Allow me to take a stab at your original question – are there cases that address what is not “fair and equitable?”. You have not indicated the exact form of your road association only that an attorney has said you have “an official” association. However, you quoted from the Private Ways Act in your initial post so I will assume that you have a statutory association that must be governed in accordance with the statute.
Sometimes you have to bracket your research when you are looking to determine what something is or is not and try to get your head wrapped around concepts that may not be clear on the surface.
There is actually at least one case where the topic of fair and equitable is mentioned even though that was not the issue in the case and the comment was made in a footnote. In 2014 the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in Sunshine v Brett in a footnote opined that “Consideration of the type and frequency of use of the private road is entirely appropriate in determining a fair and equitable method of allocating the costs associated with maintaining the road.”
To settle the major issues of the case the Supreme Judicial Court looked to the statute for guidance. The court said “The first step in statutory interpretation requires an examination of the plain meaning of the statutory language in the context of the whole statutory scheme…… In construing the plain meaning of the language, we seek to give effect to the legislative intent and construe the language “to avoid absurd, illogical, or inconsistent results”…… Only if the statutory language is ambiguous⎯that is, reasonably susceptible to more than one interpretation - will we consider other indicia of legislative intent.” Let that thought sink in.
Let’s skip to another case – Tisdale v Rawson - 2003. The Supreme Judicial Court was reviewing on appeal a case where an association had switched the assessment method from per parcel to per residential unit on a parcel and also started charging seasonal residents for snow plowing. The association’s reasoning was clearly debated and settled at an annual meeting. One owner did not pay claiming that assessment method (not assessed based upon property value which might be construed to mean not fair and equitable) was an unconstitutional tax, among other things. The Supreme Judicial Court noted that the lower court (Augusta District Court) “found that the Association properly followed the Act’s procedures and it’s assessment method had a rational basis.” In ruling against the owner, it also explained why the assessment was not a tax but that is not important to the topic at hand.
What should we make of these two cases (other than I am an obvious insomniac)? Both cases involved relatively small amounts of money yet both went all the way to the state’s highest court. One case involved a challenge to the method used by the association assessment scheme – presumably the offending owner did not feel the assessment was fair and equitable. References to the method of assessment was made in both cases. As was clearly illustrated in Sunshine v Brett the court will first look to the statute to determine legislative intent and not offer its own interpretation unless the legislature’s intent is unclear. Obviously, the court does not feel that “fair and equitable” is ambiguous as used in the Private Ways Act as long as there is a rational basis for the method used.
Taken “in the context of the whole statutory scheme;” - i.e the statute allows owners to organize and establish rules under which it will operate (bylaws), requires identifying and notifying all owners, requires meetings at which expenses and assessments will be discussed and voted upon - the rule of the majority will determine what exactly is fair and equitable for the members of that association as long as the method is not absurd, illogical, or (has) inconsistent results. In other words, apply the plain language meaning of the wording to determine what is not fair and equitable – or what is.
All that does not solve your problem, but it does answer your question. To solve your problem, you will have to convince the majority your method is fairer and more equitable than what now exists which just very well may be absurd, illogical or inconsistent.