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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 under section 17-189(8)(a) of the Providence Code of Ordinances. Rejecting the claim of Defendants - the City of Providence and the Retirement Board of the Employees Retirement System of the City of Providence - that Plaintiff could not return to work after an injury due to his other illnesses, the trial justice concluded that section 17-189(8)(a) required the Board to place Plaintiff on a waiting list for an opening in the fire department and, until Plaintiff was reappointed, and the City to continue to pay him accidental disability pension benefits. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, under the clear and unambiguous language of the ordinance, the Board could not properly have placed Plaintiff on a list of candidates who were prepared to return to work, and the City was not required to pay indefinite accidental disability pension benefits to Plaintiff - a person who was no longer accidentally disabled but was otherwise unable to return to duty. View "Sauro v. Lombardi" on Justia Law

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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 appeal was whether the State met its burden of establishing the corpus delicti of the crimes of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery such that the trial justice properly admitted Respondent’s confession into evidence. The Supreme Court concluded that the State did establish the corpus delicti of both first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery, and therefore, the trial justice did not err in admitting Respondent’s confession. View "In re Joseph C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

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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 those sections were not applicable to his situation. Plaintiff suffered a debilitating injury while performing his duties as a police officer and was granted an accidental disability pension. The Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiff was subject to sections 45-21-23 and 45-21-24; and (2) Plaintiff may be required to undergo an independent medical examination on occasion at the direction of the Retirement Board and to submit such financial information as may be requested in accordance with section 45-21-24. View "Grasso v. Raimondo" on Justia Law

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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 that was stolen by a juvenile from Defendant’s premises. The van, driven by the juvenile, later collided with another car, causing one fatality. The hearing justice found that defendant did not owe a duty to Plaintiffs and granted summary judgment for Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no duty of care owed by Defendant in this case, and therefore, Plaintiffs’ negligence claims against Defendant must fail as a matter of law. View "Flynn v. Nickerson Community Center" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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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 URI) seeking to vacate an arbitration award and confirming the award. After the American Association of University Professors, Part-Time Faculty United (the union) filed a grievance on behalf of a part-time faculty member at URI based on the rescission of the faculty member’s “special programs contract” the union filed a demand for arbitration. The arbitrator determined that URI’s rescission of the faculty member’s contract violated the collective bargaining agreement and issued an award. The superior court denied URI’s motion to vacate the arbitration award and entered final judgment confirming the award. On appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) the grievance was arbitrable; (2) the rescission of the faculty member’s special programs contract was in violation of the CBA and required URI to pay the faculty member a $6,500 salary; but (3) the arbitrator exceeded his authority in ordering URI to cease and desist from unilaterally imposing a two course per semester limit on bargaining unit employees. View "Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education v. American Association of University Professors, Part-Time Faculty United" on Justia Law

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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 URI) seeking to vacate an arbitration award and confirming the award. After the American Association of University Professors, Part-Time Faculty United (the union) filed a grievance on behalf of a part-time faculty member at URI based on the rescission of the faculty member’s “special programs contract” the union filed a demand for arbitration. The arbitrator determined that URI’s rescission of the faculty member’s contract violated the collective bargaining agreement and issued an award. The superior court denied URI’s motion to vacate the arbitration award and entered final judgment confirming the award. On appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) the grievance was arbitrable; (2) the rescission of the faculty member’s special programs contract was in violation of the CBA and required URI to pay the faculty member a $6,500 salary; but (3) the arbitrator exceeded his authority in ordering URI to cease and desist from unilaterally imposing a two course per semester limit on bargaining unit employees. View "Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education v. American Association of University Professors, Part-Time Faculty United" on Justia Law

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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 for the school committee, and affirmed the judgment in all other respects. After the school committee voted to terminate Teacher’s employment, Teacher appealed to the commissioner of elementary and secondary education within the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE). At Teacher’s request, the RIDE hearing officer issued three subpoenas addressed to two attorneys for the school committee and a subpoena duces tecum to the North Kingstown School Department. In superior court, the school committee filed a petition to quash the three subpoenas issued by the RIDE hearing officer. The hearing justice granted in part and denied in part the motion. The Supreme Court vacated in part and affirmed in part the superior court’s judgment, holding that the hearing justice applied the attorney-client privilege to the attorneys’ anticipated testimony in an overly broad manner. The court remanded the case for further proceedings. View "North Kingstown School Committee v. Wagner" on Justia Law

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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 his motion for a new trial, Plaintiff argued that the jury failed to apply the facts to the law in the case at hand. The trial justice denied the motion, determining that reasonable minds could differ on the outcome of the case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial justice properly conducted the analysis for a motion for a new trial and did not overlook or misconceive material evidence. View "Zarembka v. Whelan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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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 Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE) pursuant to the Access to Public Records Act (APRA). The motion justice found that the requested documents were not public records subject to disclosure under APRA. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the records requested by Plaintiff were not public records for the purposes of APRA, and therefore, the motion justice properly disposed of Plaintiff’s complaint on RIDE’s motion to dismiss. View "Pontarelli v. R.I. Department of Elementary & Secondary Education" on Justia Law

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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, Rhode Island. Landowner attempted to obtain a zoning certificate from the Town that would allow him to host a commercial fundraising event on his farmland. When the Town denied the request, Landowner filed suit, seeking a number of declarations. At issue was whether a 2014 amendment to R.I. Gen. Laws 2-23-4(a) rendered a previous permanent injunction enjoining Landowner from using his property for commercial events a nullity. The trial justice denied Landowner’s request for declaratory relief, concluding that the 2014 amendment did not supersede the 2011 injunction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, based on the unambiguous language of section 2-23-4(a), Landowner remained bound by the injunction. View "Gerald P. Zarrella Trust v. Town of Exeter" on Justia Law