Articles Posted in Commercial Law

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Because Property Owner failed to pay real estate taxes on his property, the Town held a tax sale of Property Owner's property. Buyer purchased the property after Property Owner defaulted on the action. The superior court subsequently granted Buyer's petition to foreclose Property Owner's right of redemption to the property. Subsequently, a judgment was entered declaring the prior tax sale void and vesting the property back to Property Owner. Property Owner then executed a warranty deed conveying the property to his Sister. Concurrently, a stipulation was entered as an order of the superior court vesting title in the property to Buyer. Thereafter, Property Owner and Sister filed the instant action, seeking a declaratory judgment invalidating the stipulation order. The superior court determined that Buyer was the proper record title holder of the property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a superior court judgment cannot "re-vest" title to property back to a prior owner once that owner has been defaulted in a petition to foreclose his right of redemption and a final decree has been entered. View "Medeiros v. Bankers Trust Co." on Justia Law

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When Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island (NHP), a not-for-profit corporation that operated a licensed health maintenance organization that provided health insurance coverage to its enrollees, began reimbursing ophthalmologists at a higher rate than the rate paid to optometrists for performing the same services, two optometrists brought an action on behalf of all optometrists who had entered into participating provider agreements with NHP during the period that the differential reimbursement policy was in effect, contending that this differential reimbursement violated state law. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of NHP, reasoning that the antidiscrimination provision in R.I. Gen. Laws 5-35-21.1(b) applied only to expenditures of public funds and that NHP did not violate the statute because NHP paid for the ophthalmologists' services using private money. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the statute at issue was not ambiguous; and (2) the motion justice did not err in concluding that NHP is not an agency or department of the state and cannot otherwise be considered a state actor. View "Drs. Pass and Bertherman, Inc. v. Neighborhood Health Plan of R.I." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Harodite Industries filed a complaint against defendant Warren Electric for negligence and other causes of action, seeking damages for the failure of a gasket in the oil pre-heater that Harodite purchased from defendant. After conducting discovery, Harodite filed a motion to amend its complaint. The hearing justice denied Harodite's motion. Plaintiff then filed a motion for a stay pending a ruling on the petition for writ of certiorari it intended to file with the Supreme Court. Defendant objected to the motion, arguing that the court should apply a Massachusetts statute of limitations to plaintiff's proposed amended complaint. The hearing justice held that Rhode Island's ten-year statute of limitations should apply and granted Harodite's motion for a stay. The Supreme Court affirmed the rulings of the superior court, holding (1) the hearing justice did not abuse her discretion in denying Harodite's motion to amend its complaint; and (2) the hearing justice correctly determined that Rhode Island's statute of limitations would be the relevant statute of limitations with respect to the allegations set forth in Harodite's proposed amended complaint, and therefore, those allegations would not be barred by the statute of limitations. View "Harodite Industries, Inc. v. Warren Electric Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Kathy Lamarque executed a mortgage with defendant Centreville Savings Bank. After defaulting on another loan for a second mortgage on the same property, defendant disclosed the balance of plaintiff's mortgage to the purchaser of plaintiff's property at a foreclosure sale. Plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant for negligence and a violation of plaintiff's privacy rights. At trial, defendant moved for a judgment on partial findings, which the trial court granted. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that her right to privacy was violated by defendant and that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and defendant's privacy policy created a legal duty to protect private information from disclosure. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that under the facts of the case, plaintiff's privacy rights were not violated and defendant did not breach its duty to plaintiff. View "Lamarque v. Centreville Savings Bank" on Justia Law

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Citizens Bank filed a complaint against Howard Issler, seeking to recover funds allegedly owned to the bank in connection with a line of credit that the bank had extended to him. After judgment was entered against Howard and execution was returned unsatisfied, Citizens filed for a writ of attachment. Kymberly Issler, who had a joint account with Howard, then intervened in the civil action, objecting to the attachment and to the release of any funds to Citizens. A hearing officer granted the attachment. Citizens then filed a motion to charge garnishee to reach funds in the personal account. After a hearing, an order was entered granting Citizens' motion to charge garnishee and denying Kymberly's objection to the attachment of funds. The Supreme Court affirmed, concluding that, according to precedent, a bank has a right to use funds in a joint account to set off the debt of one account holder, regardless of whether that holder contributed any funds to the account. The Court then held that Citizens had a right to set off Howard's debt with the funds in the joint account to which he and Kymberly were signatories. View "RBS Citizens Bank, N.A. v. Issler" on Justia Law