The family of a Berwick mother who was killed in a 2013 car crash by a teenage driver who crossed the center line has filed a wrongful death suit accusing the young driver of negligence.

The estate of Amy Harris, represented by Harris’ father and a family friend standing in for her minor children, who were also hurt in the crash, filed the lawsuit in York County Superior Court in Alfred on Thursday naming 17-year-old Cameron Clair of Biddeford and his parents as defendants.

Attorney Daniel Kagan of the law firm Berman and Simmons filed the lawsuit on behalf of Harris’s father, Mark Pendergast, and family friend Cindy Dumond, as a deadline approached under state law to file a wrongful death suit within two years following the death.

Clair was driving his parents’ 2009 Saturn Vue south, headed for school at Berwick Academy, when he crossed the center line and hit 34-year-old Harris’ station wagon on April 10 just before 8 a.m. The crash killed Harris, who taught at Hussey Elementary School, and injured her two children, Abigail and Lucas, who were 4 and 7, respectively, at the time of the crash.

Following an investigation, the Maine Attorney General’s Office determined that there was no evidence that Clair was texting or talking on a cell phone immediately before the crash. Clair hadn’t been drinking or on drugs, and the Attorney General’s Office declined to pursue criminal charges against him.

The Attorney General’s Office decided instead to charge Clair with a civil charge of motor vehicle violation resulting in death. Judge Daniel Driscoll imposed fines and fees totaling $1,639, of which $420 would be considered paid through 120 hours of community service. The judge also ordered last May 7 that Clair’s drivers license be suspended for two years.


The Attorney General’s Office decided whether to charge Clair, rather than the York County District Attorney’s Office, because Clair is a relative of District Attorney Kathryn Slattery.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday, Harris’ family brought 10 charges against Clair and his parents, Michael and Cornelia Clair, since their son was a minor at the time of the crash. The vehicle Cameron Clair was driving was owned and insured by his parents.

Six of the charges against the Clairs pertain to the wrongful death claim by Harris’ family, accusing them of negligence and liability. The four other charges pertain to the injuries to Abigail Harris, now 6, and Lucas Harris, now 9.

“Think of this as two separate lawsuits being brought at the same time,” Kagan said.

Kagan explained that under the state’s wrongful death laws, those claims would provide for continued care after Harris’ death for her husband, Douglas “Sam” Harris, and their children. Since Harris’ husband is a beneficiary of her estate, her father acted as the estate’s representative.

Kagan added that Dumond opted to act as the legal stand-in for the children, or “next friend” in legal language, to spare Douglas Harris an additional legal burden.

“Dad has enough on his plate, so you bring in an arm’s-length party who is interested in the children but is not directly affected by the outcome,” Kagan said. “If the children were not involved in the crash themselves, there would be no reason to have a ‘next friend’ for them. Because the children themselves were harmed, they need to be addressed separately from the wrongful death portion.”

An attorney for the Clair family, Martha Gaythwaite of the law firm Verrill Dana, did not return a phone message left with her office.

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