Rhode Island Supreme Court Decisions 2019

Hebert v. City of Woonsocket  
Date: July 2, 2019
Docket Number: 16-77

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court that granted a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiffs restraining the City of Woonsocket from changing the terms of Plaintiffs' retiree health insurance...

Branson v. Louttit  
Date: June 28, 2019
Docket Numbers: 17-149, 17-150

Justia Opinion Summary: In this dispute among siblings regarding amendments to an inter vivos trust and gifts of interest in a family limited partnership established by Augusta Hathaway the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior co...

Heneault v. Lantini  
Date: June 27, 2019
Docket Number: 18-195

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the superior court's denial of Defendants' motion for a new trial after a jury found in favor of Plaintiff on his complaint alleging conversion and breach of contrac...

Rollingwood Acres, Inc. v. Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management  
Date: June 24, 2019
Docket Number: 15-328

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court quashed the judgment of the superior court upholding the decision of the Administrative Adjudication Division (AAD) of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) denying Plaintiffs' r...

DiCarlo v. State  
Date: June 21, 2019
Docket Number: 16-119

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Petitioner's appeal from a decision of a drug court magistrate upholding a determination by the Sex Offender Board of Review classifying Petitioner as...

Blais v. Rhode Island Airport Corp.  
Date: June 20, 2019
Docket Number: 17-326

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court reversing the Rhode Island Airport Corporation's (RIAC) 2015 order prohibiting Plaintiff from entering the North Central State Airport, holding that RIAC was...

Boudreau v. Automatic Temperature Controls, Inc.  
Date: June 20, 2019
Docket Number: 18-91

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff's complaint alleging various claims under, inter alia, the Rhode Island Wiretap Act, state priva...

JHRW, LLC v. Seaport Studios, Inc.  
Date: June 19, 2019
Docket Number: 17-313

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff as to Plaintiff's claim seeking injunctive relief for Defendants' alleged trespass and permanently enjoining Defe...

State v. Najera  
Date: June 19, 2019
Docket Number: 18-151

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of assault with a dangerous weapon and malicious injury to property, holding that the trial justice did not err in denying Defendant's mo...

In re Violet G.  
Date: June 19, 2019
Docket Number: 18-24

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decree of the family court that terminated Mother's parental rights with respect to her daughter, holding that the family court justice's findings were not clearly wrong, and the justice di...

Rhode Island American Federation of Teachers/Retired Local 8037 v. Johnston School Committee  
Date: June 19, 2019
Docket Number: 18-51

Justia Opinion Summary: In this dispute over the cost of annual premiums for post-retirement life insurance benefits the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court entering summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs - the Rhode Isla...

Brindle v. Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training  
Date: June 18, 2019
Docket Number: 16-324

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court affirming a decision of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) that denied Petitioners' wage and hour claims against Delta Airline, Inc., hol...

La Gondola, Inc. v. City of Providence  
Date: June 17, 2019
Docket Number: 16-282

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case concerning the award of a concessions contract for concessions at a public park in the City of Providence the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court in favor of Defendants - the City, the...

Larkin v. Arthurs  
Date: June 17, 2019
Docket Numbers: 17-56, 17-183

Justia Opinion Summary: In this dispute surrounding the distribution of the assets of the parties' deceased mother the Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the superior court with respect to the substance of two orders of the probate court,...

Cusick v. Cusick  
Date: June 17, 2019
Docket Number: 18-47

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the postjudgment order of the family court in favor of Judith Cusick requiring Maurice Cusick to submit to limited genetic testing for the benefit of the parties' minor children, holding that t...

Desamours v. State  
Date: June 14, 2019
Docket Number: 17-351

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Appellant's application for postconviction relief, holding that the postconviction hearing justice did not err in denying Appellant's application. Tw...

State v. Souto  
Date: June 13, 2019
Docket Number: 15-295

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct, holding that the trial justice did not err in determining that Defendant had waived his constitu...

National Education Ass'n Rhode Island v. Town of Middletown  
Date: June 13, 2019
Docket Number: 17-202

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants on the grounds that the case was moot, holding that there was no justiciable controversy before the Court and...

Olsen v. DeMayo  
Date: June 13, 2019
Docket Number: 18-72

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court in favor of Defendant on the ground that Plaintiff was not legally entitled to recover rent monies which he had paid to Defendant over the period of time duri...

State v. Andrade  
Date: June 12, 2019
Docket Number: 17-231

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of first-degree murder by use of a firearm he was not licensed to carry, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on any of his allegations of error. Specifical...

Management Capital, LLC v. F.A.F., Inc.  
Date: June 12, 2019
Docket Number: 17-275

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the superior court's judgment ruling in favor of Plaintiff, Management Capital, LLC, on its complaint filed after Defendant, F.A.F., Inc., maintained that a common stock warrant held by Managem...

Richard v. Robinson  
Date: June 12, 2019
Docket Number: 18-124

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court denying Defendant's motion to confirm an arbitration award in Defendant's favor, holding that the trial justice properly exercised his discretion when he determi...

In re Estate of Amet Chelo  
Date: June 12, 2019
Docket Number: 18-183

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court dismissing Appellant's probate appeal after finding that, because Appellant was under guardianship, he lacked the capacity to retain legal counsel and file an...

Voccola v. Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.  
Date: June 11, 2019
Docket Numbers: 17-371, 18-136

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgments of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant and the third-party defendant (collectively, Defendants) on Plaintiff's complaint alleging negligence for...

State v. Munir  
Date: June 11, 2019
Docket Number: 18-43

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of first-degree child molestation sexual assault, holding that the trial justice did not commit clear error in the proceedings below. On...

In re Austin B.  
Date: June 10, 2019
Docket Number: 16-237

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order and judgment of the family court finding Respondent delinquent for possession of child pornography, holding that Respondent was not entitled to relief on three of his arguments and th...

Estate of Brian Chen v. Ye  
Date: June 10, 2019
Docket Number: 17-309

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court quashed the order of the superior court that quashed the oral deposition of M.Y., the minor daughter of Defendants, holding that the hearing justice erred when he quashed M.Y.'s oral deposition and requ...

Puerini v. LaPierre  
Date: June 4, 2019
Docket Number: 16-335

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court ruling that federal law preempted state statutes authorizing vicarious liability of a car owner for the negligent acts of the driver, holding that the federal...

Bacon Construction Co. v. Arbella Protection Insurance Co.  
Date: June 4, 2019
Docket Number: 17-350

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Insurer and Plaintiff's claims alleging that Insurer was contractually obligated to provide insurance coverage to Plaint...

Trojan v. Trojan  
Date: June 3, 2019
Docket Number: 17-123

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the family court ordering Joel Trojan to pay $1,796 per month in child support for the parties' minor child, holding that the trial justice erred in...

Cranston Police Retirees Action Committee v. City of Cranston  
Date: June 3, 2019
Docket Number: 17-36

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal concerned two City of Cranston ordinances that promulgated a ten-year suspension of the cost-of-living adjustment benefit for retirees of the Cranston Police Department and Cranston Fire Department who wer...

Morse v. Minardi  
Date: June 3, 2019
Docket Number: 18-121

Justia Opinion Summary: In these actions challenging the assessment of alleged illegal real estate taxes on several properties and property owners, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court in favor of Defendants in the decl...

Chariho Regional School District v. State  
Date: May 30, 2019
Docket Number: 17-239

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the order of the superior court granting Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint alleging breach of contract and seeking a declaration that Defendants had breached an agreement, hold...

Note Capital Group, Inc. v. Perretta  
Date: May 23, 2019
Docket Number: 17-7

Justia Opinion Summary: In this foreclosure action, the Supreme Court vacated the order of the superior court granting partial summary judgment in favor of Note Capital Group, Inc. and against Michele Perretta and Anna Perretta, holding that th...

State v. Rogers  
Date: May 17, 2019
Docket Number: 17-357

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of five counts of second-degree sexual assault, holding that the trial justice did not err in denying Defendant's motion for a new trial....

In re Joziah B.  
Date: May 17, 2019
Docket Number: 17-428

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the decree of the family court that terminated Mother's parental rights with respect to her minor son, holding that notice of the hearing date on the petition to terminate Mother's parental righ...

Smith v. Smith  
Date: May 16, 2019
Docket Number: 18-32

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the family court granting an absolute divorce to Defendant and his former wife, Plaintiff, and ordering an equitable distribution of their marital assets, holding that Defendan...

Trinidad v. Employees' Retirement System of Providence  
Date: May 2, 2019
Docket Number: 17-133

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Retirement Board of the Employee Retirement System of Providence (the Board) denying Petitioner's application for accidental disability retirement benefits and instead award...

Bluedog Capital Partners, LLC v. Murphy  
Date: May 1, 2019
Docket Number: 17-138

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting Defendants' motion to dismiss this action challenging the assessment of alleged illegal taxes, holding that the hearing justice did not err in granti...

State v. Merida  
Date: May 1, 2019
Docket Number: 17-375

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court denying Defendant's motion to correct sentence pursuant to Rule 35 of the Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure, holding that the trial justice did not err...

In re Estate of Elizabeth Brown  
Date: April 30, 2019
Docket Numbers: 13-174, 17-394

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court remanded with directions to modify the superior court's April 22, 2013 attorneys' fees order, affirmed in part and vacated in part the April 26, 2013 judgment of the superior court, and affirmed the cou...

State v. Sanchez  
Date: April 29, 2019
Docket Number: 17-376

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of two counts of first degree robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery, holding that the admission of an out-of-court statement made by an alleged coconspira...

State v. Guerrero  
Date: April 23, 2019
Docket Number: 17-164

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Defendant's motion for a new trial after convicting Defendant of of assault and battery resulting in serious bodily injury and possession of a knife w...

Mello v. Killeavy  
Date: April 23, 2019
Docket Number: 17-198

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant in this negligence action, holding that summary judgment was appropriately granted in favor of Defendant on Pl...

Oliver v. Narragansett Bay Insurance Co.  
Date: April 16, 2019
Docket Number: 16-320

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant, NAMCO, LLC, the company that sold the swimming pool in which a four-year-old child drowned to the child's gran...

Giarrusso v. Giarrusso  
Date: April 16, 2019
Docket Number: 18-53

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case between former spouses who disagreed about the ex-husband's entitlement to visitation with two dogs the parties acquired during their marriage, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the family court approv...

Family Dollar Stores of Rhode Island, Inc. v. Araujo  
Date: April 11, 2019
Docket Numbers: 17-26, 17-135

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the September 20, 2016 judgment of the superior court entering judgment against Family Dollar Stores of Rhode Island, Inc. and affirmed the November 9, 2016 order of the superior court granting...

Powers v. Warwick Public Schools  
Date: April 9, 2019
Docket Number: 16-6

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decree of the appellate division of the Workers' Compensation Court (WCC) dismissing Petitioner's appeal from the decision of the trial judge finding that work-sharing benefits were properl...

Christy's Auto Rentals, Inc. v. Massachusetts Homeland Insurance Co.  
Date: April 8, 2019
Docket Number: 16-104

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the determination of the hearing justice that Plaintiff, Christy's Auto Rentals, Inc., lacked standing to bring this declaratory judgment action against Christian Lanoie and his insurer, Massac...

In re Sophia M.  
Date: April 4, 2019
Docket Number: 17-321

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the decree of the family court finding that Mother abused and neglected her infant child, holding that the trial justice's findings were not supported by legally competent evidence. The trial j...

In re 25 Burnside Avenue, Narragansett, R.I.  
Date: April 4, 2019
Docket Number: 18-36

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the order of the superior court authorizing a permanent receiver to distribute the proceeds from the sale of 25 Burnside Avenue in Narragansett in accordance with th...

Letizio v. Ritacco  
Date: April 4, 2019
Docket Number: 18-73

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court denying Plaintiffs' motion for a new trial after a jury found in favor of Defendants in this negligence action, holding that the motion was properly denied. Pla...

Yattaw v. City of East Providence  
Date: April 2, 2019
Docket Number: 17-274

Justia Opinion Summary: In this personal injury suit seeking damages for injures alleged to be caused by defects in a public park, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of the City of E...

State v. Lastarza  
Date: March 29, 2019
Docket Number: 17-254

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of second-degree murder, holding that Defendant waived his argument that the trial justice erred when she failed to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of vo...

State v. Morais  
Date: March 28, 2019
Docket Number: 17-122

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of four counts of first-degree child molestation sexual assault, holding that Defendant was not entitled to a new trial based on any of his arguments on appeal. Specific...

Rhode Island Industrial-Recreational Building Authority v. Capco Endurance, LLC  
Date: March 26, 2019
Docket Number: 17-229

Justia Opinion Summary: In this negligence case, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court entering judgment for Feeley & Driscoll, P.C. (Feeley) on all claims by The Rhode Island Industrial-Recreational Building Authority (...

Sullivan v. Coventry Municipal Employees’ Retirement Plan  
Date: March 22, 2019
Docket Numbers: 15-58, 16-73

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the plan administrator denying Plaintiff pension benefits, holding that the superior court did not err in granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter juris...

Silva v. Laverty  
Date: March 22, 2019
Docket Number: 17-153

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court in favor of Defendants on Plaintiffs’ negligence and nuisance claims, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. In their complaint, Plaintiff...

Broccoli v. Manning  
Date: March 22, 2019
Docket Number: 18-11

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court entering summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s complaint alleging breach of contract and fraud, holding that the hearing justice correctly grante...

Felkner v. Rhode Island College  
Date: March 18, 2019
Docket Number: 16-17

Justia Opinion Summary: In this complaint brought against Rhode Island College and various college officials alleging that Defendants’ conduct toward Plaintiff during his enrollment in the Master of Social Work program due to his political beli...

Parrillo v. Rhode Island Hospital  
Date: March 14, 2019
Docket Number: 17-235

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the entry of summary judgment in favor of Dr. Shea Gregg in this wrongful death action, holding that the superior court correctly found that the statutory period for filing a wrongful death act...

MacTavish-Thurber v. Gauvin  
Date: March 13, 2019
Docket Number: 17-48

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the family court denying a miscellaneous petition filed by Plaintiff pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 15-5-24.1 and 15-5-24.3 for grandparent visitation with two children of her daughter...

Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education v. Hellenic Society Paideia - Rhode Island Chapter  
Date: March 12, 2019
Docket Numbers: 17-200, 17-201

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case arising from a dispute arising from the parties’ lease agreement, the Supreme Court vacated the order of the superior court denying Defendant’s motion to stay litigation in favor of arbitration, holding that...

Shannahan v. Moreau  
Date: March 11, 2019
Docket Number: 18-22

Justia Opinion Summary: In this action involving various allegations against the former mayor of the City of Central Falls, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant, the Rhode...

John Rocchio Corp. v. Pare Engineering Corp.  
Date: February 13, 2019
Docket Number: 17-426

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant, Pare Engineering Corporation, on John Rocchio Corporation’s action asserting claims for interference with pro...

Gannon v. City of Pawtucket  
Date: February 6, 2019
Docket Numbers: 17-342, 18-69

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the superior court granting the City of Pawtucket’s motion to dismiss Appellant’s motion to vacate an arbitration award issued in connection with the termination of Appellant’s em...

State v. D’Amico  
Date: February 5, 2019
Docket Numbers: 17-215, 17-216

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the superior court adjudging Appellant to be a violator of his probation, holding (1) there was no reason to remand Appellant’s case for a new probation violation hearing under...

Sandy Point Farms, Inc. v. Sandy Point Village, LLC  
Date: January 29, 2019
Docket Number: 17-107

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court quashed the order of the superior court denying Plaintiff’s motion for a protective order concerning the deposition of Lawrence Rainey, holding that, pursuant to rule 26(b)(4)(B) of the Superior Court R...

State v. Stokes  
Date: January 29, 2019
Docket Number: 17-251

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, three counts of discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence, and one c...

State v. Johnson  
Date: January 29, 2019
Docket Number: 17-358

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court convicting Defendant of first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, and assault with a dangerous weapon in a dwelling house with intent t...

State v. Paiva  
Date: January 29, 2019
Docket Number: 18-100

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court denying Defendant’s motion to correct his sentence, holding that there was no error on the part of the hearing justice in denying Defendant’s motion to correct h...

Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC v. Providence Business Loan Fund, Inc.  
Date: January 29, 2019
Docket Number: 18-18

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff, holding that summary judgment was appropriate because the mortgage granted to Defendant was discharged by ope...

Whitaker v. State  
Date: January 17, 2019
Docket Number: 16-102

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court quashed the judgment of the superior court that granted Defendant’s application for postconviction relief and reinstated Defendant’s convictions, holding that the hearing justice erred in holding that t...

Hexagon Holdings, Inc. v. Carlisle Syntec Inc.  
Date: January 17, 2019
Docket Number: 17-175

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant in this construction dispute, holding that summary judgment was appropriate. Plaintiff entered into a contra...

In re A&R Marine Corp.  
Date: January 16, 2019
Docket Number: 17-213

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the report and order of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) denying the Town of Portsmouth’s request for a discounted rate for ferry service from the Town of Bristol to Prudence Island for mu...

Summit Insurance Co. v. Stricklett  
Date: January 15, 2019
Docket Number: 17-185

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the trial justice's judgment in favor of Summit Insurance Company in this declaratory judgment action seeking to clarify Summit’s liability for prejudgment interest and damages above the policy...

State v. Colon  
Date: January 9, 2019
Docket Number: 16-136

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of one count of first-degree child molestation sexual assault, holding that none of the superior court justice’s challenged evidentiary rulings warranted reversal. Speci...

State v. Roscoe  
Date: January 9, 2019
Docket Number: 17-124

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of conviction after a jury found Defendant guilty of first degree sexual assault and murder, holding that Defendant was entitled to a new trial because the trial court violated the...

State v. LeFebvre  
Date: January 7, 2019
Docket Number: 16-72

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for first-degree child abuse, holding that the trial justice did not err by requiring a licensed clinical social worker to testify about statements Defendant made to her...

State v. Tabora  
Date: January 7, 2019
Docket Number: 17-302

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of two counts of second-degree child molestation sexual assault, holding that the trial justice did not err in denying Defendant’s motion for a new trial. On appeal, Def...

State v. Silva  
Date: January 4, 2019
Docket Number: 17-288

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of reckless driving, holding that the trial justice did not commit clear error or overlook or misconceive material or relevant evidence in denying Defendant’s motion for...

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