Fatulli v. Bowen’s Wharf Co.Annotate this Case
Bowen's Wharf was a tourist destination including a marina and a variety of retailers, restaurants, and art galleries. In this appeal, the Supreme Court was called upon to decide a question that would clarify the rights and obligations of two adjacent landholders whose combined property comprised the entirety of Bowen's Wharf. The question presented for review was whether the trial justice erred in finding that a right of first refusal granted to Defendant, Bowen's Wharf Company, Inc., by Plaintiff, Ronald Fatulli, in 1969 had expired by expiration of law. The trial justice found the parties' right of first refusal agreement expired in 1979, and accordingly, Plaintiff was not obligated to offer a parcel of the property, a wharf, and a business to Defendant in the event of a bona fide third party's offer. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in finding that, on these facts, a wharf or dock may properly be characterized as real property; and (2) Defendant's right of first refusal expired by operation of R.I. Gen. Laws 34-4-26, which governs the expiration of recorded rights affecting real estate.