? Sadly, in my opinion, this does not offer any more clarity than we already had. William Barr seems to be echoing the sentiments and following guidelines that are already in place. Compliance will be the single most important factor in the early days of this new industry. For the moment, the Federal government seems content to let States like Maine establish and enforce their own rules. As long as your business adheres to all of the rules and regulations of the State enforcement agencies, the status quo looks like it will remain the same.
I would urge anyone looking to get into the Marijuana field to bring a corporate attorney on very early in the process. It is much easier to comply with the rules from the outset rather than facing stiff fines, criminal liability, or loss of license down the road.
Businesses are already positioning themselves by applying for "Conditional Use" licenses or compiling all the necessary paperwork to be ready to submit their application the day Maine begins accepting them.
As always in this industry, all of this could change on a moment’s notice. I will be sure to update this article if this occurs.
Every individual or entity will have different factors that will impact your application process. If you want to schedule an initial consultation please reach out to us by clicking below.
Maine is fast becoming a popular place to retire. We recently covered that Money Magazine named South Portland as the top place to live in Maine for the second year in a row. Not to be outdone, Forbes has announced their top two places to retire in Maine. If you want to be surprised, click the links below to find out who won (warning, spoilers below the links).
I am not surprised to see Portland come out on top. With an abundance of cultural and culinary destinations there is a reason young professionals, families, and retirees are flocking to the state. Jerome Gamache, Jake Bowie, and I have worked with clients on real estate matters all over Maine. With a median home price of $301,000, Portland offers affordability that cities like Boston cannot.
Not quite ready to retire? Jerome has been working with buyers and sellers of Bed and Breakfasts’ and Inns for those ready to transition into a new rewarding career.
Lewiston is another great option, and is even more affordable than Portland. The median home price is $141,000 and is home to Bates College.
Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice offers a wide variety of legal services. Elly Dominguez and her team can assist in all your Elder Law needs. Bob Raftice has been helping families with their estate planning and probate matters since the firm was founded more than 30 years ago. Our team of Chris’s, Chris Leddy and myself are here to help with any criminal and family law matters. Mike Vaillancourt, John Turcotte, Jake Bowie and Chris Piasecki can assist with all litigation and business law matters. Our team approach allows our clients to reach out to one firm for almost all of their legal needs.
For those of you who already live here, you already know the perks of being a "Mainer". For those that don’t, we welcome you to join us. If you want to discuss any legal matters please do not hesitate to reach out to us below.
First it was Medical Marijuana, now Adult Use is arriving at our doorstep. No matter your personal position on the matter, it is clear that Marijuana storefronts, both Medical and Recretational Use, will soon start popping up across the state. In fact, the first Medical storefront has already opened in Portland. While the State is not currently accepting applications for Adult Use Licenses, smart business owners are actively positioning themselves for when that day arrives.
It is important to note that while Recreational Marijuana is now legal in Maine, it remains illegal Federally. Please address this with any corporate counsel you decide to hire. In addition, everything published here is subject to possible change as the laws and application remain in constant fluidity.
What We Do Know:
What We Do Not Know:
This is a high level overview of the current state of affairs and each indiviual and company present a different legal situation. If you are considering trying to become a part of this new industry, please contact, Michael Vaillancourt, or Jacob Bowie of our Corporate Team to set up an appointment.
Separation and divorce are difficult regardless of when they are experienced. However, the holiday season can exacerbate these issues. Families spend years forming deep rooted holiday traditions. When children have to adapt to new extended family traditions, the transition can cause anxiety and tension for everyone.
There really is no easy way to navigate this process, and co-parents need to communicate clearly and decrease stress on the children. Mapping out the traditions around the holidays often devolves into discussions that use phrases like "my time" and "your time" when the focus really needs to be on the children. It is THEIR Christmas after all, or their Hanukah, and all they really want to do is enjoy family and have fun. To have a healthy post-separation relationship a great deal of planning and compromise needs to happen. There is simply not enough time to honor all traditions and rotating holidays is a very common answer to that issue.
The process of negotiating a workable solution must start with legal counsel that can assist you in identifying a goal for your family relationships as you move forward through divorce or separation. There are certainly times when a legal situation needs a skilled advocate, but there are many opportunities for reasonable and compassionate compromise as well. Make sure your legal counsel knows the difference between those two.
An applicant for pension benefits from the VA must meet certain medical and/or financial requirements. There is a disability requirement for the pension benefits, which is satisfied if the veteran is sixty-five (65) years of age or older, or permanently and totally disabled. If the veteran or surviving spouse has additional medical needs, then additional allowances like an aid and attendance allowance may be awarded.
The current law reads that an applicant’s net worth "must not be excessive", taking into consideration the applicant’s age, income and expenses, life expectancy, and rate of depletion of the applicant’s net worth. The financial rules also require that household income must be less than the benefit the applicant is seeking; however, income may be reduced by out-of-pocket medical expenses.
The long-anticipated changes to the eligibility rules for veteran pensions have finally come. In October 2018 the VA officially changed two major eligibility requirements for veterans seeking pension benefits.
It used to be that getting a divorce was a social "failure". However, the simple fact is that there are now more children in divorced or separated homes than there are children in "intact" family units. They very defintion of a "Family" is now a dynamic and evolving concept in Maine and throughout the country.
While you may feel stigmatized by getting divorced or splitting up a domestic partnership, it does not have to define your life going forward. You really do have a choice. Studies make it abundantly clear that the separation of parents is NOT what harms children, CONFLICT is what does the most damage.
Kids First Center is one of the great resources available in Portland, South Portand and all throughout Maine. Kids First devotes its time and efforts to reducing the conflict that surround children during emotional times. Chris Leddy is a facilitator with the organization and spends many hours teaching classes such as "The First Step" and "ICOPE".
A recent Facebook Live segment, hosted by Todd Gutner of New Center Maine, highlights the important work this organization does through all of Maine. Please watch and share the full video below to help reach familes that might benefit from their services.
Many times the attitude you bring to a dispute will decide the outcome, and that means emotion is the driving force. Fear is a powerful engine, but a terrible navigator.
The Truth About Untrue Statements
Defamation is a legal concept that most people are at least somewhat familiar with these days. In the current digital age defamation (or at least perceived defamation) has become more prevalent as an issue in the public view. Most people have the opportunity to voice an opinion to the public at large via their own Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Snapchats, or blogs that can be amplified and shared around the world in a matter of minutes or hours.
‘The internet is forever’ is a maxim that is all too often forgotten (or ignored). The permanence of internet content, combined with the ease with which a person can be searched on the internet, means that a negative statement about a person can have lasting effects on professional and/or social opportunities and bring widespread public shame or ridicule. This in turn often leads people to seek legal recourse against the publisher of the content.
Our office receives many calls from people looking to pursue legal action against others for defaming them. Frequently, there is a misunderstanding as to what is legally actionable. Simply put, many times someone has written something about the caller that the caller just doesn’t like or is hurt or embarrassed by. In and of itself, such statement is not defamatory based solely on the person’s dislike of what was published, especially if the statement is true. So, what makes a statement defamatory?
Ultimately, defamation is an ever-present concern in this day and age where unfounded accusations can spread far and wide quickly, and then linger on the internet for years to come attached to a person’s name. As such, people must be vigilant in guarding their reputations as much as possible. As evidenced above, defamation is not a simple concept that requires only showing up for a court hearing to prove and get damages. Similarly, each case is heavily fact specific with regard to the above elements of defamation.
If you or someone you know may have been defamed, you should consult with one of our attorneys who can review the facts of what happened and help you navigate what can be a complicated legal issue. Likewise, if you or someone you know has been accused of defaming another person, an appointment should be made with a professional to discuss defending such a claim, as ignoring or not properly addressing the issue could leave you potentially liable for damages for which you may not be legally responsible. Our attorneys are standing by to assist and we look forward to your call.
By a vote of 6,375 to 5,378 South Portland will regulate short-term rentals. Since the emergence of companies like Airbnb and HomeAway, cities have struggled to find a balance between maintaining the integrity of residential neighborhoods and satisfying a new industry.
South Portland has been at the forefront of this debate in Maine as it continues to grow in popularity due to its many attractions and proximity to downtown Portland. The Press Herald reported that there were 282 short-term rentals in South Portland as of November 2017.
Now that the dust has settled, what will be the law after January 1, 2019?
What will not be impacted?
Details still need to be worked out. For instance, "Hosted" short-term rentals will be allowed in residential zoning areas under certain conditions. The City Clerk’s office will release information about registration as it becomes available and recommends checking their website for new updates.
The attorneys at Ainsworth, Thelin and Raftice handle all types of real estate matters. Every case is fact dependent and even the smallest detail can impact how the law will apply to you or your building.
The information in this blog is not designed to be specific legal advice. If you have a question or wish to set up a consultation, please click below or call us today.
I am sure that line got your attention! Good! At ATR, we have been advising clients for years that what you communicate can have consequences. To get that point across succinctly, I tell clients not to text, e mail, or post anything they would not be comfortable reading out loud in open court, to a judge. I have heard other attorneys tell their clients that they should be comfortable reading any of their communications to their children. The point is, our private thoughts and opinions can and often do have negative consequences. We all have strong emotions about our personal lives and those we have relationships with and that is natural. A recent Maine Law Court opinion (State v. Heffron) however made it clear that some communication, even a post on your own Facebook page, can be legally interpreted as "contact" and in the context of a Protection From Abuse Order, "contact" can result in arrest, detention, and perhaps conviction.
Social media is as much a part of our everyday lives as our emotions are but mixing the two without being aware of the consequences can literally land you in jail. There are appropriate outlets for the natural, strong emotions that arise out of the relationship dynamics we all face. Now more than ever, people need to think before they "speak" or their freedom may be in jeopardy. Our criminal team can help you navigate the social media landscape after the Heffron decision, and by all means, edit what you post, e mail, or text in the midst of difficult times.
One of the very first concerns parents have when facing a divorce is "When will I see my children?". This is one of the most frightening aspects of Maine Family Law and especially so for many fathers. There is a long standing "expectation" that children will spend more time with their mother. There actually used to be a legal presumption that children under a certain age would reside primarily with their mother. It was known as the "Tender Years" doctrine and it reflected common thinking at the time. Maine’s newest family laws actually mandate the "equal consideration of parents". Despite that language being the law, some are still convinced that fathers get pushed aside.
What Maine’s laws say is that contact schedules need to serve the "best interest of the child (ren)" 19-A MRS 1653(3). Maine law has a set framework for the best interest analysis and it contains 19 factors a Judge must consider. In general, Judges do not want to decide your schedule for you. Judges much prefer situations where the parents have decided how best to divide up the time and make sure the children are well cared for. The schedules that work the best are the ones that all of the parties help to create. The schedule is about the children after all, and they did not choose for their parents to get divorced.
A certain level of inconvenience is expected for the parents and all efforts should be made to create a schedule that preserves the importance of all parental relationships. The studies are very clear that outcomes for children are best when both parents remain connected to the children and maintain positive influences. Each family will be different of course, but the key is focusing on positive outcomes rather than trying to win a particular battle within the litigation. Call John Turcotte or Chris Leddy and discuss your case today.
Jerome continues to impress clients with his vast knowledge and expertise in a very nuanced area of the law. Commercial Bed & Breakfast and Inn transactions involve many moving parts. While every deal has individual aspects, there are really two transactions going on, the business and the building.
Attorney Gamache always helps his clients understand all aspects of the sale. James Smith, the new owner of The Inn on Carleton, had this to say, "Being represented by Jerome Gamache of ATR law helped to make the transaction smooth and made me confident that I was well-informed throughout."
Attorney Jerome Gamache has developed a reputation within the hospitality community. He has helped numerous clients buy and sell Bed and Breakfasts and Inns throughout Maine. If you would like to discuss buying or selling an Inn or B & B, schedule a consultation below.
The GAL Review Board of the of the Board of Overseers of the Bar is pleased to present two opportunities for guardians ad litem to fulfill their 2017 CPE requirement. Two one-hour video replays will be held on August 27th and 28th from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Featured speakers are Aria Eee, Esq., Deputy Bar Counsel, Board of Overseers of the Bar, Augusta, Seth Levy, Esq., Brunswick, and Christopher Leddy, Esq., Ainsworth Thelin & Raftice, P.A. – Portland.
Our own Jerome Gamache has helped facilitate another success Bed and Breakfast deal in Maine. Jerome has a practice focus in hospitality, which can be a rather complex area of law. Dana Moos and Rick Wolf, of the talented B & B Team, Scott Fernald of Camden National Bank and Jerome all worked efficiently to close the transaction in just a few months. According to Dana, Inns like this can take upwards of 2-3 years to sell, to accomplish this in just 4 months is something all parties are proud of. Click Here To Read About How The Old Saco Inn Sold In Mere Months We congratulate everyone on a job well done! If you are considering buying a Bed and Breakfast, Inn, or any sort of commercial property in Maine please click here to request a consultation with Jerome or call us at 207-767-4824.
Ainsworth, Thelin and Raftice is always proud to help clients navigate complex situations to reach desired outcomes. Jerome Gamache has worked with lenders and real estate clients of all sizes. Take a few moments to read about how a successful entrepreneur and Dana Myles of Norway Savings Bank worked together to realize that dream. Barrett Made Poised for growth with purchase of Portland’s public works property. Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice always want to see strong small businesses flourish in Maine and congratulate Barrett Made Design Build Construction in all their success. If you want to speak with Jerome about buying or selling a bed and breakfast, an inn, commercial property or a residential home please contact us today.
John Turcotte is used to helping his clients achieve their goals. With camp season approaching fast, many families are buying or selling properties that have been held by the same families for generations.
Click here or below to read John’s high level overview.
Ainsworth, Thelin and Raftice has always taken pride in helping clients achieve a wide variety of goals. Jerome recently represented the seller in a complex commercial deal that allowed a longtime Portland small business owner remain in their ideal location. "Foden Road A Win-Win" is the latest article that reference’s Jerome’s work.
Jerome handles a wide variety of simple and complex residential and commercial transactions. From single family homes to multi-million dollar bed and breakfast’s, Jerome will work to help you reach your desired outcome.
Please join us for an informational seminar on 9/21/17 from 5:30-7:00pm as we team up with The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland to discuss Estate Planning and Pet Trusts.
ATR offers comprehensive estate planning, probate, and elder law services, individually designed to take into account each client’s unique goals and circumstances. Bob Raftice Jr. and Elly Dominguez, will discuss Estate Planning and Pet Trusts. ATR knows that good planning can make all the difference to help clients and their families understand their options and to make sure their goals and wishes are honored.
Regardless of your level of wealth, estate planning is a vital part of your overall financial plan. Planning ahead can give you greater control, privacy, and the opportunity to leave your legacy to your loved ones, including your pets. When planning for your pet’s life after your death, you have a range of options – from making simple, non-legal arrangement, to making a trust, to leaving your pet with an organization dedicated to taking care of pets after a death.
We invite you to join us to take full advantage of this informational opportunity. The event will be held at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland’s new facility at 449 Stroudwater Street, Westbrook. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org Light refreshments will be served.
At one of their largest turnouts in recent years, the Maine State Bar Association held its Annual Bar Conference and 125th anniversary celebration June 21-23 at Sugarloaf.
Albert Ayre was appointed President of the Maine State Bar Association on January 1, 2017. He graduated from Yale University in 1964, then served in the United States Marine Corps from 1964-1968 attaining the rank of Captain. Returning to civilian life, Attorney Ayre obtained his J.D. in 1971 from the University of Illinois, College of Law. His professional career includes working his way up to partner at Pierce Atwood in the 1970s, then working both as a sole practitioner and a partner in a two man Portland firm before becoming Of Counsel to Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A. in 2013.
Already hard at work in his new role as President of the MSBA, Mr. Ayre has outlined a vigorous agenda for the year with renewed emphasis on outreach to the 3100+ Members and support of the public interest in a fair and effective system of justice.
Attorney Ayre currently resides in South Portland and Rangeley, Maine with his wife, Gail, one dog and one cat.
Early Action To Project Your Rights
OUI Alcohol/Drugs Defense Win
Chris Leddy recently won a motor vehicle hearing for a client charged with an ‘OUI Alcohol/ Drugs.’ The client avoided having an OUI offense on their record, a significant victory. These hearings are not often won by the defense, and many drivers do not even challenge the motor vehicle suspension. Chris routinely asks for a hearing for every one of his OUI clients to preserve the opportunity to challenge the State. Early action is vital to protecting your rights. The following analysis shows why contacting Chris early on can make all the difference in keeping your license.
The typical notice sent to a driver charged with an ‘OUI Alcohol/ Drugs’ looks like this:
The issues at the hearing are whether, by a preponderance of the evidence:
1. There was probable cause to believe that you were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a specific category of drug, a combination of specific categories of drugs or a combination of alcohol and one or more specific categories of drugs;
2. You operated a motor vehicle with a confirmed positive blood or urine test for a drug or its metabolite; and
3. You operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of the confirmed drug.
As you can see from the notice, the State is using a "shotgun" approach to the proof required to suspend someone charged this way. They only have to show a category of drug, a combination of categories, or a combination of alcohol and categories of a drug. The reports will contain terminology like: CNS depressants, opiates, amphetamines, and carboxy-THC. Most likely these will be discovered by testing a sample of your urine. The trouble is, urinalysis only tells you that the body has processed that substance or something like it, it says NOTHING about when or how much it processed. The State does not have to prove with great specificity what it is you ingested or what is working to impair you, in fact it can simply prove a "category" of drug was in your system at some point. Not exactly sharpshooting here, but they don’t have to be precise to take away your license!
Any or all of these grounds can be proven by a PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE. That is far lower than the standard of proof in a criminal case: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. While the standard of proof is far lower, the consequences to you as a driver are the same, you cannot legally drive. How many people can afford not to drive?
The State always has to show that a driver is "under the influence" of a category of drug, alcohol, or a combination of both to suspend you. The fact is, only alcohol has proven levels of impairment that correlate to tests that they can readily provide as proof. The legal limit is .08 BAC in Maine, and most people will exhibit some form of impairment at that level. Some BAC results are so high that challenging impairment is not a good idea, but you need to be represented by someone who understands the process, the mechanisms, and the pitfalls. Part of the reason we were successful with the client in this example was that Chris was more familiar with the testing guidelines than both of the officers who investigated our client. These opportunities may not occur often, but you need counsel who can exploit the weaknesses in the proof when possible.
With the new marijuana laws coming into effect, it will be more and more important to make the State prove impairment by reliable and objective means. Urinalysis, mentioned above, can only reveal metabolites of substances. The simple fact that someone tests positive for the metabolite of a specific drug category has absolutely NO correlation to impairment. A metabolite is what’s left after your body processes a substance and those metabolites can linger for days or weeks, long after the drug had any effect on you, and even further from when it may have impaired you. An experienced attorney can expose weaknesses in the collection and analysis of evidence from the police officer. Please call Chris at 207-767-4824 or contact us through our secure portal to discuss your case and learn more about the importance of obtaining legal counsel early on.
HINDSIGHT IS 20/20
NOTHING IS AS EXPENSIVE AS REGRET
We have all heard these quotes before but how do they connect to Family Law? It’s simple really; neither of them does you any good because they refer to lessons learned AFTER the fact.
Family dynamics are fluid and complex in the best of times, when you look at them in the context of a divorce or parental rights matter they become frightening. Nobody is at his or her best when in the midst of emotional, financial, and logistic upheaval. A great deal of stress and instability can be avoided, but that requires a clear head. An attorney who can logically sort through the problems you are facing, prioritize them and focus your efforts on the truly critical issues can make a painful process manageable.
The right Attorney can make sure you never apply these quotes to your own experience. At our firm Family Law is not about "winning" it is about seeking a compassionate and logical compromise that allows a family to efficiently move on to "real life". We encourage you to call and speak with us, get a feel for how we approach our client’s cases and see if we are a good fit for you. Let our experience guide you to a just and efficient result. We all have situations where the two quotes above apply, but we can make sure they don’t have any connection to your Family Law litigation.
One of many reasons to have the right attorney!!
If you own property near a lake or pond in Maine, odds are good
that you or a neighbor has an easement. So common and yet so misunderstood, easements can be one of the most frequent sources
of real estate disputes.
Strictly speaking, an easement is a right to do something on someone else’s property. An easement does not confer ownership rights; rather it grants the ability to perform some act on the property. While often called "rights of way," easements are not restricted to crossing over the property of another. It could be the right to seasonally farm or mine, it could be a shared driveway; it could grant the right to pass and repass over the land of the grantor to access a lot, a beach, or a shared dock.
While many easements can be located by researching the title to your property, many others cannot. There are multiple kinds of easements recognized by Maine law and most do not have to be recorded at the registry of deeds. Easements by agreement, easements by estoppel, prescriptive easements, and easements by implication are all created by conduct and by the history of the use of the land. These are likely to be unknown to a new purchaser, but are no less binding than an easement recorded in the registry of deeds. Likewise, longtime residents can find themselves embroiled in a dispute with new owners when the easements rights, never reduced to writing, are ignored or contested.
This is Maine: When the easement was created, everyone knew what the agreement was and exactly where the right of way was located. Over time, the specifics of that original agreement become lost. Even when reduced to writing, it is not at all uncommon to find that the language in the deeds is vague and unclear to modern readers. While all the original grantors knew where the "path to the beach" was when they first set pen to paper, the land has changed. Perhaps it has been developed; the right of way no longer hugs a rock wall at the
edge of a pasture; it cuts through the middle of a hoped-for housing development.
And what of the person who owns the land over which the easement crosses? What can he do with his property? Can he build on his property? Maintain a fence? Can he park on it? When trying to make use of his own property, is he restricted in what he can do? The answer will depend on the specific facts creating the easement rights. Like much of the law, the correct answer may defy "common sense."
We can help. I’m a Windham native. At Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A., we have been helping property owners negotiate the tricky waters of easements for more than a quarter of a century. We have resolved easement
and property disputes throughout Southern and Coastal Maine. We are also the legal agent for hundreds of Maine companies. If you, your clients, family, friends, or neighbors need a problem solved, please call us.
~ John Turcotte, Attorney at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A.