In an 18-page decision, Superior Court Associate Justice Sarah Taft-Carter denied the state’s motion to add various cities, towns and other governmental entities as indispensable parties (defendants) in Rhode Island Council 94, AFSCME, AFL-CIO Locals, et al. v. Lincoln Chafee, et al., No. 12-3168 (July 22, 2014).
At issue is Rule 19 of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure which states the following:
A person who is subject to service of process shall be joined as a party in the action if (1) in the person’s absence complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties, or (2) the person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that the disposition of the action in the person’s absence may (i) as a practical matter impair or impede the person’s ability to protect that interest or (ii) leave any of the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of the person’s claimed interest.
The Court stated that municipalities are certainly relevant to the action, but not indispensable. The Court stated as follows:
Municipal entities have no direct interest in this action. Plain tiffs’ retirement benefits stem directly from ERS, and not through CBAs with municipal entities. The implied contractual interest was found to be due to the circumstances between the State and the Plaintiffs. The State was acting as an employer when it enacted the pension statute. This forms the basis of the implied contract.
Furthermore, the absence of municipal entities from this action does not hinder the ability of this Court to accord relief in this case, given that Plaintiffs seek a declaration that a statute is unconstitutional.
Read the full opinion here.
A Rhode Island man, Christopher Renzi, has filed a lawsuit in Rhode Island Federal Court seeking a declaratory judgement against Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo regarding trademark infringement for the term, “CR7.”
The case, in front of Judge Jack McConnell, is Christopher Renzi v. Cristiano Ronaldo, et. al. 14-cv-00341-M-PAS (click here to read the complaint).
The lawsuit, filed on July 28, 2014 by Providence lawyer Michael Feldhuhn, seeks a declaratory judgement that Rhode Islander Renzi “owns the trademark ‘CR7’ and that his continued use of the ‘CR7’ mark does not infringe any trademark owned or used by the defendants.”
The judgement is sought against both Ronaldo and JBS Textile Group, a Denmark clothing corporation who filed a petition to cancel Renzi’s “CR7” trademark registration from 2009 with the Trademark and Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Read the full complaint here.
The Rhode Island Hispanic Bar Association is hosting its 1st Meet and Greet on August 13, 2014 from 600pm to 830pm at Bravo (123 Empire Street). At this networking event, the Association will take contributions for a scholarship being started aimed at helping young Latino college students interested in pursuing a law degree.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island yesterday refused to grant a temporary restraining order regarding a Warwick city law that is keeping a city classified employee, Raymond T. McKay, from running for the U.S. Senate against U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
The law in question is Section 48-107 of the Warwick Code of Ordinances:
Classified employees and members of personnel hearing board not to run for or hold elective office.permanent link to this piece of content No classified employee or member of the personnel hearing board shall seek the nomination of or be a candidate for any elective office; neither shall any elective officer be appointed a member of the personnel hearing board or a classified employee unless he/she resigns his/her elective office.
The Providence Journal reported further on the Court’s ruling.
McConnell, citing a raft of case law, including multiple rulings issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, forcefully asserted the legal standing of Warwick’s ordinances. “There is no question whatsoever that this is a proper exercise of the city’s right to regulate its work force,” McConnell said. “The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently, clearly, and definitively said that local governments can prohibit … employees from running for partisan political offices because governments have sufficiently important interests — such as interest in visibly fair and effective administration and the interest in ensuring that employees are free from both coercion and the prospect of favor from political activity … .”
The full story is here.
In a ruling issued this week, in Peter W. Russo v. State of Rhode Island, Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals et al., No. 11-360 (March 24, 2014), the Rhode Island Supreme Court held that placing an employee on paid administrative leave with the requirement that he undergo an IME did not constitute an action which “discharge[d], threaten[ed], or otherwise discriminate[d]” against the employee in violation of the Rhode Island Whistleblowers’ Protection Act (WPA), G.L. 1956 chapter 50 of title 28.
In so holding, the Court vacated the decision of the Superior Court and held that the defendant did not violate the WPA.
In 2010, the Superior Court had held that the defendant had violated WPA when it placed the plaintiff on administrative leave with pay and required that he undergo an independent medical examination (IME). The defendant contended on appeal that the trial justice erred in finding: (1) that paid administrative leave and the requirement to undergo an IME constituted a “discharge, threat, or * * * discriminat[ion]” under the WPA; (2) that the plaintiff had reported violations of a “law or regulation or rule promulgated under the law of [Rhode Island]” (which is one of the preconditions for obtaining relief under the WPA); (3) that there was a causal connection between the plaintiff’s reports at issue in the case and his placement on paid administrative leave; and (4) that the defendant did not have “legitimate nonretaliatory” grounds to place the plaintiff on paid administrative leave and require that he undergo an IME.
The Supreme Court agreed, stating that, “Since the MHRH did not “discharge, threaten, or otherwise discriminate” against Mr. Russo , it cannot be found to have violated the WPA and the trial justice’s decision must be reversed.”
Read the full opinion here.
In a claim of underpayment of long-term disability benefits, the statute of limitations accrues at the time the underpayment is made known to the participant when (s)he receives his first miscalculated benefit award and not with each monthly benefit payment made, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this month in Riley v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 2014 WL 814742 (1st Cir. Mar. 4, 2014).
In 2012, plaintiff Robert Riley filed suit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. , against defendant Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (“MetLife”), arguing that MetLife had been underpaying his monthly benefits since its 2005 denial of his assertion that he was entitled to a larger payment calculation under his long-term disability insurance plan. The district court granted MetLife’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that Riley’s suit was barred by the six-year statute of limitations. See Riley v. Metro. Life Ins. Co. , ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, 2013 WL 5009618 (D. Mass. Sept. 11, 2013). We affirm, rejecting Riley’s argument that this long-term disability plan must be analogized to an installment payment plan so as to alter the accrual date of his claim. In doing so, we join three other circuits. We also reject his claim that the plan documents here create a different accrual rule for him based on a principle of “symmetry” and reject his equitable arguments.
Read the full opinion here.
The New Yorker examines the list of potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. Their includes a nominee to the First Circuit Court of Appeals: David Barron.
David Barron, age forty-six, nominated to the First Circuit. Barron served as acting assistant attorney general during the first two years of the Obama Administration and is now a professor at Harvard Law School. His clerkships were with Stephen Reinhardt (a liberal favorite on the Ninth Circuit) and Justice John Paul Stevens; he has many fans in the White House, though the appointment of a white male would offer few political benefits. Barron’s nomination to the First Circuit has been approved by the Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote, and he has apparently been promised a vote in the full Senate before the mid-term elections. The invocation of the nuclear option—confirmation via a simple majority rather than the three-fifths vote formerly required to overcome a filibuster—should guarantee his appointment, which is obligatory if he is to be a Supreme Court nominee down the line.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has also been mentioned as a potential nominee to the highest Court in the land.