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John Christopher Bannon

John Bannon’s Answers

24 total

  • Do the BOD of a private road association have the ability to limit access to vehicles without a vote from the general members?

    The board of directors for a private road association closed the access to vehicles over 5000lbs except for package delivery vehicles, fuel delivery vehicles, septic removal, emergency vehicles, and personal/commercial vehicles owned and operated...

    John’s Answer

    Under Maine law, the Board of Directors of a private road association have the powers of a road commissioner and are responsible for day-to-day decisions about the actions necessary to maintain the road. A decision to close a road to vehicles above a certain weight -- a measure designed to maintain the integrity of the road surface -- is within the authority of the Board of Directors, and does not require prior authorization by a vote of the members. A decision to close a road to vehicles above a certain weight does not require any expenditure of Association funds, special assessments, or other budgetary considerations on which the association members as a whole would have a right to vote.

    I hope this is helpful.

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  • Can i put a claim against a state housing inceptor

    me and my son our both on disability hes 6 and vie had my section 8 voucher for 3 yrs . inspector of the state passed them both and they should of never passed . one with lead and the other no insulation int he home

    John’s Answer

    Unfortunately, the answer is "no." The is a Maine statute known as the "Tort Claims Act" that grants governmental officials virtually complete immunity from suit, regardless of whether they were negligent. There is an exception in the statute allowing suits against the government, under some circumstances, which the government agency carries liability insurance that would apply to your claim. You could write a letter to the state inspector to ask whether there is insurance that would cover your claim.

    I must tell you, that even if you have a chance even to file suit against the inspector, that the odds of your prevailing are low, and the legal costs of bringing such a suit are high. It is doubtful that the inspector has a legal duty toward you personally that would allow you to sue him.

    This does not mean that there is nothing you can do. I recommend that you at least write a letter to the inspector to notify him or her of the alleged mistakes. If he or she investigates your claim and finds it to be well-founded, it is at least possible that he or she might assist you in finding housing that satisfies all codes and regulations, and/or order the landlord to correct the deficiencies if the landlord wishes to continue renting under Section 8.

    I wish you the best of luck.

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  • My daughter and i have a month to month lease , the bank took the house back on Jan 8th the landlord and i have a agreement

    that i pay all utilities and not pay rent. now he gave me notice to vacate so the bank can winterize the house, can he do this?

    John’s Answer

    I assume from your question that you do not actually have a written lease, and that your landlord had verbally agreed to allow you to occupy your apartments on a month-to-month basis so long as you paid the utilities on time.

    Unfortunately, if you have no written lease, the landlord can terminate your tenancy whenever he or she wishes, even if you have faithfully paid the rent (or in this case, the utilities). The law requires the landlord to give you at least 30 days' written notice to vacate the apartment. The earliest day on which you can ordered to vacate your apartment is midnight on the last day for which you have already paid rent.

    I am sorry that you are in this predicament.

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  • Can I write a letter to the judge in my divorce/custody hearing ?

    I just don't feel that I had the chance to fully express all the concerns I have in regard to my situation with my daughter.

    John’s Answer

    If I understand your question correctly, the answer is "no." To the extent you wish to make the judge aware of new evidence or arguments, the judge can only consider information that he or she receives during a judicial hearing. If the judge has already ruled on your case, then you or your attorney must file a motion for reconsideration or for a new trial in order bring new evidence to the judge's attention. I must tell you, however, such efforts are rarely successful. It would be one thing if you discovered the information you want to present to the judge for the first time after the hearing, and you could not, even with due diligence, have discovered that information before the hearing. Then the judge might be willing to hear you. However, if you declined to tell the judge information you already knew or neglected to make an argument you could have made at the hearing, then the judge will very probably deny a motion for reconsideration or for new trial.

    Another consideration is whether you were represented by an attorney at the hearing. Judges are very uncomfortable with communications from persons who, to his or her knowledge, are represented by counsel. Judges are somewhat more forgiving of persons who represented themselves at the hearing, because they obviously do not know as much as attorneys do about court procedures.

    In any event, you should never try to communicate with a judge directly. You must always contact the judge through the clerk of the court where the case was heard. You must also send your opponent's attorney, or the opponent herself if she represented herself, a copy of what you send to the clerk's office. Ultimately, there is no possibility of your contacting the judge without the other side knowing about it; the clerk will send them a copy of your letter even if you do not.

    I imagine this sounds somewhat severe. I do sympathize with you. It is extremely common for people to regret what they did not say at a hearing, or to wonder whether the result would have been different "if only" they had brought up certain information. In my experience, those regrets are generally unnecessary if you or your attorney were fully prepared for the hearing. Judges are human, and make mistakes. It is an imperfect system, and sometimes justice is not done.

    If you do not have an attorney, I strongly recommend that you hire one; and if you already have an attorney, I strongly recommend that you discuss your concerns with him or her. Perhaps there is something unique about the facts of your case that would lead to a result different from what I have described. A good attorney is in the best position to help you. Acting on your own is likely to be disappointing.

    I wish you the best of luck.

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  • Why am I paying taxes on easement [driveway] property?

    I have asked in the past about easement property[driveway]. It has been explained to me . By several lawyers on this site. That I don't own the driveway. Went to trial. Judge granted the neighbors an easement involving property of driveway.So why ...

    John’s Answer

    If no other Avvo attorneys been able to answer your question in a satisfactory manner, it may be because there is no answer that would strike you as being just. If so, that is not necessarily surprising, The legal system often leads to results that reasonable people would consider unjust. However, attorneys do not make the law; that authority rests solely in the hands of judges and legislatures. We can only tell you what the law is -- not what it should be.

    I infer from your question that a court has declared that one of your neighbors has an easement to use a driveway on your property. Although it might be just for the easement holder to pay for a portion of the taxes on the property, the law does not require that he or she do so. A person who holds an easement has no ownership of the physical land itself; he or she only has an abstract legal right to pass over it. Property taxes are solely the responsibility of the person who owns the land. The law views you as being the sole owner of the earth within the boundaries of your property.

    This does not mean that the existence of the easement is irrelevant to the amount of taxes you can be asked to pay. You are taxed based upon the fair market value of your land. The existence of the neighbor's easement presumably decreases the fair market value of your land -- most people will pay more for land that is free and clear than for land that is encumbered by an easement. This means that the Town must assess your land in light of the easement. If the Town does not know that the court has granted your neighbor an easement over your land, go to the Town assessors office, tell them about what has happened, and ask them to reduce the assessed value of your land on account of the easement. The lower the assessed value of your land, the lower the amount of taxes you will pay.

    Town assessors are often uncooperative about reducing the assessed value of your land. If the assessor refuses to reduce the assessed value of your property voluntarily, I am virtually certain that you have the right to seek an abatement of your property taxes from a board that has the power to overrule the assessor.

    I do not know to what extent the easement actually devalues your property. Many factors affect market value. You would likely need an appraiser to answer that question. If the easement has little effect on the value of your property, you will not see much difference in the amount of taxes you have to pay on your property.

    I also recommend that you hire an attorney to help you seek a reduction in your taxes. Municipalities always have the upper hand in saying "no" when someone asks them for help. An attorney can advise how to level the playing field so as to maximize the odds of your obtaining a decrease in your taxes.

    I wish you the best of luck.

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  • Do I need to hire a lawyer even though I have hundreds of pages of evidence from emails. Do I have little chance w/out one?

    I was served with protection from harassment papers 2 weeks ago while in class at school . She filed a false police report , and I have so much evidence in my possession from pictures emails , and other documents that she lied about everything ...

    John’s Answer

    The protection from harassment hearing will be governed by the Protection from Harassment Statute, the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Maine Rules of Evidence. Although I suspect you would be able to familiarize yourself with the statute fairly easily, there is no likelihood that you could master the Rules of Procedure, and especially the Rules of Evidence, in time for the hearing. Even though you may have a great number of documents, some or many of them may not be admissible into evidence under the Rules, or can be admitted only under specific circumstances set forth in the Rules. For example, documents usually need to be authenticated in certain ways. Documents and verbal testimony may often constitute hearsay that is inadmissible except under certain circumstances or for particular purposes. Finally, it is up to the judge to decide which witnesses are most credible. Depending on how you conduct yourself in court, the judge could find you less credible than your opponent, even though you know she is lying.

    I strongly recommend that you retain an attorney to assist you with the hearing, if you really want or need to win it.

    Good luck.

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  • Garage built too close to property line

    We've owned this house since 2002. The former owners built a garage on a cement foundation very close to the property line (just a few inches in) in the 90s, and this was not in the title. About 5 years ago, a new neighbor moved in complaining tha...

    John’s Answer

    Your neighbor has no legal remedy to force you to move your house, so long as it is not actually encroaching on his property. This isn't a situation in which you would need rights by adverse possession to keep your house where it is located, because you only need such rights to maintain structures on, or use of, land within the boundaries of another person.

    The real problem, as I see it, is that the house presumably violates the current minimum boundary line setbacks set forth in the Phoenix zoning ordinance. If the house was built before the City had established any minimum boundary setbacks (sometimes called "yard" requirements), then it would be grandfathered from complying with current standards. However, because the house was built as recently as the 1990's , it is highly improbable that the zoning ordinance did not already contain a minimum setback requirement.

    A zoning violation does not cease to be a violation simply because of the passage of time. Hence, the neighbor could in theory report you to the City and request it to take action to force you to move your house back until it complies with the setback. The City is not required to comply with the neighbor's request, however, and there are ways of potentially eliminating the zoning problem.

    Innocent mislocation of buildings on building lots is a fairly common occurrence. Most municipalities provide a mechanism, usually called a "variance," that can potentially legalize what would otherwise be a zoning violation. Thus, if you obtained a variance to reduce the boundary setback to the current distance between the house and the boundary, the location of the house would be legalized. Even if a variance is not available, it is not uncommon, where there has been an innocent error, for a municipality to issue a letter or agreement that in light of the long-standing nature of the violation and the fact that it was committed unintentionally, the municipality will take no enforcement action with respect to the violation. That type of document does not "legalize" the violation, but it would provide comfort to any potential buyer of the property that he or she is not purchasing a building that she or she might be required to move.

    I recommend that you contact a local zoning attorney to discuss your options. Although property owners sometimes succeed in obtaining the relief they need without consulting an attorney, zoning regulations are quite complex and it is often difficult for a layperson to know what is the right procedure to follow. An attorney can at least tell you what you need to do, and leave it to you to do the leg work.

    I hope this helps.

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  • Can my wife, from whom I'm separated keep our daughter away from me?

    Over and over again she will not tell me where my daughter is or she will just ignore . I'm tired of having to track down my daughter every time it's my time to see her. For 2 years after we separated my daughter lived with myself and my girlfrien...

    John’s Answer

    This is problem is all-too-common.

    I cannot tell from your question whether you have an existing court order establishing the rights of each ex-spouse to have a custody of, or visitation rights with, your daughter. If you do not have such an order, you need one immediately. It is difficult enough the enforce visitation rights with an uncooperative ex-spouse when you DO have a court order establishing a visitation schedule; without one, you are helpless. Not having a clear visitation order that clearly spells out each ex-spouse's rights and obligations with respect to a child is harmful to the parents, but may be even more harmful to the child, who has no way to resolve her conflicting loyalties to each of her parents. No one want to go to court unnecessarily. But in cases of conflicts over visitation, court intervention is the only way that those conflicts can be cured in a stable and enforceable manner.

    For example, if an existing court order allows you to maintain custody of your daughter while providing the mother only visitation rights, then you may do as you propose, so long as you ensure that the mother can actually enjoy the visitation rights she has been awarded. If there is no such order, or if there is an order that is contrary to your proposal, you cannot legally do as you propose. Always seek the court's permission to do anything that is inconsistent with a prior court order.

    I hope this helps.

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  • My 16 year old daughter doesn't want to adhere to court ordered visitation.

    My family and I are moving out of state (from Maine to Florida) My fiancee and I have 2 children together and I have a 16 (almost 17) year old from a previous relationship. My daughter and I recently attended a mediation granting her mom visitatio...

    John’s Answer

    This sounds like a very difficult situation for all concerned.

    A court cannot force you to transport your daughter to Maine if you are doing everything within your power to induce her to comply with the visitation order, but she physically refuses to cooperate. However, if, as you say, the visitation arrangement was reached recently through mediation, and the difficulties between your daughter and her mother preceded the mediated visitation order, a court is going to be puzzled why, so soon after the mediation, the visitation schedule has suddenly become unworkable. A judge reviewing the situation may be concerned whether you entered into the agreement in good faith. If the judge concludes that you did not, then he or she may be inclined to grant your ex-wife even greater rights to visitation, with strong penalties for any future refusals to obey the visitation order.

    Everybody makes mistakes, but we must take responsibility for them. If for some reason you did not make the mediator aware of the problems between your daughter and her mother and/or your daughter's concerns about employment, then the burden is on you either to negotiate a different visitation agreement with your ex-wife and have that new agreement incorporated into a revised visitation order; or, if you cannot reach an agreement with your ex-wife, to file a motion with the court to modify the visitation order.

    Presumably the mediator and/or the judge must have thought that the visitation arrangement to which you recently agreed was in your daughter's best interests. Children do not always
    agree with parents, mediators, or courts about what is in their best interests. However, children do not have the final say. Unless you can persuade the mediator and/or the court that the visitation arrangement is actually not in your daughter's best interests and must be changed, then you have an obligation to do everything within your power to compel your daughter to follow the plan.

    It is very important to encourage a child to have a continuing relationship with BOTH parents. I hope you will do your best to make that happen.

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  • Do I have to have a lawyer create the quit claim deed or can I create it since I have the legal description?

    My mother has a property with no liens. The deed lists her name from her 2nd marriage. She changed her name back to her maiden name when she was naturalized back in 1989. The naturalization papers do not document the name change. The Palm Beach Co...

    John’s Answer

    I will be interested to hear what my brethren from Florida have to say about your question. You sound like a very bright person. However, unless you are extremely experienced in drafting real estate documents, I strongly recommend that you hire an attorney to perform this work for you. The cost of such legal services would be relatively low, and when that cost is compared with the problems that could potentially result from an error in drafting the deed, the balance ways heavily in favor of hiring an attorney. Once a deed is drafted, signed, and recorded, it is very complicated to correct any errors that may have inadvertently slipped in, and it may be a long time before anyone notices that the mistakes were made. You really need to get it right, and completely right, the first time.

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