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Gay Marriage Legally Does it Matter Attorney Profile

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					                                                                                                          News from Lipman, Katz & McKee, P.A.
                                                                                                                   Attorneys at Law
                                                                                                                         Vol. 1 Issue 2 • Fall 2009


Attorney Profile:
                                                       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.

                                                                                         www.lipmankatzmckee.com
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 amcdermott@marshallpr.com.
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	
                                     “small-town”	firm.	




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