Lawsuits over potential sale of Veazie home, recordings settled

Posted March 27, 2012, at 1:50 p.m.
Last modified March 27, 2012, at 3:01 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Dueling lawsuits filed in state and federal court that pitted a well-known local real estate against a Veazie couple for whom she marketed a house and their lawyer has been settled, but the details will not be made public.

Last July, Mark and Brenda Michaud sued Tricia Quirk and Dawson Inc., in Penobscot County Superior Court, alleging that Quirk told a couple ready to sign a sales agreement that she could build them a house for the $325,000 they had offered for the Michauds’ home.

Quirk on Dec. 1 sued the couple, their Bangor attorney, A.J. Greif, and his firm, Gilbert and Greif, in federal court, alleging the Michauds illegally recorded Quirk’s conversation with the potential buyers.

A confidentiality agreement prevented attorneys on both sides from commenting on the terms of the settlement. Greif and John Lucy, who represented Quirk and Dawson, declined to comment.

The clerk’s office in U.S. District Court in Bangor was notified of the settlement Thursday, according to the docket for the case available through the federal court system’s Electronic Case Filing system. The clerk’s office at the Penobscot Judicial Center received the same notification on the same day, a clerk there said Tuesday.

The lawsuit filed in state court alleged that Quirk breached her duty to represent the Michauds in the sale of their home. It also alleged that Quirk violated the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The Michauds’ home had been on the market with an asking price of $349,000 for more than a year when in November 2009 a couple visited the Veazie house with Quirk in preparation for making a final offer of $325,000, according to the complaint.

The Michauds sought a minimum of $150,000 in damages from Quirk, the difference between the $175,000 they originally paid for the home and the $325,000 they would have received from the couple.

Lucy, on Quirk’s behalf, sued the Michauds, Greif and his firm in federal court, alleging the Michauds “secretly and unlawfully intercepted numerous private oral communications of Quirk and others through the use of a hidden electronic recording device.”

Lucy alleged that by recording people in their home without their permission, the Michauds violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. The law, also referred to as the wiretap act, protects wire, oral and electronic communications while they are being made, are in transit, and when they are stored on computers, according to the U.S. Department of Justice website. A section of the law “prohibits the intentional, actual or attempted interception, use, disclosure, or ‘procure[ment] [of] any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any wire, oral or electronic communication,’” the website states.

Greif said in December that the recording was made with a “nanny cam,” a hidden camera system marketed to parents who want to keep an eye on their children and their caregivers while the parents are at work or away from home for other reasons.

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