County Superior Court, PC 14-1984, Richard A. Licht Associate
Plaintiff: Shelagh R. McCahey, Esq.
Defendants: Fausto C. Anguilla, Esq.
Present: Suttell, C.J., Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.
GILBERT V. INDEGLIA ASSOCIATE JUSTICE.
plaintiff, Yendelby Santos (plaintiff or Santos), appeals
from the Superior Court's denial of his motion to vacate
final judgment in favor of the defendant, D. Laikos, Inc.,
d/b/a Monet Lounge, and John Doe (collectively, defendants),
on his personal injury claim. This matter came before the
Supreme Court on May 11, 2016, pursuant to an order directing
the parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised
should not be summarily decided. After hearing the arguments
of counsel and reviewing the memoranda submitted on behalf of
the parties, we are satisfied that cause has not been shown.
Accordingly, we shall decide the matters at this time without
further briefing or argument. For the reasons set forth
herein, we affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.
facts of this case are straightforward and undisputed. On
April 30, 2011, plaintiff alleged that he sustained personal
injuries during a "melee" at defendants'
Providence nightclub, Monet Lounge. On April 18, 2014, he
filed the instant personal injury action in Providence County
Superior Court. However, the complaint erroneously stated
that the incident in question occurred on November 4,
2010. On April 20, 2015, defendants
filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant
to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Superior Court Rules of Civil
Procedure, stating that the three-year
statute of limitations for personal injury actions barred
plaintiff's claim. The
defendants' counsel certified that he mailed both the
motion to dismiss and the accompanying memorandum of law to
plaintiff's counsel's office, in addition to filing
the motion and memorandum of law via the recently installed
electronic filing system as is now required by the Superior
Court Rules. The motion included a hearing date of June 16,
hearing on defendants' motion occurred as scheduled;
however, plaintiff did not appear. As a result, the hearing
justice granted defendants' motion to dismiss on statute
of limitations grounds. On June 23, 2015, plaintiff filed an
objection and motion to vacate the final judgment, which
indicated that his counsel did not receive notice of
defendants' motion to dismiss. On June 25, 2015, final
judgment entered dismissing plaintiff's claim. On that
same day, plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint to
correct the date of the incident.
8, 2015, a hearing was held on plaintiff's motion to
vacate. At the hearing, plaintiff's counsel argued that
excusable neglect pursuant to Rule 60(b)(1) of the Superior
Court Rules of Civil Procedure, or in the alterative,
"any other reason justifying relief" pursuant to
Rule 60(b)(6), warranted relief from final
judgment. The plaintiff's counsel
stated that she never received notice of defendants'
motion to dismiss electronically because the service contact
in the electronic filing system contained the incorrect
contact information. Further, plaintiff's counsel
represented that, if given an evidentiary hearing, she was
prepared to present evidence to overcome the presumption that
notice of the motion was received by mail. Specifically,
plaintiff's counsel intended to call her office's
litigation paralegal, who handled all of the mail for the
firm's litigation department.
plaintiff's counsel also indicated that, had she been
aware of defendants' motion to dismiss, she would have
promptly presented a motion to amend the
complaint to correct the
"typographical error as to the date of the
incident." She argued that "[t]here is no issue of
notice of the event as far as * * * defendant[s are]
concerned" because the police report issued in
connection with the incident, of which defendants had a copy,
contained the correct date.
hearing justice said he "d[idn't] buy"
plaintiff's excusable neglect argument, and denied his
motion to vacate. On July 31, 2015, an order entered denying
plaintiff's motion to vacate the final judgment and
denying his request for an evidentiary hearing. No ruling was ...