Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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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 ordered Plaintiff to remove a garage he built on his property that violated the setback requirements set forth in the Town of Tiverton’s zoning ordinance. Thereafter, the Town removed the garage from Plaintiff’s property and placed a lien on the property for $69,300 in fines imposed by a 2015 contempt order. In 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion to vacate the 2014 order. The trial judge denied the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because the superior court possessed subject matter jurisdiction to order Plaintiff to remove his garage, and because the granting of the 2014 order did not violate due process, the order was not void; but (2) the unique circumstances of this case and its procedural flaws presented a manifest injustice justifying relief from the operation of the order under Rule 60(b)(6). View "McLaughlin v. Zoning Board of Review of the Town of Tiverton" on Justia Law

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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 amended complaint, Plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of the statutory system for appointing magistrates to the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that they were due a refund of fines and costs that had previously been assessed by the Traffic Tribunal because Defendants’ conduct was unconstitutional. Plaintiffs further argued that Defendants had been unjustly enriched by levying those fines. Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint with prejudice pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure. The justice granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs’ complaint failed to state a viable claim for relief as to Plaintiffs’ constitutional claim and that the complaint failed to allege the facts necessary to support the unjust enrichment claim. View "McKenna v. Guglietta" on Justia Law

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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 damages for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, as well as a preliminary injunction to stop a foreclosure. Plaintiff executed a mortgage on his property in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS). The mortgage was later assigned to BOA. After the BOA informed Plaintiff that his mortgage was in foreclosure he filed a complaint alleging, inter alia, that the assignment of the mortgage was void and that Defendants had no standing to foreclose on his property. A federal court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss. Thereafter, Plaintiff brought this complaint. Defendants filed motions to dismiss. The superior court found that res judicata warranted the granting of Defendants’ motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that res judicata applied. View "Goodrow v. Bank of America, N.A." on Justia Law

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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 claims. Plaintiff in this case filed two complaints. In Nugent I, Plaintiff appealed an arbitration decision concluding that the Public Defender’s Office acted wth just cause when it terminated Plaintiff’s employment. Judgment entered in favor of Defendant on the basis that Plaintiff lacked standing to challenge the arbitration decision in court. In Nugent II, Plaintiff alleged unlawful employment discrimination. Defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that res judicata barred Plaintiff’s discrimination claims. The hearing justice granted the motion, and final judgment entered in favor of Defendant on all claims. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment in Nugent II, holding that Nugent I was not a final judgment for purposes of res judicata because the consideration of Nugent’s standing did not reach the merits of Nugent I, and therefore, Plaintiff was not barred from seeking redress for her discrimination claims raised in Nugent II. View "Nugent v. State" on Justia Law

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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 to enforce the Utah judgment on the grounds that Utah did not have personal jurisdiction over Daniel Reilly. InnerLight Holdings, Inc. filed a complaint in state court in Utah against several defendants, including Reilly and Hawes. Hawes filed a cross-claim against Reilly and others. Reilly moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that Utah did not have personal jurisdiction over him. The Utah District Court denied the motion to dismiss. Thereafter, a default judgment on Hawes’s cross-claim was entered against Reilly. Hawes filed a petition to enforce a foreign judgment in the Rhode Island Superior Court. The hearing justice denied the petition, concluding that Utah did not have personal jurisdiction over Reilly. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Utah order denying the motion to dismiss was not entitled to full faith and credit; (2) Utah did not have personal jurisdiction over Reilly; and (3) Reilly did not forfeit his defense of lack of personal jurisdiction. View "Hawes v. Reilly" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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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 the City’s negligence in maintaining its sidewalk, holding that Plaintiff failed to provide notice of the location of her injury in a “reasonably sufficient manner.” In dismissing the complaint, the superior court concluded that Plaintiff’s notice of claim failed to describe with sufficient specificity of location where the incident giving rise to the claim occurred was defective as a matter of law. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that because Plaintiff’s notice was geographically inaccurate, it was inadequate, and Plaintiff’s attempt to cure the defective notice was invalid because it was filed outside the sixty-day limitations period for filing a notice of claim under R.I. Gen. Laws 45-15-9. View "Ahearn v. City of Providence" on Justia Law

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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 entered by the superior court on the eve of trial. The Court held that, contrary to the Ballards’ contentions on appeal, the superior court properly entered judgments on claims concerning the property sewer system and a driveway easement, properly dismissed an accounting claim based on an in-court conference, and did not err in denying the Ballards’ motion for sanctions pursuant to Rule 11 of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure against the attorney for the Foundation. View "Ballard v. SVF Foundation" on Justia Law

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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 the merits of the superior court’s ruling because, under the raise-or-waive rule, Plaintiff forfeited his right to appellate review. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the hearing justice erred in granting Defendants’ motions for summary judgment because the City could not terminate him for off-duty conduct and because the Union did not comply with its duty to fairly represent him. The Supreme Court held that Plaintiff was precluded from pursuing his right to appellate review because he failed to comply with the dictates of Rule 16(a) of the Supreme Court Rules of Appellate Procedure in his appellate brief in this case. View "Terzian v. Lombardi" on Justia Law

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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 the merits of the superior court’s ruling because, under the raise-or-waive rule, Plaintiff forfeited his right to appellate review. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the hearing justice erred in granting Defendants’ motions for summary judgment because the City could not terminate him for off-duty conduct and because the Union did not comply with its duty to fairly represent him. The Supreme Court held that Plaintiff was precluded from pursuing his right to appellate review because he failed to comply with the dictates of Rule 16(a) of the Supreme Court Rules of Appellate Procedure in his appellate brief in this case. View "Terzian v. Lombardi" on Justia Law

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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 and BIPCO ratepayers - filed a motion seeking to enjoin the closing of sale of two-thirds of the shares of BIPCO by the New Shoreham town council. The superior court granted the Town’s motion to dismiss, concluding that Plaintiffs violated Rules 8 and 19 of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure and that the superior court did not have subject-matter jurisdiction to hear the dispute. The stock sale subsequently closed. Plaintiffs appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that Plaintiffs lacked standing to bring this action. View "Warfel v. Town of New Shoreham" on Justia Law