Justia Rhode Island Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Consumer Law
Commerce Park Realty, LLC,v. HR2-A Corp.
In this case involving complex and protracted litigation regarding multiple high-interest loans between commercial borrowers and lenders the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting partial summary judgment in favor of the partnership plaintiffs and the Cambio plaintiffs, holding that there was no error.The superior court's grant of partial summary judgment primarily determined that a series of loans made by the RFP defendants was usurious and null and void. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the accrual of interest at rates in excess of twenty-one percent per annum is deemed usurious under the usury law; (2) the release and waiver of claims provision contained in a forbearance agreement did not fall within the category of cases in which the Supreme Court will permit a debtor's release of a usury claim; and (3) the remaining allegations of error were unavailing. View "Commerce Park Realty, LLC,v. HR2-A Corp." on Justia Law
Posted in: Consumer Law
Commerce Park Realty, LLC v. HR2-A Corp.
In this case involving complex litigation surrounding usurious loans between commercial borrowers and letters the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs, holding that there was no error.In the first appeal, the RFP defendants appealed from the grant of partial summary judgment in favor of the receivership plaintiffs and the Cambio plaintiffs. The summary judgment declared that a series of loans made by the RFP defendants were usurious and null and void. The Supreme Court affirmed. In the second appeal, addressed in this opinion, the Cambio plaintiffs cross-appealed seeking review of secondary determinations made by the superior court. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial justice correctly granted summary judgment in favor of the RFP defendants on the Cambio plaintiffs' disgorgement claims; (2) the trial justice correctly ruled that the Cambio plaintiffs were not entitled to seek punitive damages against the RFP defendants under the usury statute; (3) the trial justice made correct rulings on certain stayed counts; and (4) the Cambio plaintiffs' claims under R.I. Gen. Laws 9-1-2 were barred by the ten-year statute of limitations set forth in R.I. Gen. Laws 9-1-13(a). View "Commerce Park Realty, LLC v. HR2-A Corp." on Justia Law
Posted in: Consumer Law
Midland Funding LLC v. Raposo
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff, Midland Funding, LLC, in these consolidated credit card debt collection appeals, holding that Defendant failed to set forth facts that established a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the credit card accounts were in fact her accounts.The complaints in this case sought to recover the unpaid balance due on two credit card accounts. The district court granted summary judgment for Plaintiff in both cases. On appeal, Defendant argued that there existed an issue of fact as to the ownership of the accounts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the evidence was insufficient to give rise to a genuine issue of material fact. View "Midland Funding LLC v. Raposo" on Justia Law
Posted in: Consumer Law, Contracts
Cranston Police Retirees Action Committee v. City of Cranston
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 were enrolled in the City's pension plan the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court finding in favor of Defendants, holding that the superior court did not err in its judgment.The Cranston Police Retirees Action Committee (Plaintiff) brought this action against the City, Mayor Allan Fung, and members of the Cranston City Council (collectively, Defendants) alleging claims ranging from constitutional violations to statutory infringements. A superior court justice found in favor of Defendants on all counts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the superior court justice did not err by (1) finding that the ordinances did not violate the Contract Clauses of the United States and Rhode Island Constitutions; (2) applying the burden of proof in the Contract Clause analysis; (3) applying expert testimony; (4) granting summary judgment for the City as to Takings Clause, res judicata, and Rhode Island Open Meetings Act claims; and (5) ruling on an assortment of motions and in her findings of fact and conclusions of law. View "Cranston Police Retirees Action Committee v. City of Cranston" on Justia Law
Posted in: Consumer Law, Contracts, Labor & Employment Law
CACH, LLC v. Potter
Defendant was in debt under a credit card account that he opened and maintained with Bank of America, N.A. Bank of America assigned the right to collect the debt to CACH, LLC, and CACH filed a complaint seeking to recover $10,288.04 from Defendant. After CACH filed a motion for summary judgment, Defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to the arbitration provision of the Cardholder Agreement entered into between Defendant and Bank of America. The hearing justice denied Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration because he had failed to raise a right to arbitrate as an affirmative defense in his answer. The justice then granted summary judgment in favor of CACH. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the hearing justice did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration; and (2) the superior court did not err in granting CACH’s motion for summary judgment. View "CACH, LLC v. Potter" on Justia Law
Posted in: Arbitration & Mediation, Consumer Law
NV One, LLC v. Potomac Realty Capital, LLC
Plaintiffs entered into a loan agreement with Potomac Realty Capital LLC (PRC) to rehabilitate and renovate certain property. As security for the loan, NV One granted a mortgage on the property. Plaintiffs later filed a complaint against PRC, asserting violations of the Rhode Island usury law, among other claims. The trial justice granted summary judgment to Plaintiffs with respect to the usury claim, entered an order declaring the loan usurious and void, and voided the mortgage. At issue on appeal was whether a usury savings clause in the loan document validated the otherwise usurious contract. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on their usury claim because (1) the loan was a usury; and (2) the usury savings clause was unenforceable on public policy grounds.View "NV One, LLC v. Potomac Realty Capital, LLC" on Justia Law
Posted in: Banking, Constitutional Law, Consumer Law, Contracts, Real Estate Law
Long v. Dell, Inc.
Plaintiffs, Nicholas Long and Julianne Ricci, purchased Dell computers in late 2000. In 2003, Plaintiffs filed this putative class action lawsuit alleging that Dell violated the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DPTA) and was negligent in charging Plaintiffs sales tax on nontaxable services purchased in conjunction with the computers. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of Dell. The case remained pending for more than ten years. Here, the Supreme Court (1) affirmed the grant of summary judgment on the negligence count and on the request for injunctive relief by Long; (2) vacated the grant of summary judgment on the DTPA count by Ricci; and (3) affirmed the superior court’s grant of Plaintiffs’ motion to strike the tax administrator’s affirmative defenses. Remanded. View "Long v. Dell, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Consumer Law, Injury Law
Medeiros v. Bankers Trust Co.
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
Lamarque v. Centreville Savings Bank
RBS Citizens Bank, N.A. v. Issler
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
Posted in: Commercial Law, Consumer Law, Rhode Island Supreme Court