PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Peter DeTroy, a highly-regarded lawyer in Maine, has died.
He apparently died of a heart attack while riding his bicycle near his home in Portland on Saturday.
He was 68-years-old.
DeTroy worked on several high-profile cases.
He represented the former head of the Maine Turnpike Authority, Paul Violette, who had stolen money from the agency.
Last year, DeTroy won a defamation case that brought an award of more than $14 million in damages.
In a statement to the Portland Press Herald, the Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court Leigh Saufley said:
"Peter DeTroy was a wonderful leader and role model, the very best of what a good lawyer can be. His intellect, integrity, and personal ability to connect with everyone made him a role model for the whole profession. He leaves a position of respect and counsel at the top of Maine legal practice that will be difficult to replace."
Stephen Hessert, the managing partner at Norman Hanson DeTroy LLC, issued this statement sent to NEWS CENTER:
"I am Stephen Hessert, the managing partner at Norman Hanson DeTroy LLC. I can confirm that Peter passed away on Saturday, from an apparent cardiovascular event while bicycling. He was a great friend to me and to many others, and was a leader in the Bar of the State of Maine and in our firm. He will be missed by all whose lives he touched. Details regarding service arrangements are being developed. A brief synopsis of some of his accomplishments follows:
Peter DeTroy’s extraordinary career as a lawyer was marked with integrity, a true love of the law and of the legal profession, and the intellect of a skilled and experienced practitioner.
First and foremost, Peter was a great trial lawyer, accomplished in facets of practice both in and outside the courtroom. A true testament to his skills is the broad range and variety of cases he handled in both civil and criminal law. In each area, he excelled – he had the reputation of being one of the State’s leading criminal defense attorneys, one of the State’s leading plaintiff’s attorneys in civil actions, and a leading defense lawyer. Throughout his career, he handled cases of renown in just about every area of law – truly any significant legal matter that found its way to the courtroom. An active member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Peter’s reputation extended beyond Maine as a masterful advocate. In all cases, clients connected with Peter’s caring intellect, his unfailing ability to counsel the client as well as advocate for the client’s best interests. Peter intuited how every case fit into the larger life lived by each person he represented. He took the long view, saw “the big picture,” and had the knack of managing client cases in ways that seemed always to lead to the best results.
Peter cared deeply about the legal profession, and the pivotal role that lawyers play in protecting all principles of justice in society. He cared about lawyers not just as officers of the court and advocates, but as people, with human emotions, concerns, worries, with powers to bring about great change in moments of excellence, and also to make mistakes. His humor and sense of humanity was instilled in his professional work. This perspective led Peter to become one of the most sought after “lawyers’ lawyer” in Maine, defending lawyers in court and in bar grievances, and in helping to shape the modern rules of professional ethics governing attorneys. He was a leading participant in the Bar’s “Silent Partners” program and other Maine lawyers assistance organizations. He was an adviser to lawyers, both in how best to practice law with humility and empathy, and in reminding us that a lawyer’s service to others leads to a richness in life.
Peter was also a teacher and a mentor. His did not hoard his skill in lawyering, or his skill in counseling others. Near the end of his career, he volunteered as a practitioner-coach to the Harvard Law School trial practice course. He was an active member of Gignoux Inns of Court, and served on a number of committees devoted to ensuring that the practice of law was inclusive, without discrimination, and without unnecessary barriers to young lawyers eager to learn. He was always present with young lawyers, teaching them, exploring the law and legal issues with them, helping them hone their own skills.
Peter was a peacemaker. His experience and reputation naturally led to his being one of the most sought after Mediators and arbitrators in the State. He was creative in solving disputes, respectful of differences and resourceful in seeking solutions. As with his own cases, he sensed how a legal dispute or problem fit within a whole life of the participant – the events that brought people to court, those that brought people to mediation, and he came to understand everyone’s outlook on life beyond the mediation. He was a great mediator because he cared about the whole life of each participant – both the parties and their lawyers.
His life was full of connections with people – not just to their cases, but to them each on a personal level, as a friend, a protector of interests, an adviser. He was a problem-solver, a counselor, a zealous protector and defender of rights. He was a lawyer who harmonized empathy, passion, trust, integrity, and thoughtfulness in every case he handled, every life he touched. He epitomized, for us, what it means to be a great lawyer, and his was a career of unparalleled excellence."
Funeral services have not yet been announced.