2013-128 Gregory Coogan v. Cheryl Nelson (show cause)
The plaintiff appeals from the grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff asserts that there are genuine questions of material fact that preclude summary judgment in this dog bite case. The plaintiff contends that there are questions of fact as to whether the dog was within the enclosure when it bit the plaintiff and whether the dog showed dangerous propensities on a prior occasion.
2013-191 Berkshire Wilton Partners v. Bilray Demolition Co. (show cause)
The defendant appeals from a judgment vacating in part an arbitration award entered in its favor. The defendant argues that the hearing judge erred because the arbitrator’s decision was correct and none of the grounds for vacating an arbitration award applied in this case.
2013-197 Timothy R.E. Keeney v. John H. Tillinghast (show cause)
Plaintiff Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) appeals from an order in which the Superior Court adopted the special master’s report and ordered that the report’s findings be implemented. This case concerns a DEM enforcement action in which a special master was appointed to resolve issues in dispute between the parties. DEM contends that the Superior Court erred in shifting the burden of proof for the defendants’ application to alter freshwater wetlands. DEM argues that the Superior Court erred in interpreting Rule 53(e)(2) and in deferring to the special master’s interpretation of a Superior Court order.
2013-280 Kathleen Carlson v. Town of South Kingstown (show cause)
The plaintiff appeals from the entry of summary judgment in favor of defendant town of South Kingstown (town). The issues in this case involve the recreational use statute. The plaintiff fell after stepping in a hole near a town baseball field. The plaintiff argues that the recreational use statute immunity does not apply to the town because the town willfully failed to warn about the holes present near the batting cages for the little league baseball field in question. The plaintiff also asserts that the statutory immunity does not apply because she indirectly paid for her son’s use of the field through property taxes paid to the town and the little league baseball fee she paid for her son. She further contends that the town owed her a special duty to protect her from injury as a spectator at the field.
2013-142 State of Rhode Island Department of Corrections v. (full briefing)
Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers
The defendant appeals from a Superior Court judgment granting the plaintiff’s motion to vacate an arbitration award. This case raises several issues, including questions related to the interpretation of §42-56-10(24) of the Rhode Island General Laws.
2013-212 Emond Plumbing and Heating v. BankNewport (full briefing)
The plaintiffs appeal from a Superior Court judgment in favor of the defendant in this unjust enrichment action. The plaintiffs claimed that they were owed money for labor and materials on a construction project, which was financed by the defendant.
2013-344 Ferris Avenue Realty v. Huhtamaki (full briefing)
The defendant appeals from a civil judgment on a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff in this breach of contract action regarding an indemnity agreement. The defendant refused to indemnify plaintiff for clean-up costs associated with hazardous material found on property the defendant sold to plaintiff.
2003-592 DERCO LLC v. Marvin Perry (full briefing)
There are three petitions for writ of certiorari before this Court, two of which were previously consolidated, challenging two final decrees of the Appellate Division of the Workers’ Compensation Court. The petitioners are Derco, LLC, Michael Derderian and Jeffrey Derderian. At the center of these petitions is an administrative penalty of $1,066,000 and referral to the attorney general for potential criminal prosecution for failing to maintain workers’ compensation insurance under Rhode Island General Laws § 28-36-15 (2000).
2013-44 Town of North Kingstown v. North Kingstown Firefighters (full briefing)
This case stems from a labor dispute between the Town of North Kingstown and the North Kingstown Firefighters, Local 1651, International Association of Firefighters, AFL-CIO, and involves three consolidated appeals. The appeals pertain to proceedings occurring subsequent to the town’s filing of a complaint requesting declaratory relief and a petition to stay interest arbitration.
2013-273 John Wells v. Suzanne Smith (show cause)
This case is before the Court on appeal by the plaintiff from the grant of motions for summary judgment in favor of several defendants. On appeal, plaintiff asserts that the trial justice erred in finding that neither defendant owed plaintiff a legal duty of care and thus erred in entering summary judgment in favor of defendants on all counts of the complaint. Plaintiff further argues that there existed genuine issues of material fact as to whether Suzanne Smith was Michael Ead’s employer, whether she negligently hired him, and whether plaintiff assumed the risk of injury when he engaged in the demolition of the partial addition to Smith’s home, which Ead had constructed.
2013-6 Sonia Cafua v. MERS (show cause)
The plaintiffs appeal from the grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) and HSBC Bank USA National Association. The plaintiffs challenge the foreclosure of their property on numerous grounds, including primarily that the assignment of the mortgage was invalid and that the notice was defective.
2013-59 Desmond Leone v. MERS (show cause)
The plaintiff appeals from the entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), Equity One, Inc., and Assets Recovery Center Investments, LLC (ARC). The plaintiff challenges the assignment of his mortgage and the notice of foreclosure on his property. He also contends that the hearing judge erred in converting the defendants’ motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment.
2013-79 Patricia Breggia v. MERS (show cause)
The plaintiffs appeal from the entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) and OneWest Bank FSB (OneWest). The plaintiffs contend that the hearing judge erred in converting defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings into a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs also argue that summary judgment was not appropriate because the hearing judge made impermissible findings of fact. They challenge the foreclosure and the assignment of the mortgage on numerous grounds.
2013-91 RI Joint Reinsurance Assoc. v. Kevin O’Sullivan (show cause)
The plaintiff filed an interpleader action to determine which defendant was entitled to insurance proceeds for certain real property. The Superior Court decided that a mortgagee, as a named beneficiary under the relevant insurance policy, was entitled to the insurance funds. The property owners appeal from that ruling on several grounds, including that there was another mortgage on the property which should have been redeemed first.
2013-103 Albert A. Faella v. Joseph Chiodo
2013-104 Alan Ross v. Town of Johnston (full briefing)
The town of Johnston appeals from the grant of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in this consolidated action. At issue is whether the plaintiffs are entitled to a return of money from certain deferred compensation accounts under a 1993 agreement between the town and the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.
2013-159 RI Joint Reinsurance Assoc. v. Manuel Rosario (show cause)
The appellants appeal from a Superior Court summary judgment requiring that insurance funds in the court registry be distributed to an agent for a lender which foreclosed on the insured property. Appellants challenge the validity of the foreclosure as well as the order of distribution regarding the funds.
2013-181 Tajudeen Yussuf v. American Mortgage Network (show cause)
The plaintiffs appeal from the entry of summary judgment in this foreclosure case. The plaintiffs challenge the validity of the foreclosure on the ground, inter alia, that the assignment of the mortgage in this case was invalid. They also claim that there were genuine issues of material fact in dispute.
2013-160 Carole Payne v. Clifton Payne (full briefing)
An intervenor appeals from an order authorizing the special master in this matter to sell real property in which the intervenor has an ownership interest. The underlying dispute in these consolidated actions concerns the distribution of the estate of the decedent, Doris W. Payne, and the payment of taxes owed by the estate.
2013-101 Renewable Resources Inc. v. Town of Westerly (full briefing)
The plaintiff appeals from an order vacating a preliminary injunction in its favor, and a judgment dismissing the remaining counts of its complaint against the defendant, the town of Westerly in this dispute over the condition of an old mill building. On appeal, plaintiff asserts that the trial justice erred: (1) by failing to find a substantial change of conditions prior to vacating a preliminary injunction which enjoined the town from demolishing the mill; (2) in finding that the mill constituted an attractive nuisance; (3) in granting the town’s motion to vacate the preliminary injunction without finding that the town satisfied the notice provision contained in a memorandum of agreement entered into by the parties; and (4) in finding that plaintiff had not substantially complied with the memorandum of agreement.
2013-184 Thomas McGovern v. Bank of America (show cause)
Plaintiff appeals from a Superior Court summary judgment in favor of the defendants in this action to invalidate a foreclosure sale of his property and to quiet title in his name.
2013-107 Michael Moura v. MERS (show cause)
Plaintiffs challenge the entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants in this foreclosure action. They contend that summary judgment was not appropriate because there were questions of material fact in dispute. The plaintiffs also assert that the assignment of the mortgage was invalid and the foreclosure was improper.
2013-200 Ernest Barone v. R.I. Division of Taxation (show cause)
This case is before the Court on appeal by the plaintiff, appearing pro se, from the granting of a motion to dismiss in favor of the defendants, the state of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Division of Taxation. The sole issue on appeal is whether the hearing justice erred in finding that the Superior Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear plaintiff’s complaint for a refund of automotive sales tax, a claim that was previously denied by the state tax administrator.
2013-215 Michael Trainor v. Paul Grieder (show cause)
This case is before the Court on appeal by the defendant from a judgment entered against him subsequent to a default, after the plaintiff instituted an action in debt on a judgment. The earlier judgment was entered in an underlying civil tort claim for damages from personal injuries suffered by plaintiff at the hands of defendant, as previously outlined by the Court in Trainor v. Grieder, 925 A.2d 243 (R.I. 2007) (Trainor I) and Trainor v. Grieder, 23 A.3d 1171 (R.I. 2011) (Trainor II).
2013-152 Siemens Financial v. Stonebridge Equipment Leasing (show cause)
The defendants appeal from an entry of summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs Siemens Financial Services, Inc. and Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. The defendants contend that genuine issues of material fact precluded the entry of summary judgment and that factual issues exist in regards to whether financial data supplied by the plaintiffs and a demographics report from the plaintiffs fraudulently induced the defendants into executing leases for medical equipment for a new medical imaging center. The defendants also assert that there was sufficient evidence to support their counterclaim under Massachusetts General Laws ch. 93A, that the plaintiffs engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct.
2013-106 R.I. Joint Reinsurance v. Genoveva Santana Sosa (show cause)
The defendant appeals from a Superior Court summary judgment requiring that insurance funds in the court registry be distributed to Bank of America, N.A., and that her claim to those funds, and the claim of the defendant McCauley & L’Europa, LLC, be denied. The plaintiff, Rhode Island Joint Reinsurance Association, filed an interpleader action in Superior Court to determine who was entitled to the proceeds of an insurance settlement which was payable due to a fire at defendant’s house in Providence. A foreclosure sale had taken place after the fire and defendant contested the propriety of that sale.
2013-1 Stephen Carney v. Sandra Carney (show cause)
The parties to this appeal are former spouses, and the issues before the Court require the interpretation of the marital settlement agreement that they entered into in connection with their divorce. The defendant appeals from an order of the Family Court that resolved several post-judgment issues between the parties. The parties disagree in particular with the order’s mandate regarding the amount and timing of an equitable distribution to plaintiff following defendant’s sale of the former marital domicile, as well as the parties’ payment of the cost of extracurricular activities for the two minor children of the marriage.
2013-156 HSBC Bank Nevada v. Robert Cournoyer (full briefing)
Attorney Wendy Taylor Humphrey appeals from an order relating to her work on behalf of defendant Robert Cournoyer in defense of a collection action by plaintiff. The order states that Rule 11 applies to Ms. Taylor Humphrey’s practice of preparing pleadings for pro se litigants without disclosing her identity; her undisclosed preparation of pleadings in the case violated Rule 11; and, Ms. Taylor Humphrey was sanctioned in the amount of $750 for her undisclosed preparation of pleadings on behalf of Mr. Cournoyer.
2013-157 Discover Bank v. Diane O’Brien Auty (full briefing)
Attorney Michael Swain appeals from an order relating to his work on behalf of defendant Diane O’Brien Auty in defense of a collection action by Discover Bank. The order states that Rule 11 applies to Attorney Swain’s practice of preparing pleadings for pro se litigants without disclosing his identity; his undisclosed preparation of pleadings in the case violated Rule 11; and, Mr. Swain was sanctioned in the amount of $750 for his undisclosed preparation of pleadings on behalf of Ms. O’Brien Auty.
2013-193 Seth Parenteau v. Women and Infants’ Hospital (show cause)
Plaintiffs appeal from the dismissal of their medical malpractice complaint, brought on behalf of their minor child. The judge granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds because the complaint was filed more than three years after the alleged injury but before the child had reached the age of majority. The judgment was without prejudice to the child filing suit on his own behalf when he reaches the age of majority. Plaintiffs argue that judge erroneously interpreted R.I.G.L. § 9-1-14.1(1), in effect creating a 15-year moratorium on the filing of medical malpractice actions by minors.
2013-73 Citibank, N.A. v. Kenneth Marino (show cause)
Defendant appeals, pro se, from summary judgment in favor of plaintiff bank in this action on book account. Defendant contends that plaintiff does not have standing to bring this action and that the judge should have rejected an affidavit submitted by plaintiff.
2013-102 Heritage Healthcare v. The Beacon Mutual Ins. Co. (full briefing)
The plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit held workers’ compensation insurance policies from defendant Beacon. They alleged that Beacon inequitably distributed over $100,000,000 in surplus reserves to a small number of policyholders through artificially low insurance rates instead of distributing the funds equally among its policyholders. A judge dismissed their action on the grounds that it was a derivative action and they had not complied with the prerequisites for filing such an action. The plaintiffs contend that the judge erred because their suit was a direct action to recover improper consent-to-rate discounts given to a small number of policyholders.
2013-89 Kevin Hough v. Shawn McKiernan, et al. (full briefing)
The plaintiff was injured in an altercation with a defendant who got out of a car and punched him. A trial judge granted judgment as a matter of law in favor of the insurer of the automobile operated by the assailant at that time, and the plaintiff appeals. Although the judge indicated that there was a sufficient nexus between the use of the automobile and the plaintiff’s injuries so that § 31-33-6, the owner liability statute, would apply, she determined that the exception in the statute for proof of financial responsibility applied and that assailant had provided proof of financial liability. On appeal, the plaintiff claims there was insufficient proof of financial responsibility provided prior to the incident. The defendant insurer counters that the judge erred in finding a nexus between the plaintiff’s injuries and the operation of the motor vehicle such that the owner liability statute would apply.
2013-90 Kevin Hough v. Shawn McKiernan, et al. (show cause)
The defendant appeals from a judgment in favor of plaintiff in this action for negligence, assault, and battery. The defendant does not contest his liability for the plaintiff’s injuries, but claims that the damage award was excessive, even after a remittitur.
2013-129 Wilfredo Nunez, et al. v. Merrimack Mutual Fire Ins. Co. (show cause)
The plaintiffs appeal from a judgment in favor of the defendant insurance company. They submitted a claim under their homeowners’ insurance policy seeking reimbursement for damages caused by a leak in the oil feed line in their basement. The judge agreed with the defendant that the leak was caused by corrosion of the pipe and the policy excluded coverage for property loss due to corrosion. The plaintiffs contend they are entitled to coverage because the leak was unexpected and unanticipated and therefore fell within the coverage for unexpected cracking, bulging, or failure of their heating system.
2013-15 Butterfly Realty v. James Romanella & Sons (show cause)
The plaintiffs appeal from a judgment entered against them on their claim for a prescriptive easement on the defendant’s property. The plaintiffs contend that the trial judge erred in finding that the plaintiffs’ tenants did not hostilely use the area in question because they had implied permission from the defendant to use the area. The plaintiffs also contend that the trial judge made factual findings that were not supported by the evidence and overlooked material evidence. They also argue that the trial judge failed to make certain required findings when the matter was remanded to the Superior Court from a previous appeal.
2013-87 Process Engineers & Constructors v. DiGregorio (show cause)
The defendant appeals from a judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff regarding the plaintiff’s claim for quantum meruit concerning a construction project for heating and hot water pipes for Brown University. The defendant contends that the hearing judge erred in relying upon the opening statement of the plaintiff that a heavy rain storm caused the pipe damage in question. The defendant asserts that the plaintiff failed to prove that it was not at fault for the water damage to the pipes and did not prove its claimed damages.
2013-22 Joseph Notarianni Revocable Trust v. Joseph Noarianni (show cause)
The plaintiff, the Joseph P. Notarianni Revocable Trust of January 2007, appeals from a Superior Court judgment granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss this trespass and ejectment suit.
2013-53 Bruce Brayman Builders v. Hopkinton Town Planner (full briefing)
The plaintiff appeals the denial of its request for declaratory relief. The plaintiff asserts that exhaustion of administrative remedies was not required because the question before the hearing judge was a legal issue. The plaintiff also contends that the hearing judge should have declared that the term “property taxes” in the relevant Hopkinton subdivision regulation only refers to real property taxes. Thus, the plaintiff asserts that it was only required to demonstrate that all outstanding real property taxes had been paid in order for the Hopkinton planner to certify that its application for a minor subdivision was complete.
2013-119 J.P. Livery Services v. State (show cause)
These two appeals by the plaintiff involve the central question of whether the state breached the parties’ contract whereby the plaintiff was to transport human remains to the office of the state medical examiner in exchange for payment. Shortly into the five-year contract, the state first reduced the number of transports assigned to plaintiff; the state eventually terminated the contract. According to plaintiff, the lower court committed errors of law and fact when it determined that the state did not breach the contract between the parties.
2013-63 Miller Auto Body v. Metropolitan Ins. Co (show cause)
2013-60, 2013-61, 2013-62 (all others full briefing)
These appeals are the result of lengthy and complex litigation, which included allegations of abuse of process and malicious prosecution brought by the owner of an auto body repair business against several Rhode Island insurance companies.
2013-108 Quest v. Pinnacle (full briefing)
The plaintiff appeals from a Superior Court judgment in favor of the defendants in this insurance coverage dispute. Plaintiff contends that the trial justice erred in denying its motion for summary judgment and in granting the defendants’ motions for summary judgment. The coverage issue concerns several provisions in insurance policies and a provision in a professional services agreement between Brown University and Quest Diagnostics, in which Quest agreed to provide clinical laboratory testing services for Brown.
2013-68 Rose Nulman Park Foundation v. Lamoureux (full briefing)
The defendants appeal from a judgment granting a mandatory injunction in favor of the plaintiff. The Superior Court issued a mandatory injunction ordering the defendants to remove a home that had been unlawfully built on the plaintiff’s property. The defendants contend that the trial judge failed to balance the equities in deciding to order the removal of the home. They also assert that the trial judge failed to note that they had clean hands in encroaching upon the plaintiff’s property. The defendants further suggest that the trial judge did not make sufficient factual findings on the appropriateness of issuing a mandatory injunction.
2013-125 Kris Ellinwood v. Scott Cohen (show cause)
The plaintiffs appeal from an entry of summary judgment in favor of defendant, contending that the hearing justice erred in applying the public safety officer’s rule to the instant case. The plaintiffs assert that defendant’s failure to warn one of the plaintiffs, a police officer, about a dangerous condition in the area indicates that the public safety officer’s rule immunity should not apply. The plaintiffs also argue that the doctrine of assumption of the risk does not apply because the officer did not appreciate the danger of the sun glare in the area.