Articles Posted in Rhode Island Supreme Court

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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 dismissed this appeal brought by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the State, holding that an appeal from a final judgment of the superior court brought under R.I. Gen. Laws 42-17-.1-2(21) must proceed by way of a petition for a writ of certiorari. The DEM commenced this action against Defendants seeking injunctive relief to enforce a compliance order that Defendants remediate certain property. The DEM also sought enforcement of is administrative penalty, arguing that its authority to do so arose from section 42-17-.1-2(21). DEM subsequently released Defendants from the remediation requirement but continued to seek enforcement of the administrative penalty. The trial justice concluded that DEM could not enforce an administrative penalty in the context of an action for injunctive relief. The DEM filed a notice of appeal. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the appeal was not properly before the Court. View "Coit v. Coccoli" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court denying Petitioner’s application for postconviction relief, in which he alleged that his constitutional rights were violated when his parole was revoked and he was denied the possibility of parole in the future. After Petitioner was granted parole, he was arrested in Pennsylvania and convicted of one count of aggravated assault. In 1994, while Petitioner was serving his sentence in Pennsylvania, the Rhode Island Parole Board voted to revoke Petitioner’s parole and indicated that he would no longer be eligible for parole. Upon completion of his prison term in Pennsylvania, Petitioner, in 2014, appeared again before the Parole Board. The Parole Board affirmed the revocation of Petitioner’s parole and stated that Petitioner would forever remain ineligible for parole consideration. The Supreme Court held that it was error for the Parole Board to have denied Petitioner counsel at the 1994 hearing and the 2014 hearing and remanded the case with instructions that the superior court remand this case to the Parole Board to conduct a new parole revocation hearing. View "Jefferson v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court quashed the judgment of the superior court that reversed a decision by the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) to grant Petitioner’s application for a Health Care Certificate of Need (CON) on the basis that Petitioner’s application did not demonstrate a public need. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the DOH correctly applied its rules and regulations when it determined that the public need set forth in Petitioner’s application was appropriate; and (2) the DOH relied upon competent evidence for future public need in support of its decision to grant Petitioner’s CON application. View "Endoscopy Associates, Inc. v. Rhode Island Department of Health" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether Plaintiffs, a group of taxpayers in the Town of Portsmouth, were required to base their tax appeals on the fair market value of their properties as of December 31 in the year of the last update or revaluation. The value of Plaintiffs’ properties decreased in 2008 and 2009. The trial justice found that Plaintiffs could challenge the Portsmouth tax assessor’s (Defendant) tax assessments for tax years 2009 and 2010 using the fair market values of their properties as of December 31, 2008 and December 31, 2009, respectively, thus concluding that Plaintiffs were not confined to December 31, 2007 valuations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs were authorized under chapter 5 of title 44 of the Rhode Island General Laws to challenge Defendant’s assessments for tax years 2009 and 2010 by employing the fair market values of their properties as of December 31, 2008 and December 31, 2009, respectively. View "Balmuth v. Dolce" on Justia Law

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The trial justice erred by requiring Defendants to continue to provide accidental disability pension benefits to Plaintiff and to place him on a waiting list to return to his position at the Providence Fire Department under section 17-189(8)(a) of the Providence Code of Ordinances. Rejecting the claim of Defendants - the City of Providence and the Retirement Board of the Employees Retirement System of the City of Providence - that Plaintiff could not return to work after an injury due to his other illnesses, the trial justice concluded that section 17-189(8)(a) required the Board to place Plaintiff on a waiting list for an opening in the fire department and, until Plaintiff was reappointed, and the City to continue to pay him accidental disability pension benefits. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, under the clear and unambiguous language of the ordinance, the Board could not properly have placed Plaintiff on a list of candidates who were prepared to return to work, and the City was not required to pay indefinite accidental disability pension benefits to Plaintiff - a person who was no longer accidentally disabled but was otherwise unable to return to duty. View "Sauro v. Lombardi" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court determining that Plaintiff need not comply with R.I. Gen. Laws 45-21-23 and 45-21-24 in order to continue receiving his accidental disability pension because those sections were not applicable to his situation. Plaintiff suffered a debilitating injury while performing his duties as a police officer and was granted an accidental disability pension. The Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiff was subject to sections 45-21-23 and 45-21-24; and (2) Plaintiff may be required to undergo an independent medical examination on occasion at the direction of the Retirement Board and to submit such financial information as may be requested in accordance with section 45-21-24. View "Grasso v. Raimondo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court determining that Plaintiff need not comply with R.I. Gen. Laws 45-21-23 and 45-21-24 in order to continue receiving his accidental disability pension because those sections were not applicable to his situation. Plaintiff suffered a debilitating injury while performing his duties as a police officer and was granted an accidental disability pension. The Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiff was subject to sections 45-21-23 and 45-21-24; and (2) Plaintiff may be required to undergo an independent medical examination on occasion at the direction of the Retirement Board and to submit such financial information as may be requested in accordance with section 45-21-24. View "Grasso v. Raimondo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court quashed the decision of Respondent, the Chief of Police for the City of East Providence, denying Petitioner’s application for a permit or license to carry a concealed weapon and directed Respondent to issue a new decision setting forth findings of fact and conclusions of law in conformity with the Supreme Court’s holding in Gadomski v. Tavares, 113 A.3d 387 (R.I. 2015). Petitioner filed a petition for the issuance of a writ of certiorari, arguing that the nature of Respondent’s decision letter lacked the findings of fact and conclusions of law required pursuant to Gadomski. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that Respondent’s decision letter fell short of the court’s clear directive in Gadomski. View "Paiva v. Parella" on Justia Law

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At issue was a decision of the Retirement Board of the Employees’ Retirement System of the City of Providence (City) to reduce the pension benefits of Frank Corrente after he was convicted of six felony counts in a federal district court. Specifically, the Board revoked a portion of Corrente’s pension benefits and ordered him to return a portion of the benefits that he had received. This appeal concerned three appeals - one by Corrente, another by intervenors the City Mayor and the City, and the third by the Board. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court, holding (1) the trial justice did not err in finding that the intervenors satisfied the requirements to intervene under Rule 24(a) of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure; (2) the trial justice appropriately applied the standard of review set forth in the Administrative Procedures Act; (3) the Board’s decision to reduce, rather than revoke, Corrente’s pension benefits was not arbitrary, capricious, or affected by other errors or law; and (4) the trial justice did not err in confirming the retirement board’s decision to deny Corrente’s request for a tax credit on pension benefits that he had received but was required to return to the Board. View "Retirement Board of the Employees’ Retirement System of City of Providence v. Corrente" on Justia Law