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Sherman v. Ejnes

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

April 1, 2015

Thomas J. Sherman
v.
Yul D. Ejnes et al

Appeal from Superior Court. Kent County. (KC 09-221). Associate Justice Stephen P. Nugent.

For Plaintiff: Donald M. Gregory, Esq.

For Defendants: Elizabeth A. Suever, Esq.

Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

OPINION

Page 372

Flaherty, Justice

This case came before the Supreme Court pursuant to a writ of certiorari filed by the plaintiff, Thomas J. Sherman, seeking review of a Superior Court order that severed his claim for exemplary damages[1] and stayed discovery on that issue pending a determination on liability. On March 3, 2015, the parties appeared for oral argument pursuant to an order directing them to show cause why the issues in this petition should not be summarily decided. After hearing the arguments of the parties and examining the memoranda that they submitted, we are of the opinion that cause has not been shown, and we proceed to decide the petition at this time without further briefing or argument. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, the petition for certiorari is granted and the order of the Superior Court is quashed.

I

Facts and Travel

On February 19, 2009, plaintiff initiated a civil action against Yul D. Ejnes, M.D. (Dr. Ejnes) and his employer, Coastal Medical, Inc. (Coastal),[2] in Kent County Superior Court, alleging that defendants:

" willfully, knowingly, intentionally, recklessly, and negligently failed to protect the confidentiality of Plaintiff's HIV test results in violation of Title 23 Chapter 6 of the Rhode Island General Laws, Title

Page 373

5 Chapter 37.3 of the Rhode Island General Laws and the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to HIV Counseling, Testing, Reporting and Confidentiality of Rhode Island Department of Health."

The plaintiff asserts that defendants' actions have caused him substantial harm, including the destruction of his marriage and extreme mental anguish. As a result, plaintiff seeks to recover compensatory damages as well as ...


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