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Supreme Court

Civil Case Summaries 2012

 


 

  

2012-257  Joseph Laplante v. Rhode Island Hospital                      (show cause)

 

The plaintiff appeals from a Superior Court judgment in favor of defendants.  The plaintiff contends that expert testimony was not necessary to prove negligence in this case and that res ipsa loquitur should be applied here.   

 

2012-322  Narragansett Indian Tribe v. State                                  (full briefing)

 

The plaintiff, Narragansett Indian Tribe, appeals from a partial final judgment entered in favor of defendants state of Rhode Island, UTGR, Inc. (Twin River), and Newport Grand, LLC pursuant to Rule 54(b).  In count 1 of the tribe’s amended complaint the tribe sought a declaration that legislation passed by the General Assembly authorizing casino table games at gambling facilities operated by defendants Twin River and Newport Grand was facially unconstitutional.  The Superior Court decided that the legislation was facially constitutional and granted summary judgment on count 1 in favor of the defendants.  The tribe contends that the 2011 casino act codified in Rhode Island General Laws § 42-61.2-2.1 (2013) is unconstitutionally vague.  The tribe asserts that the 2011 casino act’s provisions do not sufficiently indicate that the Twin River casino will be state operated as required under the Rhode Island constitution.  The tribe also argues that the 2011 casino act violates the non-delegation doctrine.  The tribe contends that the state impermissibly cedes operational control of the Twin River casino to a private entity. 


2012-362  Scott Pierce v. Providence Retirement Board         (show cause)

 

The petitioner seeks review of a decision of the Providence Retirement Board, denying his request for attorney’s fees  pursuant to the equal access to justice act (Rhode Island General Laws § 42-92-1 et seq. (2006)).  Petitioner contends that he was entitled to an award of attorney’s fees from the board because he ultimately was the prevailing party in his action for an accidental-disability pension and the board’s denial of his accidental-disability pension was not substantially justified.  He contends that the board’s reasons for denying his accidental-disability pension were not clearly reasonable and therefore he must be reimbursed for his attorney’s fees. 

 


2012-337  Bernard McCrink v. City of Providence                           (full briefing)


This case is before the Court on a writ of certiorari in the context of the termination proceeding of a teacher.  Before the Court is a single question of first impression:  Does Rhode Island General Laws § 16-13-3, a provision of the Teachers’ Tenure Act, which requires that “whenever a tenured teacher in continuous service is to be dismissed, the notice of the dismissal shall be given to the teacher, in writing, on or before March 1st of the school year immediately preceding the school year in which the dismissal is to become effective,” apply to a teacher who is under threat of termination for “good and just cause” based on misconduct, and is not being laid off for budgetary or other administrative reasons?

 

2012-130    Stephen Murphy v. John Tallarico                               (show cause) 

 

The defendants appeal from an order granting the plaintiffs’ motion to foreclose on a mortgage on the defendants’ property.  The defendants contend that the plaintiffs are not entitled to foreclose on the mortgage because the mortgage is defective.  They assert that the mortgage does not have a provision granting the plaintiffs the statutory power of sale.  The defendants also contend that the plaintiffs were required to reform the mortgage prior to foreclosure due to a mutual mistake between the parties.  The defendants further argue that they have been thwarted in their attempts to redeem the property.  They additionally argue that their property is protected from foreclosure by the homestead exemption.    

 

2012-343 Antonio Rosano v. MERS                                       (show cause)

 

The plaintiff appeals from the entry of final judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint against several defendants. The hearing judge granted the motion to dismiss filed by MERS under Rules 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(7) of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure. The plaintiff contends, inter alia, that he has standing to pursue the instant appeal and contends that his complaint sufficiently set forth facts asserting that the mortgage assignments in this case were void and the foreclosure was invalid.

 


 

 

2012-283  Deborah Thornley v. CCRI                                     (full briefing)

 

Plaintiff appeals from a judgment entered in favor of the defendants, the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), Anita Creamer, an instructor at CCRI, Doris Fournier, chairperson of the CCRI Nursing Program, and the Board of Governors for Higher Education (board), in this disability discrimination case.  Plaintiff argues that the trial justice erred:  (1) in admitting the 2008 medical report of a certain doctor into evidence; (2) in excusing a juror mid-trial over plaintiff’s objection; (3) in granting defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law and in denying the plaintiff’s motion for new trial; and (4) in informing the jury that she had partially granted defendants’ Rule 50 motion.

 

2012-272  FIA Card Services v. James Pichette                     (full briefing)

 

Attorney Charles M. Vacca appeals from an order relating to his work on behalf of defendant James Pichette in defense of a collection action by plaintiff.  The court found that Mr. Vacca’s failure to sign the pleadings prepared for Mr. Pichette “constitutes a sanctionable violation of Rule 11.”  Mr. Vacca was ordered to cease and desist “the anonymous preparation of pleadings for self[-]represented litigants,” and notify the court of every pending file in Superior Court in which Mr. Vacca has prepared such pleadings.  The court also referred the matter to the office of disciplinary counsel to review Mr. Vacca’s conduct, and to the attorney general’s office to determine whether the companies and out-of-state attorneys that Mr. Vacca is associated with are illegally practicing law in Rhode Island.

 

2012-309  Wayne DeMarco, et al. v. Travelers Ins. Co., et al.   (full briefing)

 

The defendant insurance company appeals from a Superior Court order granting plaintiffs’ motion for the calculation of interest. On appeal, the defendant argues that plaintiffs’ claims against the insurer became moot upon the entry of an earlier order which recognized that judgment had entered in favor of the plaintiffs and was satisfied in full, and that because the claim was moot, the Superior Court was divested of subject matter jurisdiction. The plaintiffs respond that the earlier order was entered so one defendant could avoid bankruptcy and to permit the plaintiffs to pursue their claims against the insurer.

 

 

2012-157  Theodore Fabrizio v. City of Providence               (full briefing)

 

Petitioners seek review on certiorari of a Superior Court order denying their motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity.  These petitioners, a former mayor and a former fire chief for the city of Providence, respectively, were sued in both their individual and official capacities by two Providence firefighters who were aggrieved when they were ordered to participate in the city’s 2001 gay pride parade as part of their work duties.  Petitioners claim that the Superior Court erred in refusing to apply the doctrine of qualified immunity to the firefighters’ claims that these petitioners violated their state constitutional rights to freedom of speech, association, and religion. 

 

2012-328  Lawrence Labonte v. N.E. Development RI         (full briefing)

 

Before the Court in this receivership action is an appeal from a Superior Court order denying a lienholder’s motion to approve a secured claim.  The court’s order voids a loan agreement, promissory note and mortgage for $325,000 based upon a finding that the loan is usurious under Rhode Island General Laws § 6-26-2(a).  This appeal raises the issue of what constitutes “interest” in a promissory note for purposes of the usury laws of this state, as well as an issue regarding the enforcement of a savings clause in a usurious promissory note.

 

2012-315 Kimberly S. Phelps v. Gregory Hebert                  (show cause) 

 

The plaintiffs appeal from an order granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants Leo R. Pelletier and Susan Pelletier.  The plaintiffs argue that the hearing judge erred in deciding that the Pelletiers did not owe a duty of care to plaintiff Kimberly Phelps when she was killed while riding as a passenger on an all-terrain vehicle that had been driven by a person who attended a party at the Pelletiers’ residence the night of the accident.


2012-323 Narragansett Indian Tribe v. State                        (show cause)
           
The state cross-appeals from the trial judge’s ruling that the plaintiff had standing in this declaratory judgment action involving gambling legislation.  The state contends that the plaintiff could not demonstrate injury in fact.  The state also contends that the trial judge erred in applying the public interest exception for standing in this case.     
 

2012-330 City of Pawtucket v. Nichalas LaPrade               (full briefing) 

 

The petitioner filed a petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of a Superior Court judgment ruling that a Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR) hearing committee did not abuse its discretion in denying the petitioner’s request for a continuance and in refusing to take judicial notice of respondent’s District Court conviction.  The petitioner contends that the LEOBOR hearing committee abused its discretion in not continuing the hearing by one day.  The petitioner asserts that the committee’s refusal to continue the case resulted in the petitioner being unable to prove its disciplinary action against the respondent.  The petitioner further argues that the hearing committee abused its discretion in not taking judicial notice of the respondent’s conviction. 


2012-157  Theodore Fabrizio v. City of Providence             (full briefing)

 

Petitioners seek review on certiorari of a Superior Court order denying their motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity.  These petitioners, a former mayor and a former fire chief for the city of Providence, respectively, were sued in both their individual and official capacities by two Providence firefighters who were aggrieved when they were ordered to participate in the city’s 2001 gay pride parade as part of their work duties.  Petitioners claim that the Superior Court erred in refusing to apply the doctrine of qualified immunity to the firefighters’ claims that these petitioners violated their state constitutional rights to freedom of speech, association, and religion. 


2012-328  Lawrence Labonte v. N.E. Development RI       (full briefing)

 

Before the Court in this receivership action is an appeal from a Superior Court order denying a lienholder’s motion to approve a secured claim.  The court’s order voids a loan agreement, promissory note and mortgage for $325,000 based upon a finding that the loan is usurious under Rhode Island General Laws § 6-26-2(a).  This appeal raises the issue of what constitutes “interest” in a promissory note for purposes of the usury laws of this state, as well as an issue regarding the enforcement of a savings clause in a usurious promissory note.

 


 

2012-213  Steve Burton v. State                                              (show cause)
2012-268

 

Plaintiff appeals from judgment for defendant after non-jury trial in case involving injuries when 17-year-old plaintiff trespassed in a building on state property.  Plaintiff asserts that trial justice erred in rejecting application of the attractive nuisance doctrine and in failing to assign fault to the state for plaintiff’s injuries.  In a separate appeal, the state asserts that the trial justice erred in denying its Rule 52(c) motion for judgment as a matter of law, alleging that the state owed no duty to plaintiff, a trespasser, and that plaintiff did not prove that the building was an attractive nuisance.


2012-255  Jeanne Johnson v. QBAR Associates                   (show cause)

 

Plaintiff appeals from an entry of summary judgment in favor of defendant in this action seeking to vacate a decree that foreclosed her right of redemption. 


2012-208  Jean Ho Rath v. Rhode Island Hospital                  (show cause)
2012-211
2012-212
2012-214

 

Before the Court are four appeals from entries of final judgment in favor of certain defendants in this medical malpractice case, following the grant of motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure.  At issue in all four appeals is the application of Rhode Island General Laws § 9-1-14.1(1), which tolls the three-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims when the injured party is a minor.  The Superior Court interpreted this section to mandate the dismissal of the parents’ claims against these defendants on behalf of the minor child because the claims were filed more than three years after the date of the occurrence, but prior to the child reaching the age of majority.  The judgments on behalf of those defendants were entered without prejudice to the child filing suit on her own behalf when she reaches the age of majority.  In addition, the court dismissed the parents’ derivative loss of consortium claims with prejudice, on statute of limitations grounds.   


2012-87  Jennifer O’Connor v. Newport Hospital                       (show cause)

 

Plaintiff appeals from a civil judgment for defendants following a 16-day jury trial where she alleged that she was negligently treated in the emergency room and released hours before she suffered a stroke.  Plaintiff’s appeal centers on the admission of three pieces of evidence entered at trial and the phrasing of the jury verdict form incorporated the defense’s criticism of plaintiff’s expert witness.  Plaintiff asks this Court to vacate the judgment for defendants and remand the case for a new trial. 


2012-59  Donna Rose v. James Cariello                                   (show cause)

 

Plaintiff filed suit to recover for personal injuries sustained in a rear-end motor vehicle collision.  A jury returned a verdict of $193,584 in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants and found that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent.  Following that verdict, the trial justice granted the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial unless the defendants accepted an additur in the amount of $428,416, for a total plaintiff’s award of $622,000.  Defendant appeals from the trial justice’s order conditionally granting the new trial, arguing that the trial justice failed to: (1) address inconsistencies and contradictions in plaintiff’s testimony; (2) conduct an independent and objective review of the evidence; and (3) explain why the jury’s award “shocked the conscience” of the court. 


2012-77  Simcha Berman v. City of Newport                          (full briefing)
2012-116

 

These consolidated appeals arise from the plaintiffs’ negligence action in regards to Simcha Berman’s fall from a grassy path off the paved Cliff Walk in Newport which left him a quadriplegic.  Sarah Berman seeks damages for loss of consortium during the time she was married to Simcha.  The lack of a fence in the area where Simcha fell was a key issue at trial.  In No. 11-266-A., plaintiffs appeal from a judgment entered in favor of defendant state of Rhode Island.  The plaintiffs assert that the Superior Court committed error in refusing to change the venue of the trial and in permitting the jury to view the scene of Simcha’s fall from Cliff Walk.  They also contend the trial judge erred in refusing to admit into the evidence a 1987 letter from the president of Salve Regina University on safety issues concerning Cliff Walk.  The plaintiffs further contend that the trial judge erred in denying their motion for judgment as a matter of law and motion for a new trial.  In No. 12-77-A, the state cross-appeals from the denial of its motion for judgment as a matter of law.  The state argues that it did not owe a duty of care towards Simcha and that plaintiffs failed to present expert testimony on the need for a fence in the area where Simcha fell. The state also argues it is immunized by the public duty doctrine and the recreational use statute.  In No. 12-116-A, plaintiffs also appeal from the denial of their motion to vacate the judgment. They contend that the trial judge erred in determining that the installation of warning signs by the city after judgment was entered in this case was not material and would not have changed the verdict.  They also contend that the trial judge erred in finding that the state did not commit a fraud in representing that it did not have the authority to implement safety measures.


2012-314  Providence Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Kevin Neary, et al.             (show cause)

 

Two defendants appeal from a Superior Court grant of summary judgment declaring that the plaintiff insurance company was under no duty to defend or indemnify its insureds for claims arising out of the death of the defendants’ child, who was being cared for by the insureds in the insureds’ home.  The defendants question whether the circumstances of this case fall within the exclusionary language of the policy.

 

2012-67  Michael Woodruff v. Stuart Gitlow, MD                                  (full briefing)

 

The defendant seeks review of a Superior Court order denying his motion for summary judgment.  The defendant contends that he owed the plaintiff no duty of care in carrying out an independent medical examination, that there were no issues of material fact preventing summary judgment, and that Rhode Island’s anti-SLAPP statute applies in this case.   


2011-341    Jody King v. Huntress, Inc.    (full briefing)
2012-202
2012-203    

 

The defendant appeals from the denial of its motion for a new trial and from the final judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff in this maritime action involving claims for maintenance and cure, negligence under the federal Jones Act, and breach of warranty for seaworthiness. The defendant claims that the trial justice erred in granting the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial and in denying the defendant’s motion for a new trial.  The defendant also contends that the trial justice erred in applying prejudgment interest in this case.  The plaintiff cross-appeals from the trial justice’s decision to admit certain evidence and from the judge’s failure to issue a jury instruction on the apportionment of damages. 


2012-282  Walter Mruk, Jr. v. Mortgage Electronic Registr. Sys., Inc.   (show cause)

 

The plaintiff appeals from the entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants.  The plaintiff argues that issues of material fact exist in this case, that the assignment of the mortgage was not valid, and that the foreclosure sale was not properly noticed and conducted.   


 

2012-61 Dennis D. Bossian v. Paul A. Anderson                                 (show cause) 

 

The plaintiff appeals from the granting of the granting of the defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law and denial of the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial.  On appeal, plaintiff asserts that the trial justice erred:  (1) in finding that damages for loss of reputation were not awardable in the instant case; (2) in finding that the term “smoking gun” was not slanderous per se; and (3) in not submitting plaintiff’s breach of fiduciary duty claim to the jury.  


2012-185 Christopher Payette v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys.       (show cause) 

 

The plaintiffs appeal from the entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants in this mortgage foreclosure case.  The plaintiffs contend that the trial judge erred in converting the defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings into a motion for summary judgment.  The plaintiffs also argue that Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) did not have the authority to assign the mortgage in this case.  They assert that the signatures on the assignment were forged.  The plaintiffs further contend that it was improper for the mortgage and the promissory note for the loan to be held by separate entities.  The plaintiffs additionally contend that the trial judge made impermissible findings of fact.
     

 

2012-229 Option One Loan Mortg. Corp. v. Aurora Loan Services      (show cause) 

 

The defendant appeals from the entry of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff.  The plaintiff filed this declaratory judgment action asking for a declaration that its mortgage on the property in question had priority over the defendant’s mortgage.  The defendant contends that the trial judge erred in deciding that the plaintiff’s mortgage deed put the defendant on notice that the plaintiff’s mortgage applied to both a vacant lot and a lot with a house on it, even though the metes and bounds description only referred to the vacant lot. 


2012-250 Eric Noury v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co.                   (show cause)
           
The plaintiff appeals from the entry of partial final judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b) in favor of the defendants.  This is a mortgage foreclosure case involving Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS).  The plaintiff contends that the trial judge did not employ the correct review standard in considering the defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings.  The plaintiff also contends that the defendants did not comply with the notice provisions contained in paragraph 22 of the mortgage.  He further asserts that the assignments of the promissory note and mortgage were invalid.  The plaintiff additionally contends that it was improper for the mortgage and the promissory note to be held by separate entities.      
 

2012-269 Kenneth N. Ingram v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys.           (show cause) 

 

The plaintiffs appeal from the entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants in this mortgage foreclosure case.  The plaintiffs contend that the trial judge erred in converting the defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings into a motion for summary judgment.  The plaintiffs also argue that the mortgage assignments in this case were invalid.  The plaintiffs further contend that it was improper for the mortgage and the promissory note for the loan to be held by separate entities.  The plaintiffs additionally assert that the mortgage foreclosure was not properly noticed and invalidly conducted.  They argue that questions of material fact precluded the entry of summary judgment. 


2012-273 Joanne Miller v. Henry Saunders                                          (show cause)

 

The plaintiff appeals from a grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants Henry Saunders and Kristin Saunders.  The plaintiff is the former wife of decedent Dean Miller.  The plaintiff asserts that Dean Miller had no authority under the property settlement agreement he entered into with her to create a custodial trust over insurance benefits for their children.  Dean Miller appointed his sister, Kristin Saunders, as the trustee over the custodial trust.  The plaintiff also contends that Dean Miller did not meet the statutory requirements for creating a custodial trust when he failed to cite to the Rhode Island Uniform Custodial Trust Act.  


2012-298 William Chhun v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys.                  (show cause)

 

The plaintiffs appeal from the entry of partial final judgment in favor of the defendants pursuant to Rule 54(b) in this mortgage foreclosure case.  The plaintiffs contend that the trial judge employed the wrong standard of review in considering the defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).  The plaintiffs also assert that the mortgage was invalidly assigned.  They further contend that the notice of the foreclosure sale was not properly provided and the foreclosure sale was void.  The plaintiffs additionally argue that it was improper for the mortgage and the promissory note to be held by separate entities. 

 

 

2012-02  Eloisa Gomes v. Mario Rosario                                              (full briefing)

 

The defendant appeals from a Superior Court order granting the motion for a new trial of the plaintiff in this personal injury case stemming from an automobile accident. 


2012-141  Langdon Wilby v. Paul Savoie                                               (full briefing)

 

The defendant appeals from a Superior Court judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on all counts of the defendant’s counterclaim that alleged breach of fiduciary duty and fraud related to the parties’ investment in a horse racing facility in Vermont. 


2012-147 Providence School Board v. Providence Teachers Union    (show cause)

 

The defendant union appeals from an order granting the school board’s motion to vacate an arbitration award.  The arbitrator ruled that the union had standing to pursue a grievance concerning the calculation of the health insurance group premium rate for retirees in light of an earlier arbitration award.  The Superior Court overturned the arbitration award in ruling that the union did not have standing to represent retirees and that the issue of calculation of the group premium rate for retirees was not arbitrable because the CBA was silent on this issue.  The union contends it had standing because its active employees will be affected by board’s violation of the CBA, and the arbitrator correctly looked at past practice in resolving ambiguity in the CBA on the issue of calculating the group premium rate.      


2012-163  Rachel Rafaelian v. Perfecto Iron Works, Inc.                        (show cause)

 

The petitioner appeals from an order of the Superior Court granting the respondent’s motion to vacate default judgment and final decree entered in this case involving a petition to foreclose a tax lien.  Petitioner claims the trial justice ignored the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure and Rhode Island General Laws § 44-9-24.  Respondent argues the trial justice did not err in vacating the decree that was erroneously entered and is therefore void based on the fact that respondent timely answered the petition.       


2012-169 James Brown v. Elmer Stanley                                                (full briefing)

 

Plaintiff BlueLinx Corporation appeals from judgment as a matter of law granted in favor of the defendants.  The plaintiffs sought contribution in this case from the defendants for damages the plaintiffs paid to Mary Cummings for her personal injuries when a truck owned by BlueLinx hit her.  The plaintiffs allege that the defendants were negligent in supervising a charity walk.  BlueLinx contends that the defendants assumed a duty during the charity walk by directing traffic as the walkers crossed a public street.  BlueLinx argues that the defendants’ duty was not extinguished when Cummings refused Elmer Stanley’s offer of help in crossing the street.  

 

2012-207   Commerce Park Assoc. I v. Monique Houle                          (full briefing)
2012-210  

 

These consolidated cross-appeals involve sewer assessments and sewer use fees imposed upon plaintiffs by the town of Coventry.  Plaintiffs appeal from a Superior Court order dismissing their complaint for failure to exhaust their administrative remedies, and the town appeals from the denial of its request for an award of sanctions against plaintiffs. 


2012-171  Michaela Symonds v. City of Pawtucket                                  (show cause)


Plaintiff appeals from an order of the Superior Court granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment.  Plaintiff brought suit against the city to recover damages for injuries suffered when she received a splinter while playing on a wooden playground apparatus at a park in the city.  Plaintiff contends that the city is precluded from protection under the so-called recreational use statute, Rhode Island General Laws § 32-6-1, et seq., based upon the city’s alleged willful conduct in allowing the apparatus to deteriorate and present an attractive nuisance. 


2012-151  Inland American v. Cinema World                                              (show cause)


Plaintiff-landlord appeals from summary judgment entered in this civil action involving the calculation of real estate taxes due from defendant-tenant under the terms of a 20-year commercial lease.  Plaintiff contends that the Superior Court erred in adopting a formula for calculating taxes that is not supported by the lease and in declining to award plaintiff interest, late charges and expenses as provided for in the lease. 


2012-54  The Wampanoag Group v. James Iacoi                                         (show cause)


The Court granted defendants’ petition for the issuance of a writ of certiorari seeking review of a Superior Court order denying their motion for leave to file a third-party complaint.  Defendants claim that the hearing justice erred in denying the motion based upon a finding that the proposed third-party complaint failed to allege a duty owed by the proposed third-party defendants (realtors) to defendants (attorneys). 

 

2012-209  Robert Michaud v. State                                                                (show cause)


Plaintiff appeals pro se from an order of the Superior Court dismissing his complaint against the Department of Labor and Training for want of subject matter jurisdiction.  Plaintiff asks this Court to assist in his pursuit of unemployment benefits. 

 

 

2012-163  Rachel Rafaelian v. Perfecto Iron Works, Inc.                                (show cause)

 

The petitioner appeals from an order of the Superior Court granting the respondent’s motion to vacate default judgment and final decree entered in this case involving a petition to foreclose a tax lien.  Petitioner claims the trial justice ignored the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure and Rhode Island General Laws § 44-9-24.  Respondent argues the trial justice did not err in vacating the decree that was erroneously entered and is therefore void based on the fact that respondent timely answered the petition.       


2012-02  Gomes v. Rosario                                                                               (full Briefing)

 

The defendant appeals from a Superior Court order granting the motion for a new trial of the plaintiff in this personal injury case stemming from an automobile accident. 


2012-141  Langdon Wilby v. Paul Savoie                                                           (full briefing)

 

The defendant appeals from a Superior Court judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on all counts of the defendant’s counterclaim that alleged breach of fiduciary duty and fraud related to the parties’ investment in a horse racing facility in Vermont. 

 

2012-147 Providence School Board v. Providence Teachers Union                 (show cause)

The defendant union appeals from an order granting the school board’s motion to vacate an arbitration award.  The arbitrator ruled that the union had standing to pursue a grievance concerning the calculation of the health insurance group premium rate for retirees in light of an earlier arbitration award.  The Superior Court overturned the arbitration award in ruling that the union did not have standing to represent retirees and that the issue of calculation of the group premium rate for retirees was not arbitrable because the CBA was silent on this issue.  The union contends it had standing because its active employees will be affected by board’s violation of the CBA, and the arbitrator correctly looked at past practice in resolving ambiguity in the CBA on the issue of calculating the group premium rate.      

 

 

2012-10  Loriann Bose v. Mark Scott, M.D                                                (full briefing)

Plaintiff appeals from a Superior Court grant of partial summary judgment in favor of defendants on a loss of consortium claim brought on behalf of her grandson in this medical malpractice case.  The plaintiff contends that she may pursue a loss of consortium claim on behalf of her grandson pursuant to the doctrine of equitable adoption. 



2012-50  Cathy Fedora v. Bruce Werber, D.P.M.                                   (show cause)

The plaintiff appeals from an order imposing sanctions upon her legal counsel for its violation of Rule 1.10(c)(2) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  The plaintiff’s legal counsel hired a paralegal that was formerly employed by legal counsel for one of the defendants.  The hearing judge ruled that the plaintiff’s legal counsel violated Rule 1.10(c)(2) when it failed to promptly notify defendant about procedures in place to screen the paralegal from any involvement in defendant’s case and other cases the paralegal worked on when she was employed with defendant’s law firm.  The plaintiff’s legal counsel contends that its response in regards to screening procedures for the paralegal was not untimely.  It also contends that sanctions were not warranted because it did not engage in outrageous conduct or act in bad faith.



2012-23  Barbara C. Cayer v. Cox R.I. Telecom, LLC                             (full briefing)
2012-24.

These cases are before the Court on appeal by the plaintiff from the denial of her motion to amend the complaint to add M & M Communications Inc. (M & M) as a defendant, and from the grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant Cox Rhode Island Telecom, LLC (Cox Communications or Cox).  On appeal, plaintiff argues that: (1) the hearing justice who denied her motion to amend erred because her motion included a direct claim against M & M that arose out of the conduct, transactions and/or currencies set forth and “attempted to be set forth” in the original pleading; and (2) the hearing justice who granted summary judgment in favor of Cox erred in overlooking testimony and documents submitted by plaintiff showing that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to who was the employer of the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident set forth in the complaint.


 

2012-86  Karen Lombardi v. City of Providence                                       (show cause)

The state of Rhode Island appeals from summary judgment entered in the Superior Court in favor of its co-defendant, the city of Providence.  The plaintiff filed suit against these defendants alleging that their negligent maintenance and repair of a sidewalk located in Providence caused her to trip and fall.  The state argues on appeal that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to where responsibility for maintenance of the sidewalk lies, and therefore the trial justice erred in granting the city’s motion for summary judgment.  The state also claims that Rhode Island General Laws § 45-15-11 does not provide immunity to the city in the case of negligent repairs made to sidewalks.     

 

2012-80-A.  American States Insurance v. Joanne Laflam                                     (full briefing)

 

Question of insurance law certified to this Court by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.  The question concerns a limitation period in the uninsured motorist provision of an insurance policy

  
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