Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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R.I. Gen. Laws 10-6-2 means that the release of the master from liability also releases the servant. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment for Defendants in this negligence case filed against two nurses. Plaintiff’s complaint was nearly identical to the one she had brought against Tavares Pediatric Center and later settled. In their motion for summary judgment, Defendants argued that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by R.I. Gen. Laws 10-6-2, which provides “that a master and servant or principal and agent shall be considered a single tortfeasor.” Specifically, Defendants maintained that because they and Tavares stood in a master-servant relationship, they should be considered a single tortfeasor and thus released from liability pursuant to Plaintiff’s release of Tavares from liability. The trial justice agreed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 10-6-2 foreclosed Plaintiff’s claims in this case. View "Hall v. Hornby" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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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

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Adam Correia was seriously injured after he and Edward Alexander went target shooting and Alexander accidentally shot Correia in the abdomen. Correia brought five claims against John and Theresa Bettencourt, the owners of the property where the accidental shooting occurred. At issue was whether John Bettencourt had a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect Correia from the negligence of a third party, Alexander. The superior court granted summary judgment to the Bettencourts on all counts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that no material facts were at issue in this case and that the facts presented did not give rise to the imposition of a duty upon Bettencourt. View "Correia v. Bettencourt" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiff, who was injured while rendering roadside aid as a Good Samaritan, was “occupying” the insured vehicle for purposes of underinsured motorist (UM) coverage and was therefore entitled to recover under the terms of a GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. policy. Plaintiff was a passenger in a Saab driven by Gregory Hurst when the two witnessed an automobile collision. Plaintiff exited the Saab and was attempting to render assistance when she was struck by another car. Plaintiff settled a claim against the driver of the vehicle that hit her but claimed that she was not fully compensated for her injuries. Consequently, Plaintiff filed a claim with GEICO (Defendant) seeking relief through Hurst’s GEICO policy that insured the Saab. Defendant denied the claim on the ground that Plaintiff was not “occupying” the insured vehicle at the time of her injuries. Plaintiff then filed this action. The trial justice agreed with Defendant, concluding that Plaintiff could not recover UM benefits under the terms of the GEICO policy. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court, holding that Plaintiff was entitled to recover under the terms of the policy. View "Hudson v. GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff slipped on a patch of black ice in the paved parking area adjacent to his apartment building, which was owned by Defendant. Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant, alleging that Defendant negligently maintained the premises and that Defendant’s negligence was the direct and proximate cause of Plaintiff’s shoulder injury. At the close of Plaintiff’s case, Defendant moved for judgment as a matter of law. Before sending the case to the jury, the trial justice granted Defendant’s motion. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court, holding that the trial justice erred because there was enough evidence to send the case to the jury. View "Aubin v. MAG Realty, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant alleging that she was injured after falling through a defective stair and that Defendant was negligent in that he had breached his duty to keep the premises in a safe and reasonable manner. The hearing justice granted summary judgment for Defendant, finding that Plaintiff had failed to provide any competent evidence that would tend to show that Defendant was negligent. The Supreme court affirmed, holding that no genuine issues of material fact existed and that the hearing justice properly granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s complaint. View "Cooley v. Kelly" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiff, the executrix of the estate of the decedent, brought a declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that the estate was entitled to underinsured motorist coverage under a policy issued by Quincy Mutual policy. The motion justice determined that the decedent was “occupying” his owned-but-not-insured motorcycle at the time of his fatal injury, and therefore, an exclusion of the policy applied. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that summary judgment was inappropriate because the decedent was separated from his motorcycle at the time of his death and, therefore, was not occupying the motorcycle as that term was defined in the Quincy Mutual policy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to what impact caused the decedent’s fatal injuries and the time or distance between them, precluding summary judgment. View "Jackson v. Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff slipped and fell while she was working as a contract nurse at the Rhode Island Veterans Home. Plaintiff brought suit against the State. After a trial, the jury awarded Plaintiff $500,000. The trial justice granted the State a remittitur, lessening Plaintiff’s award to $382,000. The prejudgment interest award, however, increased the judgment to $631,373.66. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial justice did not err in finding the the public-duty doctrine inapplicable; (2) the trial justice correctly rejected the application of the statutory tort cap in R.I. Gen. Laws 9-31-2; (3) the prejudgment interest award was not erroneous; (4) the trial justice properly denied the State’s motion for judgment as a matter of law; and (5) the State’s argument that the trial justice erred in failing to instruct the jury on comparative negligence was not preserved for review. View "Roach v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiff Stephen Limoges claimed that he suffered significant pulmonary injuries in a chemical spill. Plaintiffs brought suit against three different entities, including Arden Engineering Constructors, LLC, alleging, inter alia, that they were individually and collectively responsible for Plaintiff’s injuries. Arden filed a motion for summary judgment, which the hearing justice granted. Plaintiffs appealed, arguing that that the hearing justice made an improper credibility assessment about the affidavit of their expert and because he overlooked material issues of fact that were in dispute. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court, holding that Plaintiffs’ expert’s affidavit, combined with the documents that were available to the hearing justice, raised a material question of fact as to whether Arden was responsible for Plaintiff’s injury. View "Limoges v. Nalco Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiff filed a negligence suit against Defendant after falling and sustaining injuries while on Defendant’s property. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict in Plaintiff’s favor, finding Defendant to be sixty-five percent negligent. Defendant filed motions for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial. The trial justice granted both motions, concluding that the elements of Plaintiff’s negligence claim had not been established by the evidence adduced at trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the evidence adduced at trial did not support a verdict in Plaintiff’s favor. View "Lemont v. Estate of Mary Della Ventura" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury