Tag Archives: Judge Mary Lisi

RI Federal Court: 2 Lead Poisoned Children equal only 1 occurence for Insurance Purposes

RI Lawyers Weekly reports that U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary Lisi recently decided that two children exposed to lead paint could not each receive the $100,000 limit of their landlords’ insurance policy.

The children’s parents had argued that the poisoning of each child constituted a separate “occurrence” triggering coverage under the policy.

But Judge Mary M. Lisi disagreed, finding that the harm suffered by the children was the result of a single occurrence.

“Although the children may have ingested the lead at different times and their blood tests showed different levels of exposure, the injuries all flowed from the same conditions in their immediate environment,” Lisi wrote.

You can read the opinion here.


New Appointments to the RI Board of Bar Admissions

U.S. District Court Chief Judge of the District of Rhode Island Mary M. Lisi recently announced that, effective June 1, 2010, the Court has appointed Attorneys Jeffrey C. Schreck, Anthony M. Traini, and Karen A. Pelczarski to serve 3-year terms on the Board of Bar Admissions.

Attorney Patricia K. Rocha has been appointed as Chair of the Board. Attorney Rocha is serving in her second term, and prior to accepting the position of Chair, she served as the civil procedure expert. Attorney Rocha is the first woman in the history of the Board to be appointed as Chair.

The Board of Bar Admissions oversees the Court’s Attorney Admissions Program and administers a mandatory course of instruction on federal practice with a focus on local practices and procedures.  Members of the Board serve an initial 3-year term, and they are then eligible to be reappointed for a second term. Each member is assigned a specific area of practice in which the Court considers them to be
an expert.

The current members of the Board of Bar Admissions and their subject areas are:

  • Patricia K. Rocha Chair
  • William M. Dolan Jurisdiction
  • Matthew J. McGowan Bankruptcy
  • Karen A. Pelczarski Civil Procedure
  • William A. Poore Professional Conduct
  • Jeffrey C. Schreck Local Rules
  • Anthony M. Traini Criminal Procedure

According to Chief Judge Lisi, “The Board plays a critical role in preparing attorneys for practice before this Court. The contribution of time and knowledge that each member makes to the admissions process is invaluable, both to the Court and to the bar applicants. Because of the voluntary services that these individuals provide, new attorneys are well prepared to appear in our courtrooms. These individuals should be commended for their outstanding contribution to the practice of law and to the administration of justice.”

City of Providence Settles Federal Lawsuit Involving Death of Middle School Student

The Providence Journal reports that a settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit by the family of a middle school student who died after a classroom fight in the Providence Public Schools in 2005.  Joseline Cuc was 12-years-old when she got into a fight at the Samuel W. Bridgham Middle School and then died of cardiac arrest.

Jury selection had been scheduled for Thursday in a retrial. The family was seeking $4 million. A two-week trial before U.S. Chief District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi in July 2009 ended when the jury failed to deliver a unanimous verdict.

Neither side would disclose the terms of the settlement until the deal is finalized. According to McHugh, the family agreed to the terms “a few weeks ago,” and the City Council’s committee on claims and pending suits approved the settlement terms Monday. It also requires final approval from Mayor David N. Cicilline.

Under the settlement, Joseline’s parents, Luis DeLeon and Ana M. Cuc, agree to drop the suit against the city, said Michael W. Long, the attorney representing the family. DeLeon and Cuc could not be reached for comment.

In the suit, which was filed in 2006, the family claimed that the School Department failed to have an emergency action plan in place for Cuc even though school officials were aware that Cuc suffered from severe heart disease and that “excessive physical contact could be life threatening.” They also accused the department of attempting to cover up the circumstances surrounding her death.

On May 20, 2005, Cuc, a seventh grader, was physically restrained and ejected from class by science teacher Sey Sey Kamara after a confrontation in which Cuc grabbed another student by the collar, according to court documents. Kamara pulled the students apart and told them both to go to the principal’s office.

Cuc repeatedly tried to reenter the classroom after being ejected, but was ignored by Kamara, according to the suit. No one from the principal’s office, after being notified of her ejection from class, came to check on Cuc’s well-being, the suit states.

Fifteen minutes later, Cuc was found in the hallway next to her classroom by students as she was suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. School officials administered CPR and rescue personnel rushed her to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where she died. The cause of death was determined to be hypertropic cardiomyopathy, an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle that can lead to sudden death.

First Circuit Affirms Lobster Pot Decision

The Providence Journal reports that a final lid was put on the number of lobster pots allowed lobstermen in Rhode Island when the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by District Court Chief Judge Mary Lisi.

The case was initially brought by certain lobstermen as a state-court challenge to regulations promulgated by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management which imposed restrictions on lobster-trap allocations for Rhode Island waters.

The opinion, penned by Judge Bruce Selya, concludes there there is federal jurisdiction over the litigation and then quickly resolves the merits of the case:

The plaintiffs’ asseverational array involves claims that the contested regulation violates the Rhode Island Constitution and a myriad of state statutory provisions. See R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 20-2.1-9, 20-7-9, 42-35-3, 42-35-3.3. This onslaught boils down to two principal assertions. First, the plaintiffs posit that the challenged regulation abridges their fundamental right of equal access to the fisheries, and denies them equal protection, R.I. Const. art. I, §§ 2, 17. Second, they maintain that the Commission did not really mandate the use of retroactive control dates when Addendum VII was adopted and, thus, the challenged regulation offends R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-2.1-9. The district court patiently explained why neither of these assertions holds water. See RIFA II, 2008 WL 4467186, at *5-11 (rejecting arguments based on state constitution); id. at *12-14 (rejecting plaintiffs’ suggested interpretation of Addendum VII). The court also convincingly dispatched the plaintiffs’ arguments arising out of other Rhode Island statutes. See, e.g., id. at *11-12, *14-16.

We often have said, and today reaffirm, that when a trial court addresses issues squarely and in detail, writes a persuasive opinion that faithfully applies the law to the facts, and reaches a correct result, there is no need for a reviewing court to write at length merely to hear its own words resonate. See, e.g., Vargas-Ruiz v. Golden Arch Dev., Inc., 368 F.3d 1, 2 (1st Cir. 2004) (collecting cases); Henry v. Connolly, 910 F.2d 1000, 1002 (1st Cir. 1990). This is precisely such an instance.

Here, the district court wrote a thoughtful and comprehensive rescript explaining its multi-faceted rationale for rebuffing the plaintiffs’ challenge to the contested regulation and granted summary judgment accordingly. We largely agree with the reasoning set forth in the lower court’s rescript, and uphold its merits ruling for substantially the reasons set forth in that opinion.