Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Rhode Island Supreme Court
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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

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The City of Newport’s Utility Department, Water Division (Newport Water) filed a rate application with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) requesting a revenue increase. The PUC issued an order in docket No. 3818 ordering that money Newport Water owed to the City be paid back to the City under certain conditions. Newport Water subsequently filed another application for a rate increase - docket No. 4025. The PUC issued an order concluding that Newport Water had commenced the required repayment of its debt owed to the City. Portsmouth Water and Fire District (Portsmouth) petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court vacated the PUC’s order, concluding that the PUC order failed to enforce the order in docket No. 3818, and remanded to the PUC with directions to make more specific findings of fact to support the PUC’s conclusion that Newport Water complied with the order in docket No. 3818. This appeal concerned the PUC’s order on remand. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the PUC’s order in regard to its definition, identification, and quantification of “efficiencies” as it relates to the order in docket No. 3818; and (2) vacated the PUC’s order to the extent it allowed Newport Water to use $191,997 in excess revenues to pay down its debt to the City. View "Portsmouth Water and Fire District v. Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, after more than fifteen years of service in the City of Providence Police Department, was injured while on duty. The Department concluded that Petitioner’s injury interfered with her ability to handle a firearm. Later that month, Petitioner applied to the City of Providence Retirement Board for accidental-disability retirement. The Board voted to deny Petitioner’s application, finding that Petitioner’s condition was correctable with surgery and that Petitioner failed to mitigate her injury by undergoing surgery. The Supreme Court quashed the Board’s decision, holding that the Providence Code of Ordinances does not require an otherwise eligible employee to mitigate her injury by undergoing a surgical procedure in order to qualify for an accidental-disability pension. Remanded. View "Prew v. Employee Ret. Sys. of City of Providence" on Justia Law

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An East Providence zoning officer issued a notice of violation, finding violations of a use variance that was granted in 1998 to the owner and operator of a construction and demolition debris processing facility known as Pond View Recycling. The East Providence Zoning Board of Review upheld the notice of violation. The owner and operator of Pond View appealed. The superior court reversed, concluding that the zoning board’s decision was “clearly erroneous and made upon unlawful procedure.” The City of East Providence and the zoning board sought review. The Supreme Court quashed the judgment of the superior court and remanded the case with instructions to enter judgment for the City, holding that the zoning board’s findings of fact were not clearly erroneous, and therefore, the trial justice erred by reversing the decision of the zoning board. View "Kenlin Props., LLC v. City of East Providence" on Justia Law