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Wray v. Green

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

December 8, 2015

Jazmine Wray et al.
v.
Antonio Green et al.

Providence County Superior Court, PC 11-6961, Associate Justice Jeffrey A. Lanphear

For Plaintiffs: Daniel J. Neal, Esq.

For Defendants: Stephen E. Navega, II, Esq.

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

OPINION

PAUL A. SUTTELL CHIEF JUSTICE.

The plaintiffs, Jazmine Wray and Reginald Green, appeal from a Superior Court judgment in favor of the defendant, Raymond Roy. This case stems from a negligence suit brought by the plaintiffs against the two defendants: Roy and Antonio Green, as a result of a three-vehicle rear-end collision.[1] This case came before the Supreme Court pursuant to an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issue raised in this appeal should not be summarily decided. After considering the parties' written and oral submissions and reviewing the record, we conclude that cause has not been shown and that this case may be decided without further briefing or argument. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.

I

Facts and Procedural History

On November 9, 2009, Wray, Roy and Antonio Green were driving eastbound on Hartford Avenue in Providence in their respective vehicles. Hartford Avenue is a two-way street with a single lane in each direction running east and west. At approximately 12:40 p.m., Wray's vehicle stopped on Hartford Avenue as she waited in the lane of travel for an opportunity to make a left-hand turn into a parking lot. Roy's vehicle came to a complete stop behind Wray's vehicle as he waited for Wray to make the left-hand turn. Wray was stopped for several minutes and during this time she observed Roy's vehicle stopped behind her. A third vehicle-driven by Antonio Green and with Reginald Green as a passenger-approached and rear-ended Roy's vehicle. Wray heard the first impact of Antonio Green's vehicle rear-ending Roy's vehicle prior to Roy's vehicle rear-ending her vehicle. Both Antonio Green and Reginald Green acknowledged that Roy's vehicle was stopped prior to the collision.

The plaintiffs filed a complaint in Superior Court against defendants alleging negligence and claiming that, as a result of the collision, they experienced pain and suffering and incurred medical bills and lost wages. On December 10, 2012, Roy filed a motion for summary judgment. A hearing was held on February 19, 2013, in which Roy's motion was granted over plaintiffs' objection. Final judgment was entered on August 6, 2014.[2] The plaintiffs filed a timely notice of appeal.

II

Standard of Review

"This Court will review the grant of a motion for summary judgment de novo, 'employing the same standards and rules used by the hearing justice.'" Daniels v. Fluette, 64 A.3d 302, 304 (R.I. 2013) (quoting Great American E & S Insurance Co. v. End Zone Pub & Grill of Narragansett, Inc., 45 A.3d 571, 574 (R.I. 2012)). "We will affirm a lower court's decision only if, after reviewing the admissible evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, we conclude that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Id. (quoting Great American E & S Insurance Co., 45 A.3d at 574). "Moreover, the nonmoving party bears the burden of proving by competent evidence the existence of a disputed issue of material fact and cannot rest upon mere allegations or denials in the pleadings, mere conclusions or mere legal opinions." Id. (quoting Great American E & S Insurance Co., 45 A.3d at 574). It is well settled that "issues of negligence are ordinarily not susceptible of summary adjudication, but should be resolved by trial in the ordinary manner." Holley v. Argonaut Holdings, Inc., 968 A.2d 271, 274 (R.I. 2009) (quoting Gliottone v. Ethier, 870 A.2d 1022, 1028 (R.I. 2005). ...


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