Providence Teachers' Union Local 958, AFT, AFL-CIO v. Hemond

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Justia Opinion Summary

The Supreme Court vacated the order of the superior court denying the motion filed by a teachers' union and Jennifer Leyden (collectively, the Union) to vacate an arbitration award and granting the City of Providence's motion to confirm the award, holding that the trial justice erred in holding that the decision of the Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island (the Retirement Board) granting Leyden's application for an ordinary disability retirement retired Leyden as a matter of law.

Leyden, a school teacher, was awarded workers' compensation benefits after she was assaulted by students. The Retirement Board later approved Leyden's application for an ordinary disability retirement. While she was receiving workers' compensation benefits, Leyden sought reinstatement to her former teaching position. However, the School Department considered her to be retired. The Union filed a grievance, and the matter proceeded to arbitration. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the School Department, concluding that the Retirement Board had retired Leyden when it granted her request for an ordinary disability pension, and therefore, the Union had no standing to represent her. The superior court confirmed the award. The Supreme Court vacated the superior court's order, holding that Leyden's grievance that she was denied an appointment for the upcoming academic year was substantively arbitrable.

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STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS SUPREME COURT – CLERK’S OFFICE OPINION COVER SHEET Title of Case Case Number Providence Teachers’ Union Local 958, AFT, AFLCIO et al. v. Nicholas Hemond et al. No. 2018-326-Appeal. (PM 17-3514) Date Opinion Filed May 19, 2020 Justices Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ. Written By Associate Justice Francis X. Flaherty Source of Appeal Providence County Superior Court Judicial Officer From Lower Court Associate Justice Maureen B. Keough For the Plaintiffs: Attorney(s) on Appeal John J. Desimone, Esq. For the Defendants: Charles A. Ruggerio, Esq. SU-CMS-02A (revised June 2016)
Primary Holding
The Supreme Court vacated the superior court's order denying the motion filed by a teachers' union and Jennifer Leyden to vacate an arbitration award, holding that the trial justice erred in holding that the decision of the Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island granting Leyden's application for an ordinary disability retirement retired Leyden as a matter of law.

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