Justia Contracts Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Rhode Island Supreme Court
EDC Investment, LLC v. UTGR, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court granting a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant and dismissed this complaint alleging, among other things, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, holding that the complaint was properly dismissed.In 2000, Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a lease agreement whereby Plaintiff rented space from Defendant. In 2011, the parties entered into a termination of lease and release agreement providing Plaintiff with a buyout. Plaintiff later brought this action. Defendant want moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that Plaintiff released all claims against Defendant in a release. The hearing justice granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the hearing justice did not err in dismissing Plaintiff's claims of breach of fiduciary duty and breaches of contract and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. View "EDC Investment, LLC v. UTGR, Inc." on Justia Law
Loffredo v. Shapiro
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants on all eight counts set forth in Plaintiffs' third amended complaint, holding that the hearing justice correctly granted summary judgment with respect to all counts except count eight.Plaintiffs filed a complaint containing counts sounding in, inter alia, breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and tortious interference with contractual relations. The hearing justice granted summary judgment against Plaintiffs on all counts, commenting that Plaintiffs' complaint was an attempt to circumvent the Statute of Frauds. The Supreme Court vacated in part, holding (1) the hearing justice erred in granting summary judgment on count eight since there were issues of material fact that precluded summary judgment; and (2) the judgment was otherwise without error. View "Loffredo v. Shapiro" on Justia Law
EdgengG (Private), Ltd. v. Fiberglass Fabricators, Inc.
In this commercial dispute, the Supreme Court affirmed the final judgment of the superior court in favor of Defendants based on Plaintiffs' failure to comply with orders to provide discovery, holding that there was no error.The parties in this case executed a contract providing that Defendants would sell finished fiberglass products manufactured by Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs later filed a complaint alleging that Defendants had failed to pay upon delivery of goods and that Defendants conspired to deprive Plaintiffs of profits and sales commission. The trial justice eventually granted Defendants' motion for entry of final judgment, referencing Plaintiffs' failure timely to respond to discovery requests and their failure to comply with superior court orders. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial justice did not abuse his discretion when he dismissed Plaintiffs' complaint and entered judgment in favor of Defendants. View "EdgengG (Private), Ltd. v. Fiberglass Fabricators, Inc." on Justia Law
Houle v. Liberty Insurance Corp.
The Supreme Court vacated the order of the superior court granting the motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by Defendant in this insurance dispute, holding that the grant of judgment on the pleadings for Defendant was erroneous.The roof at Plaintiffs' home collapsed due to accumulating ice and snow. The property was insured through a policy issued by Defendant. Plaintiffs invoked the appraisal provision of the policy and later brought a second amended complaint alleging that Defendant had breached the terms of the policy by not performing a complete investigation and had acted in bad faith in the handling of their claim. The motion justice granted Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that Plaintiffs could not maintain an action for breach of contract against Defendant. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment below, holding that the allegations, as pled, could support a claim for breach of contract or breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. View "Houle v. Liberty Insurance Corp." on Justia Law
Webster Bank, National Ass’n v. Rosenbaum
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Defendants' motion for summary judgment and granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff, Webster Bank, National Association, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.Plaintiff brought this action for breach of a loan agreement. In the superior court Defendants claimed that the Connecticut statute of limitations should apply because the parties agreed that Connecticut law would govern the loan agreement. The court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff. On appeal, Defendants argued that the trial justice erred in applying Rhode Island's ten-year statute of limitations to Plaintiff's claim instead of Connecticut's six-year statute of limitations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Rhode Island law controlled in this case. View "Webster Bank, National Ass'n v. Rosenbaum" on Justia Law
Saint Elizabeth Home v. Gorham
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court in favor of Plaintiff, Saint Elizabeth Home, and against Defendant, Rebecca Gorham, holding that there was no error.Defendant's mother was admitted to Saint Elizabeth's Home. Three days later, Defendant, acting as her mother's representative, entered into an admission agreement with Plaintiff, agreeing to be personally liable to Plaintiff for all amounts due from her mother. Plaintiff later brought this action alleging breach of the terms of the agreement. The hearing justice granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the hearing justice properly granted summary judgment for Plaintiff. View "Saint Elizabeth Home v. Gorham" on Justia Law
Eddy v. Pascoag Fire District
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court in favor of Pascoag Fire District and Pascoag Fire and Rescue Association (the district) and International Association of Firefighters, Local 4908 (the union) (collectively, Defendants) in this action alleging breach of duty of fair representation and breach of contract, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff, a trained firefighter and emergency medical technician who worked for the district, brought this action after he was terminated based on his conduct and performance during a rescue run. Plaintiff began the grievance process between the district and the union, but the union informed Plaintiff that it had decided not to seek arbitration for his grievance. Plaintiff then brought this complaint. The trial court granted judgment in favor of Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no error in the trial justice's grant of summary judgment. View "Eddy v. Pascoag Fire District" on Justia Law
Terrapin Development, LLC v. Irene M. O’Malley Revocable Trust
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Plaintiff's claim for specific performance of a purchase and sale agreement (PSA) in favor of Defendants - Irene M. O'Malley Revocable Trust and John Brady, Katherine Brady Walker, and Mary Brad, as trustees of the Irene M. O'Malley Revocable Trust (collectively, the Trust) - holding that there was no error.Plaintiff filed an amended complaint seeking specific performance of the PSA and alleging that the Trust breached the PSA and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. After a bench trial, the trial justice denied Plaintiff's request for specific performance and granted the Trust's request to terminate the PSA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the trial justice misapplied the law, misconceived or overlooked material evidence or made factual findings that were clearly wrong. View "Terrapin Development, LLC v. Irene M. O'Malley Revocable Trust" on Justia Law
Patel v. Patel
In this action alleging breach of contract and seeking declaratory judgment the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court finding in favor of Plaintiffs and the order denying Defendants' motion for a new trial, holding that Defendants were not entitled to relief on their allegations of error.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the trial justice did not err in denying Defendants' motion for a new trial; (2) the trial justice did not abuse his discretion in admitting an audio recording to impeach a witness; (3) even if Defendants' objection to the admission of parol evidence was preserved for review, Defendants' arguments would be unavailing under the Court's parol evidence jurisprudence; and (4) there was no error in the trial justice's determination that there was nothing inherently illegal in the parties' oral agreement. View "Patel v. Patel" on Justia Law
Aspen American Insurance Co. v. East Coast Precast & Rigging LLC
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court denying Defendants' appeal of a superior court order denying their "motion to vacate" a foreign judgment rendered in New York, which was brought in accordance with the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, chapter 32 of title 9 of the Rhode Island General Laws, holding that the superior court did not err.In denying Defendants' motion to vacate, the hearing justice concluded that Defendants did not meet their "heavy burden" to overturn the New York default judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) New York law must be applied in addressing the forgery argument presented by Defendants; (2) applying New York law, Defendants failed to meet their burden of rebutting the presumption of due execution accompanying acknowledgements and notarial signatures, and therefore, the subject forum selection clause was valid; and (3) the New York court had personal jurisdiction over Defendants. View "Aspen American Insurance Co. v. East Coast Precast & Rigging LLC" on Justia Law