Rhode Island Supreme Court Decisions 2018

Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. v. Restivo Monacelli LLP  
Date: July 3, 2018
Docket Number: 16-140

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court in favor of Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (Resource Recovery) in the amount of $5,733,648.18, inclusive of interest, on Resource Recovery’s claims...

State v. Washington  
Date: June 29, 2018
Docket Number: 16-151

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for carrying a firearm without license and other firearm-related offenses. After Defendant filed his appeal, he filed in the Supreme Court a motion to hold the appeal...

State v. Pati  
Date: June 29, 2018
Docket Number: 16-352

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant for the second-degree murder of his girlfriend’s six-year-old son. On appeal, Defendant claimed that he was entitled to a new trial becaus...

In re Madlyn B.  
Date: June 28, 2018
Docket Numbers: 16-349, 16-354

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decree of the family court declaring that Mother neglected and abused her two children, Madlyn and Luke. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was sufficient evidence to support an infer...

State v. Rhode Island Troopers Ass’n  
Date: June 27, 2018
Docket Number: 17-330

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal by the Rhode Island Troopers Association from a judgment granting declaratory and equitable relief in favor of the State, the Supreme Court affirmed the first six declarations and vacated the remaining two...

State v. Moten  
Date: June 26, 2018
Docket Number: 17-158

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of murder and discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence, among other crimes. Specifically, the Court held (1) Defendant...

Arnold v. Arnold  
Date: June 22, 2018
Docket Numbers: 16-12, 16-145

Justia Opinion Summary: In this property dispute, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Plaintiffs’ claims in whole and denying Defendants’ request for attorneys’ fees. When Defendants fenced the confines of an...

Navarro v. State  
Date: June 22, 2018
Docket Number: 16-143

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying postconviction relief for Appellant, who challenged the trial court’s acceptance of his nolo contendere plea on a second-degree murder charge. At se...

Cancel v. City of Providence  
Date: June 22, 2018
Docket Number: 17-370

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court entering summary judgment in favor of Defendants, the City of Providence and various City officials, on Plaintiff’s complaint alleging, among other things, th...

State v. Maxie  
Date: June 22, 2018
Docket Number: 17-92

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s convictions on count four, sex trafficking of a minor, in violation of R.I. Gen. Laws 11-67-6, and count six, conspiring to commit the crime of sex trafficking with a minor, holding...

Pineda v. Chase Bank USA, N.A.  
Date: June 21, 2018
Docket Number: 16-331

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment for Defendant, Chase Bank USA, N.A., on Plaintiff’s claims alleging that Chase agreed to issue him two new loans to pay promissory n...

Ainsworth v. Ainsworth  
Date: June 21, 2018
Docket Number: 16-9

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the family court denying Mother’s motion to relocate with the parties’ four minor children from Rhode Island to Australia, holding that the hearing justice did not overlook or misc...

Ucci v. Town of Coventry  
Date: June 21, 2018
Docket Number: 16-91

Justia Opinion Summary: In this dispute over a strip of real property in the Town of Coventry the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the hearing justice issuing declaratory judgment in Plaintiffs’ favor after having granted Plaintiffs’ moti...

SMS Financial XXV, LLC v. Corsetti  
Date: June 21, 2018
Docket Number: 17-299

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying the motion brought by Plaintiff, SMS Financial XXV, LLC, for summary judgment and granting the cross-motion for summary judgment brought by Defendants...

State v. Lussier  
Date: June 20, 2018
Docket Number: 16-182

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of one count of felony assault following a jury-waived trial. On appeal, Defendant argued (1) there was sufficient evidence of self-defe...

Coscina v. DiPetrillo  
Date: June 20, 2018
Docket Number: 17-127

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs on count one of Plaintiffs’ complaint sounding in adverse possession, holding that granting summary judgment i...

McLaughlin v. Zoning Board of Review of the Town of Tiverton  
Date: June 20, 2018
Docket Number: 17-156

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was whether Plaintiff was entitled to relief under Rule 60(b)(6) of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure from an order directing him to remove a garage from his property. In 2014, the superior court orde...

Epic Enterprises LLC v. Bard Group, LLC  
Date: June 20, 2018
Docket Number: 17-334

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs in this declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that an amendment to a declaration creating a condo...

McKenna v. Guglietta  
Date: June 14, 2018
Docket Number: 17-112

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court dismissing Plaintiffs’ second amended complaint with prejudice, holding that the hearing justice did not err in dismissing the complaint. In their second ame...

Gross v. Pare  
Date: June 14, 2018
Docket Number: 17-178

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff’s complaint alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotio...

Prospect CharterCARE, LLC v. Conklin  
Date: June 13, 2018
Docket Number: 17-188

Justia Opinion Summary: The arbitrator in this case did not manifestly disregard the law or the provisions of the employment agreement at issue when he awarded Defendant extended severance payments based on his finding that Defendant had been t...

State v. Alexis  
Date: June 13, 2018
Docket Number: 17-2

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and discharging a weapon while committing a crime of violence. On appeal, Defendant argued that...

State v. Marizan  
Date: June 12, 2018
Docket Number: 15-322

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of two counts of first-degree sexual assault. On appeal, Defendant argued, among other things, that the trial justice should have grante...

Luis v. Gaugler  
Date: June 11, 2018
Docket Number: 16-334

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the family court finding that Defendant and Plaintiff were married at common law, holding that the trial justice’s factual findings did not represent “a firm belief or conviction...

Coit v. Coccoli  
Date: June 8, 2018
Docket Number: 16-157

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal brought by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the State, holding that an appeal from a final judgment of the superior court brought under R.I. Gen. L...

Coccoli v. Town of Scituate Town Council  
Date: June 8, 2018
Docket Number: 16-240

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated in part and affirmed in part the Supreme Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants - the Town of Scituate and others - on Plaintiff’s claims alleging breach of a memorandum of und...

Goodrow v. Bank of America, N.A.  
Date: June 8, 2018
Docket Number: 17-31

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court granting the motions to dismiss filed by Defendants, Bank of America, N.A. (BOA) and EverBank Mortgage (EverBank), on Plaintiff’s complaint seeking monetary dama...

Jefferson v. State  
Date: June 7, 2018
Docket Number: 15-323

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court denying Petitioner’s application for postconviction relief, in which he alleged that his constitutional rights were violated when his parole was revoked and he...

Nugent v. State  
Date: June 6, 2018
Docket Number: 17-43

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court granting a motion brought by Defendant, the State Public Defender’s Office, for judgment on the pleadings regarding Plaintiff’s employment discrimination claim...

Rein v. ESS Group, Inc.  
Date: June 1, 2018
Docket Number: 17-272

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the superior court granting a motion to dismiss brought by Defendants in this case alleging that Defendants, including ESS Group, Inc., violated the Rh...

Hawes v. Reilly  
Date: May 24, 2018
Docket Number: 15-250

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court quashing an execution previously issued by the Rhode Island Superior Court on a State of Utah District Court judgment and dismissing George Hawes’s petition t...

Dent v. PRRC, Inc.  
Date: May 22, 2018
Docket Number: 16-129

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment for Defendant, Price Rite, on count one of Plaintiff’s complaint and also granting Defendant’s motion to...

Dunn’s Corners Fire District v. Westerly Ambulance Corps  
Date: May 22, 2018
Docket Number: 17-196

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of the Dunn’s Corners Fire District on its complaint seeking a declaration that it was not obligated to provide fire protec...

Community College of Rhode Island v. CCRI Educational Support Professional Ass’n  
Date: May 18, 2018
Docket Number: 16-347

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court vacating an arbitration award that reinstated Michael Crenshaw to his position as a campus police officer for the Community College of Rhode Island. Crensha...

State v. Rathbun  
Date: May 18, 2018
Docket Number: 17-173

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of two counts of first-degree child molestation sexual assault, for which Defendant received two concurrent forty-year sentences. On ap...

Millette v. State  
Date: May 17, 2018
Docket Number: 15-330

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Defendant’s application for postconviction relief in which Defendant argued that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel because his lawyer...

Town of Cumberland v. Cumberland Town Employees Union  
Date: May 14, 2018
Docket Number: 17-186

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court in favor of the Town of Cumberland granting its motion to vacate an arbitration award in favor of Defendants, the Cumberland Town Employees Union and Norman Tr...

State v. Alves  
Date: May 11, 2018
Docket Number: 16-316

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of robbery in the first degree and conspiracy after a jury trial. On appeal, Defendant requested a new trial on the grounds that the tr...

Adams v. Santander Bank, N.A.  
Date: May 11, 2018
Docket Number: 17-73

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court in favor of Santander Bank, N.A. in this complaint challenging Santander’s foreclosure of Plaintiff’s property. In her complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Sant...

Endoscopy Associates, Inc. v. Rhode Island Department of Health  
Date: May 9, 2018
Docket Number: 15-128

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court quashed the judgment of the superior court that reversed a decision by the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) to grant Petitioner’s application for a Health Care Certificate of Need (CON) on the ba...

Gallop v. Adult Correctional Institutions  
Date: May 8, 2018
Docket Number: 16-278

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court and remanded this case to the superior court with directions to hear and decide Plaintiff’s motion to amend his complaint upon the merits, holding that the tri...

DeLong v. Rhode Island Sports Center, Inc.  
Date: May 8, 2018
Docket Number: 17-91

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment for Defendants on Plaintiff’s negligence claim. Plaintiff, a former college hockey player, filed this negligence suit alleging that...

Balmuth v. Dolce  
Date: May 2, 2018
Docket Numbers: 17-6, 17-8, 17-9, 17-11

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was whether Plaintiffs, a group of taxpayers in the Town of Portsmouth, were required to base their tax appeals on the fair market value of their properties as of December 31 in the year of the last update or re...

State v. Perry  
Date: April 25, 2018
Docket Number: 15-255

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of two counts of first-degree child molestation sexual assault and one count of second-degree child molestation sexual assault, holding t...

State v. Gibson  
Date: April 23, 2018
Docket Numbers: 15-108, 16-149, 17-317

Justia Opinion Summary: Contrary to the conclusions of the magistrate and the hearing justice, Defendant did not have a lifetime duty to register, but rather, his duty to register expired ten years from the expiration of his sentence for the of...

State v. Danis  
Date: April 19, 2018
Docket Number: 17-159

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of one count of first-degree child molestation sexual assault and one count of the sale or distribution of photographs of a minor suggest...

West Davisville Realty Co. v. Alpha Nutrition, Inc.  
Date: April 19, 2018
Docket Number: 17-87

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of West Davisville Realty Co., LLC (West Davisville) holding David Paolo liable on a personal guaranty of a termination of...

State v. Gouin  
Date: April 16, 2018
Docket Number: 16-40

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the superior court granting Defendant’s motion to suppress statements he made to a Massachusetts Department of Children and Families investigator on grounds that the investigator...

Ahearn v. City of Providence  
Date: April 11, 2018
Docket Number: 16-48

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant, the City of Providence, on Plaintiff’s amended complaint alleging that she fell and sustained injuries due to...

Ballard v. SVF Foundation  
Date: April 10, 2018
Docket Numbers: 15-351, 15-352, 15-353

Justia Opinion Summary: In this protracted litigation between Carol and A.L. Ballard and SVF Foundation and the Foundation’s predecessor owner regarding certain property, the Supreme Court affirmed summary judgments and an order of dismissal en...

In re James H.  
Date: April 9, 2018
Docket Number: 16-295

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the family court terminating Mother’s parental rights with respect to her three children. After a trial, the trial justice concluded that, by clear and convincing evidence, the...

Barros v. State  
Date: April 4, 2018
Docket Number: 15-304

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Petitioner’s application for postconviction relief, in which Petitioner claimed that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The Court he...

Terzian v. Lombardi  
Date: April 3, 2018
Docket Number: 15-340

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting the motions for summary judgment filed by Defendants - a Union and the Treasurer for the City of Providence - holding that the Court need not pass on...

State v. Porter  
Date: March 22, 2018
Docket Number: 14-231

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment convicting Defendant of second-degree murder, discharging a weapon while committing a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm, having previously been convicted...

ABC Building Corp. v. Ropolo Family, LLC  
Date: March 14, 2018
Docket Number: 16-343

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court that confirmed an arbitration award in favor of Plaintiff and a corresponding judgment of the superior court in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant in the a...

Wu-Carter v. Carter  
Date: March 14, 2018
Docket Number: 17-49

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part a family court decision pending entry of final judgment following a divorce proceeding, holding that the trial justice erred in not identifying certain assets as mar...

Warfel v. Town of New Shoreham  
Date: March 2, 2018
Docket Number: 17-125

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs did not have standing to seek review of the Town of New Shoreham’s decision to purchase a majority of the shares of Block Island Power Company (BIPCO). Plaintiffs - certain residents and taxpayers of the Town...

DiSano v. Argonaut Insurance Co.  
Date: February 28, 2018
Docket Number: 16-309

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court denying Plaintiff’s petition to vacate an arbitration award, granting Defendant’s petition to confirm the arbitration award, and granting Defendant’s motion to q...

Jaffe v. Pournaras  
Date: February 23, 2018
Docket Number: 16-298

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting Plaintiff’s request for declaratory relief and prohibiting Defendant from transferring assets of the decedent’s irrevocable living trust into the dec...

In re Joseph C.  
Date: February 20, 2018
Docket Number: 15-324

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Family Court finding Respondent, a juvenile, delinquent for committing first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. The only pertinent issue Respondent raised on...

Sauro v. Lombardi  
Date: February 20, 2018
Docket Number: 16-170

Justia Opinion Summary: The trial justice erred by requiring Defendants to continue to provide accidental disability pension benefits to Plaintiff and to place him on a waiting list to return to his position at the Providence Fire Department un...

Grasso v. Raimondo  
Date: February 12, 2018
Docket Numbers: 16-83, 15-378

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court determining that Plaintiff need not comply with R.I. Gen. Laws 45-21-23 and 45-21-24 in order to continue receiving his accidental disability pension because t...

Flynn v. Nickerson Community Center  
Date: February 5, 2018
Docket Number: 16-114

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was whether victims of illegal entries to owed a duty to unknown plaintiffs. Plaintiffs sued Defendant, Nickerson Community Center, alleging that Defendant was negligent in failing to secure the keys to a van th...

Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education v. American Association of University Professors, Part-Time Faculty United  
Date: January 26, 2018
Docket Number: 16-53

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the superior court denying the motion filed by the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education and the University of Rhode Island (collectively U...

North Kingstown School Committee v. Wagner  
Date: January 19, 2018
Docket Number: 16-241

Justia Opinion Summary: In this employment dispute, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court insofar as it granted the North Kingstown School Committee’s (“school committee”) motion to quash the subpoenas of two attorneys fo...

Zarembka v. Whelan  
Date: January 18, 2018
Docket Number: 16-280

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the superior court denying Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial following a jury verdict in favor of Defendants in this negligence case arising out of an automobile accident. In...

Paiva v. Parella  
Date: January 16, 2018
Docket Number: 16-166

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court quashed the decision of Respondent, the Chief of Police for the City of East Providence, denying Petitioner’s application for a permit or license to carry a concealed weapon and directed Respondent to i...

Gerald P. Zarrella Trust v. Town of Exeter  
Date: January 16, 2018
Docket Number: 16-301

Justia Opinion Summary: Subsection 4(a) of Rhode Island’s Right to Farm Act, Rhode Island General Laws chapter 23 of title 2, does not permit Landowner to host commercial events, such as weddings for a fee, on his farmland in the Town of Exeter...

Pontarelli v. R.I. Department of Elementary & Secondary Education  
Date: January 16, 2018
Docket Number: 16-336

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint for declaratory relief asserting that he had a right to access to records in the possession of the Rhode Island Department of El...

State v. Rainey  
Date: January 11, 2018
Docket Number: 14-348

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of two counts of first-degree child molestation and one count of second-degree child molestation. The court held (1) the trial justice di...

State v. Minior  
Date: January 10, 2018
Docket Number: 16-57

Justia Opinion Summary: Collateral estoppel is not applicable to issues determined in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal when the issues are “only a small part of a larger, ongoing criminal investigation.” Defendant in this case was cited in t...

State v. Simpson  
Date: January 8, 2018
Docket Number: 16-283

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the superior court adjudging Defendant to have violated the terms and conditions of his probation and executing eighteen years of a twenty-year suspended sentence. On appeal, De...

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