Posts Categorized: Articles

Valuation of businesses in divorce: personal goodwill and enterprise goodwill

A business’s goodwill consists of its “reputation, patronage, and other intangible assets that are considered when appraising the business.” Black’s Law Dictionary 703 (7th ed. 1999). Under Maine law, enterprise goodwill is quantifiable property subject to equitable distribution by the court. Ahern v. Ahern, 2008 ME 1, ¶ 14, 938 A.2d 35. Personal goodwill, in contrast, “is… Read more »

New federal law targets elder abuse and exploitation

According to a report by Rhonda McMillion, an editor of the ABA (American Bar Association) Washington Letter, a publication of the ABA Governmental Affairs Office, a new federal law championed by the ABA will fight elder abuse and exploitation. The report, which appeared in the December 2017 issue of the ABA Journal, notes the following:… Read more »

Commericial property valuations in divorce litigation

Commercial property valuation is a more complicated and much more expensive process than appraising residential real estate. Depending on the type of property, commercial appraisals can run between $2,500 to $15,000. The cost will vary based on the size, nature, and complexity of the property involved. Like residential appraisers, commercial appraisers follow standards set forth… Read more »

Maine law permitting recreational use of marijuana creates uncertainty for employers

Maine is now one of eight states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington – and the District of Columbia that have legalized the use of recreational marijuana.  Although retail sales of marijuana have been delayed to February 2018, the recreational use of marijuana became legal on January 30, 2017.  Once the Maine… Read more »

Circumstantial evidence can present a “convincing mosaic” of gender discrimination

So holds a recent decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals. In Burns v. Johnson, — F.3d — (1st  Cir. 2016), the First Circuit vacated a district court’s decision granting summary judgment to an employer, after the district court concluded the employee’s evidence of gender bias amounted to speculative conclusions about a supervisor’s motivation.… Read more »

Opinion testimony by expert witnesses in divorce litigation

In addition to the evidentiary standards contained in the Maine Rules of Evidence, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (the “Law Court”) has identified specific judicial standards and procedures that are applicable to the admissibility of expert testimony. While a primary test for admissibility are the Rules of Evidence, judicially crafted standards and limitations constitute a… Read more »

Opinion testimony by lay witnesses in divorce litigation

In divorce litigation, like civil litigation in general, opinion testimony is not limited to experts. Lay witnesses, especially the parties to a divorce case, may testify with respect to the valuation of real and personal property despite a lack of expertise. Rule 701 of the Maine Rules of Evidence provides that: If the witness is… Read more »