Articles Posted in Rhode Island Supreme Court

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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

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Michael Beagan was terminated from his employment with Albert Kemperle, Inc. after his manager discovered a disparaging post Beagan had made about him on Facebook. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) denied Beagan’s application for unemployment benefits, finding that he had been discharged for “disqualifying reasons” under R.I. Gen. Laws 28-44-18. The district court affirmed the DLT’s decision. The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the district court and remanded with directions to award Beagan unemployment benefits, holding that no legally competent evidence existed that Beagan’s Facebook post was connected to his work in the manner contemplated by section 28-44-18, and therefore, there was no legally competent evidence to support a finding that Beagan was ineligible for unemployment benefits. View "Beagan v. Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training, Board of Review" on Justia Law

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The Preservation Society of Newport County and Newport Catering, Inc. (together, Petitioners) filed two applications for victualing licenses, proposing to sell pre-wrapped food prepared off-site, along with snacks and nonalcoholic drinks, at two historic mansions in the City of Newport. The City Council of the City of Newport (Respondent) denied the applications. Petitioners appealed, arguing that the Council exceeded its jurisdiction and applied inappropriate criteria in denying the victualing licenses. The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the Council and directed the Council to issue the licenses forthwith, absent any compelling evidence of significant health and/or safety issues, holding that the Council failed to provide factual findings and legal grounds to support its decision denying Petitioners’ applications for victualing licenses. View "Preservation Society of Newport County v. City Council of the City of Newport" on Justia Law

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This case arose from the Preservation Society of Newport County’s (the Society) application for the construction of a Welcome Center near the entrance of a well-known Newport mansion. Bellevue-Ochre Point Neighborhood Association (BOPNA) initiated a declaratory judgment action seeking various declarations that the Welcome Center was prohibited under the City of Newport Zoning Ordinance. The Society filed a motion to dismiss. The hearing justice granted the motion, concluding that the issues presented in the complaint were within the jurisdiction of Newport zoning officials to determine and were inappropriate for a declaratory judgment action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the hearing justice correctly determined that the issues raised in BOPNA’s complaint were within the zoning board’s authority and jurisdiction and were therefore inappropriate for resolution in an action seeking declaratory judgment. View "Bellevue-Ochre Point Neighborhood Ass’n v. Preservation Society of Newport County" on Justia Law