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Goddard v. APG Security-RI, LLC

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

March 7, 2016

Melissa E. Goddard
v.
APG Security-RI, LLC, alias John Doe Corporation et al

          Kent County Superior Court. (KC 14-316). Associate Justice Sarah Taft-Carter.

         For Plaintiff: David R. Comerford, Esq., Frank R. Saccoccio, Esq.

         For Defendants: Mark A. Pogue, Esq.

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

          OPINION

Page 174

          Suttell, Chief Justice.

          Which period of limitation applies to a civil action alleging a violation of the employer drug testing statute (EDTS)[1]--ten years as provided in G.L. 1956 § 9-1-13(a)[2] or three years as provided in § 9-1-14(b)[3]--is the central question of this appeal. 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 March 27, 2014, Melissa Goddard (plaintiff) filed a complaint against APG Security-RI, LLC, as well as against Scott Hemingway and Anna Vidiri in their capacities as employees/agents of APG Security-RI, LLC (collectively, defendants). The complaint alleged that, in January 2010, when plaintiff was employed as a security guard by APG Security-RI, LLC, defendants violated G.L. 1956 § 28-6.5-1 when they required her to submit to a drug test without the reasonable grounds set forth by the statute and subsequently terminated her employment based on the result of that test. The plaintiff sought damages pursuant to both the EDTS and § 9-1-2.[4] The defendants responded to plaintiff's complaint with a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure, in which they asserted that the complaint was not timely filed. A hearing justice of the Superior Court held a hearing on June 9, 2014, at which defendants argued that the three-year statute of limitations in § 9-1-14(b) applied to civil actions arising out of alleged violations of the EDTS, and

Page 175

plaintiff argued that the ten-year statute of limitations in § 9-1-13(a) applied instead. The hearing justice agreed with defendants and found that the three-year statute of limitations in § 9-1-14(b) governed plaintiff's cause of action. The hearing justice also found that the statute of limitations began to run from the date that the drug test was administered, and that plaintiff's complaint had been filed more than three years after the administration of the drug test. Accordingly, the hearing justice granted defendants' motion and dismissed plaintiff's complaint. The plaintiff filed a premature notice of appeal, which we nevertheless deem to be timely. See Miller v. Saunders, 80 A.3d 44, 47 n.8 (R.I. 2013).[5]

         II

         Standard ...


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