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Mitola v. Providence Public Buildings Authority

Superior Court of Rhode Island

March 1, 2016

GEORGE MITOLA and CAROL A. MITOLA
v.
PROVIDENCE PUBLIC BUILDINGS AUTHORITY

For Plaintiff: Thomas E. Romano, Esq.

For Defendant: Thomas C. Angelone, Esq.

DECISION

TAFT-CARTER, J.

Before this Court for decision is Petitioner V. George Mitola's (Petitioner) Petition to Compel Purchase in Fee, pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 45-50-13(a)(5).

I

Facts and Travel

The history of this case dates back to 2005 when the Providence Public Buildings Authority (PPBA) sought the acquisition of the development rights of property owned by V. George Mitola and Carol A. Mitola. [1] The property is identified as Lot 1 on Parcel 38 of the maps of the Tax Assessor of Scituate, Rhode Island (the Property). The residential address is 21 Country View Lane, North Scituate, Rhode Island. See (Decision PC 2006-4391.) Pursuant to § 45-50-13(a)(6), the PPBA retained an appraiser to determine the fair market value of the development rights of the Property. (PC 2006-4391). By letter dated May 19, 2006, the Mitolas were notified of the appointment of an appraiser. See (Letter, PC 2006-4391). In that letter, the Mitolas were also requested to obtain an appraisal. The appraisal was completed by the PPBA and a Miscellaneous Petition was filed in the Superior Court on August 21, 2006 requesting that the Court compel the Mitolas to appoint an appraiser to complete the appraisal process set forth in § 45-50-13(a)(6). The Mitolas answered the complaint and pled a counterclaim alleging constitutional violations. This matter was heard on summary judgment and an Order entered denying the Mitolas' request for declaratory relief.

The PPBA filed a Petition requesting that the Court determine the sum of money that would satisfy the claims of all persons interested in the development rights and to issue an order allowing the PPBA to deposit the sum in the Registry of the Superior Court. (MP 2012-1293). On March 9, 2012, this Court determined that the sum of $775, 000 was sufficient to satisfy all claims of persons interested in the development rights of the land. The funds were deposited into the Registry of the Court on March 9, 2012.

Thereafter, the PPBA filed a Petition to Reduce the Deposit from $775, 000 to $485, 000, and it was granted. The Court concluded that $485, 000 was sufficient to satisfy all claims to the development rights. The Order contained the following statement: "Any person claiming an interest in the development rights in the land set forth above shall have three (3) months after receipt of personal service of this order to file a petition for an assessment of damages, in accordance with the provisions of R.I.G.L. 1956 § 45-50-13(e), as amended."

The Petitioner filed a Motion to Vacate and/or Modify Order of October 25, 2012 arguing that he did not receive notice of the motion to reduce the deposit. Affidavits were filed in support of the Motion. PPBA then filed a Motion for Summary Judgment.

The Petitioner objected to the Motion for Summary Judgment. The essence of the objection was failure to receive notice. On May 15, 2014, this Court issued an order relating to the PPBA's Motion for Summary Judgment and the Petitioner's Motion to Vacate and/or Modify the Court's prior Order of November 1, 2012. A consent order was entered granting the Petitioner, among other things, the right to file a petition to assess damages within forty-five days after service.

On or about April 22, 2015, the Petitioner filed a petition for an assessment of damages in this Court. In the petition, the Petitioner claimed, inter alia, that he was not offered just compensation for the interest PPBA acquired in the Property. (Pet'r's Pet. for Assessment of Damages, PC 2015-1646, Apr. 22, 2015). PPBA responded. This Court entered a scheduling order on October 15, 2015. A trial date was set for December 7, 2015. (Pre-trial Order, PC 2015-1646, Oct. 15, 2015). On December 7, 2015, Petitioner filed the instant Petition to Compel Purchase in Fee pursuant to § 45-50-13(a)(5), seeking to have the PPBA acquire a fee simple interest in the Property. PPBA objects.

II

Analysis


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