Articles Posted in Contracts

by
The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court in favor of Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (Resource Recovery) in the amount of $5,733,648.18, inclusive of interest, on Resource Recovery’s claims of professional malpractice and breach of contract, holding that the trial justice erred in failing to grant Restivo Monacelli LLP’s (Restivo) motion for judgment as a matter of law. Although Restivo raised numerous contentions as to alleged error by the trial justice, the Supreme Judicial Court on appeal focused its inquiry only on Restivo’s contention that the trial justice erred in denying its motion for judgment as a matter of law because expert testimony with respect to proximate cause was required but was not presented by Resource Recovery. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed with Restivo, holding that expert testimony on the issue of proximate cause was required in this case, and Resource Recovery did not provide the required expert testimony as to proximate cause. View "Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. v. Restivo Monacelli LLP" on Justia Law

by
In this property dispute, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Plaintiffs’ claims in whole and denying Defendants’ request for attorneys’ fees. When Defendants fenced the confines of an easement that was created by a settlement agreement and consent order entered by the superior court, Plaintiffs filed suit claiming that Defendants’ actions frustrated what they contended was the intended purpose of the consent order. The trial justice denied relief as to all of Plaintiffs’ claims. At a subsequent hearing, the trial justice denied Defendants an award of attorneys’ fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no abuse of discretion in the trial justice’s rulings. View "Arnold v. Arnold" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying the motion brought by Plaintiff, SMS Financial XXV, LLC, for summary judgment and granting the cross-motion for summary judgment brought by Defendants, David Corsetti and 385 South Main Street, LLC, on Plaintiff’s suit alleging that Defendants breached the terms of a promissory note. In the cross-motion for summary judgment, Defendants asserted that Plaintiff was unable to enforce or collect upon the note because the note had been lost. The hearing justice granted Defendants’ cross-motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) under the plain language of R.I. Gen. Laws 6A-3-309(a) Plaintiff was not entitled to enforce the note because the note was in the possession of the original holder of the note when it was lost, not Plaintiff, to whom the original holder assigned its interest; and (2) pursuant to the statute, Plaintiff was not entitled to enforce the note’s provision mandating that Defendants issue a replacement note. View "SMS Financial XXV, LLC v. Corsetti" on Justia Law

by
The arbitrator in this case did not manifestly disregard the law or the provisions of the employment agreement at issue when he awarded Defendant extended severance payments based on his finding that Defendant had been the subject of a “de facto termination.” Defendant, the former vice president and chief financial officer of CharterCAREHealth Partners (Plaintiff), invoked the “de facto termination” provision of the parties' employment agreement and requested extended severance, contending that he had suffered a material reduction in his duties and authorities as a result of change in “effective control.” Defendant’s request was denied based on the assessment that he had suffered no material reduction in duties. Defendant filed a demand for arbitration seeking to be awarded extended severance benefits pursuant to the de facto termination provision of the employment agreement. The arbitrator determined that Defendant was entitled to the eighteen-month severance proscribed in the agreement’s de facto termination clause. Plaintiff filed a petition to vacate the arbitration award. The superior court denied the motion to vacate and granted Defendant’ motion to confirm the arbitration award. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was nothing in the record to support Plaintiff’s contention that the arbitrator exceeded his powers or manifestly disregarded the law or the contract. View "Prospect CharterCARE, LLC v. Conklin" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court vacated in part and affirmed in part the Supreme Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants - the Town of Scituate and others - on Plaintiff’s claims alleging breach of a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Specifically, Plaintiff alleged promissory estoppel and breach of contract, breach of confidentiality, tortious interference with a contract, and fraudulent misrepresentation. The trial justice granted summary judgment for Defendants, finding, among other things, that the MOU was not a binding agreement. The Supreme Court vacated the portion of the judgment granting summary judgment on Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim and otherwise affirmed, holding that the facts presented established that a contract was formed. View "Coccoli v. Town of Scituate Town Council" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of the Dunn’s Corners Fire District on its complaint seeking a declaration that it was not obligated to provide fire protection services to certain property located in the Village of Bradford in the town of Westerly, Rhode Island. Dunn’s Corners was a party to a contract that required Westerly Ambulance Corps, also a defendant in this case, to dispatch Dunn’s Corners to sites and locations situated within the Bradford Fire District. The hearing justice granted Dunn’s Corners’ motion for summary judgment, finding that the subject property lay outside of the Bradford Fire District. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant’s argument that a declaratory judgment should not have issued because the Bradford Fire District was not a party to the action lacked merit; and (2) because Appellant conceded at oral argument that the subject property was not currently situated within any fire district, Appellant’s second argument that there remained a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the property was located within the Bradford Fire District was without merit. View "Dunn’s Corners Fire District v. Westerly Ambulance Corps" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

by
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment for Defendant, Price Rite, on count one of Plaintiff’s complaint and also granting Defendant’s motion to dismiss the remaining four counts. Plaintiff slipped and fell on liquid in an aisle of a store owned by Defendant. Plaintiff’s amended complaint alleged negligence, breach of contract, mode of operation, failure to warn, and breach of the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for use, and fitness for a particular purpose. The court granted summary judgment on the negligence count and dismissed the remaining counts. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment on Plaintiff’s negligence claim and affirmed the dismissal of the remaining counts, holding (1) Plaintiff satisfied her burden of producing competent evidence that proved the existence of a disputed issue of material fact with respect to Defendant’s safety procedures or lack thereof, (2) the trial judge impermissibly weighed the evidence in his decision granting summary judgment, and (3) there is no requirement at the summary judgment stage for a plaintiff to produce direct evidence of how long a spill has existed on a floor. View "Dent v. PRRC, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of West Davisville Realty Co., LLC (West Davisville) holding David Paolo liable on a personal guaranty of a termination of lease agreement between West Davisville and Alpha Nutrition, Inc. (Alpha). West Davisville filed a complaint against Alpha and Paolo alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The hearing justice granted West Davisville’s motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) any attempt by Paolo to point to purported evidence that West Davisville fraudulently induced Paolo to personally guarantee the agreements was not relevant in this appeal; and (2) the personal guaranty was valid because the underlying termination agreement was supported by consideration. View "West Davisville Realty Co. v. Alpha Nutrition, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

by
Plaintiffs claimed that the sale of property without their consent to an entity of which Defendants were principals, was fraudulent. Plaintiffs also named as a defendant the title insurance and escrow agent in connection with the sale of the property. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in part and vacated it in part, holding (1) the hearing justice erred in determining that there was no factual issue regarding damages, and summary judgment is vacated as to the individual defendants to the extent that Plaintiffs may show damages for lost profits sustained in their individual capacities only; (2) the superior court properly granted summary judgment for the individual defendants as to Plaintiffs’ tortious interference with a contractual relationship claims, intentional interference with prospective contractual relations claims, breach of contract claims, fraud claims, and civil conspiracy claims; and (3) the judgment is affirmed in favor of the title company in all respects. View "Fogarty v. Palumbo" on Justia Law

by
In this commercial property dispute between a landlord, Roadepot, LLC and Keyserton, LLC (collectively, Roadepot), and a tenant, Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc., regarding sewer assessment charges, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part judgments of the superior court. The Supreme Court held that the superior court (1) properly granted partial summary judgment in favor of Home Depot obligating Roadepot to pay the disputed sewer assessment charges; (2) the superior court erred in requiring Roadepot to reimburse Home Depot for sewer assessment charges paid by Home Depot before September 17, 2009; and (3) did not err in limiting Home Depot’s request for prejudgment interest and denying its claim for late fees on the sewer assessment charges. View "Roadepot, LLC et al. v. Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc." on Justia Law