News from Lipman, Katz & McKee, P.A.
Attorneys at Law
Vol. 1 Issue 2 • Fall 2009
Maura completed her undergraduate
Maura (Gerrin) Bragg
studies at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia
Maura always knew she wanted to practice as a Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society
law. As a high school sophomore, she was member. She returned from the South to attend
accepted into a three-year legal program at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, where
her school in Brookline, Massachusetts for 20 she was a Moot Court Honor Board Member
students who showed proficiency and interest and Technical Editor of the Journal of Trial &
in practicing law. It was during this time that Appellate Advocacy. She graduated in 2003
she first started volunteer work for abused and after being admitted to the Massachusetts
women and children. She was 16 years old at Bar, she went to work and became a partner
the time and asked her parents if she could at Forman, Corcoran, Grodt & Gerrin, P.C., in James A. Billings
bring the victims home to stay with them. Continued on page 2
Gay Marriage... Legally, Does it Matter?
This November the State of Maine voters created by the State of Maine would apply to recognize the marriage and there would be
will be deciding whether to repeal or affirm gay marriages. These include the ability to have the opportunity to elect survivor benefits
the decision of the Maine Legislature to permit divorce laws apply to gay marriages. Currently if and receive benefits after the death of the
gay marriages. Putting aside the moral and a gay couple separates and they have no written employee’s spouse. The issue of health
religious issues, the question arises does it agreement, a variety of laws apply in the same insurance and recognition as a spouse is not
matter if gay marriages are allowed in the State way as unmarried heterosexual couples and entirely clear. It would depend upon the
of Maine. The answer is that it matters in some which is confusing and complex. language of the plan and whether the plan
instances and not others. A major issue is retirement and other is sanctioned as an ERISA plan under federal
If gay marriage were permitted in the State rights as a surviving spouse. The Maine State law. If the plan is governed under federal law
of Maine, then certain attributes of marriage as Retirement System would presumably Continued on page 2
Lipman, Katz & McKee Welcomes H. Ilse Trumpy-Teeters
Please join us in welcoming Lipman, where she received degrees in Government
Katz & McKee’s newest associate, H. Ilse and French.
Trumpy-Teeters. Ilse’s legal practice is focused Prior to joining Lipman, Katz & McKee,
in the areas of criminal defense, personal Ilse worked for several years in a civil litigation
injury, medical malpractice and family law. firm in Portland, Maine. Before that, she
She is admitted to both the Maine and served as a law clerk for the Hon. Donald G.
Massachusetts bars. Alexander of the Maine Supreme Judicial
Ilse graduated magna cum laude from Court. During her clerkship, she had the
the University of Maine School of Law in opportunity to assist Justice Alexander in
2006, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of editing Maine Appellate Practice.
the Maine Law Review. Ilse is a 2000 magna Ilse is also an accomplished sailor and
cum laude graduate of Connecticut College tri-athlete.
Information from Social Networking Web sites Used in Court
Social networking websites such as decided an appeal which, in part, involved At the time the parties entered into the
MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have become child support. In the Hamilton case, the parties mediated agreement in the Hamilton case, the
household names. These and similar websites were already divorced and landed back in court mother was collecting Temporary Assistance
can be a means to connect with friends, find several years later to address the mother’s for Needy Families (TANF) through DHHS. The
old classmates or meet others with a common request for the children to reside primarily with father’s MySpace profile indicated that his
interest. On some sites, members have the her in Maine. Following mediation, the parties income was in excess of $250,000 per year!
ability to post information about their reached an agreement that the children would Upon learning that the mother had waived
personal lives such as what they are doing reside primarily with the mother, and would her right to child support while receiving
for the weekend or share photos of a recent spend their winter and summer vacations with public assistance, DHHS intervened in the
vacation. Information from these Web sites the father. The parties also agreed that the case objecting to the agreement that no child
can also be courtroom fodder. mother would not seek child support from the support would be paid. The father asserted that
In August, the Maine Supreme Judicial father and the father would not try to collect his expected income for 2008 was only $10,000
Court, in Hamilton v. Hamilton, 2009 ME 83, unpaid child support from the mother. Continued on page 3
Profile In 2007, while visiting her twin brother,
she fell for Maine and decided to take the leap
regarding estate planning and was a career
speaker at Cony High School for their Economic
Continued from page 1
and move here. Foundation classes. Maura is an active
Newton, Massachusetts, where they had offices After being admitted to the Maine Bar, participant and volunteer for the Kennebec
in New Hampshire and Maine. Maura focused on Maura then joined Lipman, Katz & McKee. She Valley Chamber of Commerce.
estate planning, business law and corporate law. is currently focusing on administrative appeal Maura is presenting a free seminar,
Maura then served as General Counsel at a work, employment law, estate planning, Estate Planning: Not Just for the Rich!, to be
private drug testing company in Massachusetts. business law and corporate law. held on November 3, at the Senator Inn in
As that company’s first in-house counsel, she She has co-authored articles and books Augusta from 6:30-8:30 pm. To register,
provided counsel in a wide variety of areas on these same topics, and has been a featured call Anna McDermott at 623-4177 or email
including employment law, administrative law, speaker at numerous public seminars. her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
health care and contracts. Recently, she spoke at a Cynergy event
Gay Marriage It is important to note what gay marriage
will not accomplish. Federal law is important in
active duty. Certain benefits are provided for
spouses and those would not be changed. The
Continued from page 1 our lives these days and most likely would not federal government would not be allowing gay
which is ERISA and the plan does not recognize be altered by a change of definition of marriage spouses to file joint tax returns.
a gay marriage, there would be the question of to include same sex individuals. Under social Areas of contract law would be affected
whether federal law preempts state law and the security disability and social security income as well. For example automobile and
plan could be forced to recognize gay marriages. spouses are entitled to certain benefits upon homeowners policies often provide protection
Under Maine law a spouse cannot be the death or disability of the other spouse. For for members of a household who are related.
written out of the other spouse’s estate. This people that work for the federal government, The question would then be under the
is known as the spousal election and basically the federal government has its own pension definition of “related” would gay couples be
indicates that if a spouse is not satisfied with plans and these would not be changed in terms deemed related such that coverage would
what she or he receives under the estate plan, of recognizing who a spouse is for purposes apply to both under the automobile or
then the surviving spouse can elect to receive of retirement and death benefits. Social homeowners policy.
one-third of the estate. The estate definition security provides for widows benefits upon In conclusion, the change in the law to
is expanded to include life insurance proceeds the death of a spouse and those would not be allow gay marriage will matter in many areas
and certain gifts in joint tenancy and joint changed as well. Particularly in recent times, but will not necessarily apply to other areas
property. Currently there is not this protection a significant part of the population has been particularly those areas involving federal law
for a gay person. in the active military or in the reserves on and contract law.
2 TODAY’S LAW
Three Attorneys Selected for 2010 Landmark Maine Supreme Court
‘Best Lawyers in America’ Decision in Priest Abuse Case
Sumner Lipman and Keith Varner Sumner Lipman, Roger Katz and Robert In a landmark decision in a case brought
Stolt have been selected by their peers for by Lipman, Katz & McKee attorneys, Sumner
Receive Multi-million Dollar Lipman and Keith Varner, the Maine Supreme
inclusion in the 2010 edition of the Best
Verdict in Priest Abuse Case Lawyers in America®. The Best Lawyers® Court changed Maine law recently to prohibit
Sumner Lipman and Keith Varner recently publication is the oldest peer-reviewed the use of the charitable immunity defense
received a multi-million dollar verdict in a high- publication in the legal profession. Since in cases involving intentional torts such as
profile case involving allegations of abuse by a 1983, Best Lawyers® has been regarded, by fraudulent concealment. This is the second time
priest. Kennebec County Superior Court Justice both professionals and the public, as the Sumner and Keith have changed the law in
Joseph Jabar awarded a Lipman, Katz & McKee definitive guide to legal excellence in the priest abuse cases.
client $4,462,004.12 for the abuse he suffered United States. Congrats!
at the hands of former priest Ronald Michaud. Walter McKee Speaks at ME Associ-
The award - $1,000,000 in punitive damages
and $3,462,004.12 in compensatory damages -
Sumner Lipman Keeps Maine ation of Criminal Defense Lawyers
is the largest priest abuse verdict ever in the Lawyers Informed seminar
state of Maine. Great job, Sumner and Keith! Sumner H. Lipman served as the Walter McKee spoke recently at the Maine
moderator at the presentation on the New Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Rules on Medical Malpractice Screening (MACDL) annual seminar. Walter spoke on 2008-
Lipman Katz & McKee Voted Panel Hearings at the Maine State Bar 2009 Maine Legislative, Rule and Case Law
Greater Augusta’s Best Attorneys Association’s summer meeting. The Changes. Walter is a frequent speaker statewide
The attorneys of Lipman Katz & McKee have presentation was primarily to review and on criminal defense and civil and criminal trial
been voted Greater Augusta’s Best Attorneys in discuss the New Rules of Evidence that will practice. He is a past president of MACDL and
the Best of the Best survey by Market Surveys of impact hearings before panels that occur in also serves on the Board of Governors of the
America for the ninth consecutive year. medical malpractice cases. Maine Trial Lawyers Association.
Walter McKee appointed Chair of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practice
On October 1st, Walter was appointed Chair of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. Congrats Walt!
Social Networking ordered to pay ongoing child support as right to receive child support from a parent
Continued from page 2 well as money toward the arrearage that who is not providing primary residence to a
had begun accruing since the mother began child while the child receives TANF.
and a court concluded that he was able to earn receiving TANF. The Law Court held that The Hamilton case illustrates how social
more and imputed an income to him using the DHHS had the right to object to the mediated networking Web sites have become a new
federal full time minimum wage. agreement to the extent that it purported source of information for parties in family law
The Law Court noted that the trial court to waive the father’s legal duty to pay child cases and other litigation. Persons who use
“apparently did not find credible Richard’s support while the mother received TANF. In these Web sites should be mindful of what
MySpace claim of income in excess of accordance with Maine Statutory Law, the information they share, particularly if they are
$250,000.” Nevertheless, the father was Law Court held that the State of Maine has the involved in litigation.
TODAY’S LAW 3
This Is Lipman, Katz & McKee
Lipman, Katz & McKee is recognized
as one of the outstanding trial law firms
in Maine. For more than 30 years, we have
NEWSLETTER successfully represented individuals and
These articles should not be businesses in matters ranging from the
construed as legal advice for relatively straightforward to the highly
complex. Both in litigation and in other
a specific case. If you wish to legal activities, such as wills, real estate,
contact our firm for further and corporate work, we represent our On September 26, 2009 Roger Katz (left)
information please write or clients with vigor and skill.
The people of Lipman, Katz & McKee joined Walter McKee (right), David Lipman,
telephone us: are deeply committed to the Greater Bob Stolt, Keith Varner, and Karen Lipman
Lipman, Katz & McKee, P.A. Augusta community. Most of our law- Boston, partners of Lipman, Katz & McKee,
yers were raised in central Maine, and all in celebrating with Sumner Lipman (center)
227 Water Street of us value the lifestyle of this area. We
Augusta, Maine 04332-1051 offer legal work of the caliber found in on his 40 years of practicing the law.
622-3711 or 1-800-660-3713 “big-city” firms, while maintaining the
close client contacts you expect from a
227 Water Street, P.O. Box 1051 PAID
Augusta, Maine 04332-1051 Hallowell, ME
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