County Superior Court
Plaintiff: John O. Mancini, Esq.
Defendant: Matthew T. Jerzyk, Esq., Theodore Orson, Esq.
the Court are movants' Mayor Charles Moreau (Mayor) and
the members of the Central Falls City Council (City
Council)-collectively referred to as the Elected
Officials-Motions for Entry of Judgment. The Elected
Officials request that this Court enter an order of judgment
entitling them to indemnification from the State of Rhode
Island (State) for their costs, expenses, and attorneys'
fees-including those of the City Council's attorney,
Lawrence L. Goldberg-generated from this lawsuit. The Rhode
Island Department of Revenue, on behalf of the State, opposes
the Elected Officials' Motions.
facts of this well-traveled case are familiar to this Court.
For both the sake of brevity and the purpose of deciding
whether to grant or deny the Elected Officials' Motions,
only a brief discussion of the procedural posture of this
case is necessary. A far more detailed discussion of the
facts and travel preceding the matter at bar is provided in
prior opinions of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and
decisions of this Court. See Shine v. Moreau, 119
A.3d 1, 4-5 (R.I. 2015); Moreau v. Flanders, 15 A.3d
565, 570-73 (R.I. 2011); Pfeiffer v. Moreau, Nos.
PB-2010-5615, PB-2010-5672, 2010 WL 4156173 (R.I. Super. Oct.
18, 2010) (Silverstein, J.).
18, 2015, the Rhode Island Supreme Court issued its opinion
in Shine v. Moreau, 119 A.3d 1, remanding the
to this Court. Less than a month later, in early July of
2015, the Mayor moved for entry of final judgment, seeking
indemnification for the costs and legal fees he incurred in
challenging the constitutionality of the Financial Stability
Act, G.L. 1956 §§ 45-9-1 et seq. Shortly
thereafter, the City Council followed suit, similarly moving
for entry of judgment and incorporating the Mayor's
memorandum by reference. However, due to the City of Central
Falls' pending issues in the Bankruptcy Court for this
district, this Court stayed the proceedings regarding the
Motions for Entry of Judgment. In November of 2015, the
Bankruptcy Court issued an order resolving those pending
issues, freeing this Court to consider the Elected
Officials' Motions. Following the Bankruptcy Court's
order, the Elected Officials renewed their Motions for Entry
of Judgment on June 21, 2016. After receiving memoranda from
the Elected Officials and the State and conducting an
appropriate hearing, the Court issues this Decision.
Elected Officials have moved to compel the State to indemnify
their costs, expenses, and attorneys' fees resulting from
the years-long lawsuit regarding the constitutionality and
implementation of the Financial Stability Act, which
essentially displaced the Mayor and the City Council in favor
of the Receiver. During that time, the Elected Officials
served in a mere advisory role to the Receiver, at his
discretion. In challenging the Financial Stability Act, the
Elected Officials have undoubtedly incurred considerable
costs; they now move to recover those costs, including
attorneys' fees, from the Receiver who, according to the
Elected Officials, is a State official. Thus, the procedural
posture of this case is as follows: the Elected Officials
have moved for entry of judgment seeking indemnification from
the State; the State, through the Department of Revenue,
Standard of Review
case is remanded from our Supreme Court, this Court is bound
to follow the mandates contained in the opinion of the Rhode
Island Supreme Court. Pleasant Mgmt., LLC v.
Carrasco, 960 A.2d 216, 223 (R.I. 2008). This is
known as the "mandate rule"-a rule that the Rhode
Island Supreme Court has summarized in this way:
"'When a case has been once decided by [the Rhode
Island Supreme Court] on appeal, and remanded to the
[Superior Court], whatever was before [the Rhode Island
Supreme Court], and disposed of by its decree, is considered
as finally settled. The [Superior Court] is bound by the
decree as the law of the case, and must carry it into
execution according to the mandate. That court cannot vary
it, or examine it for any other purpose than execution; or
give any other or further relief; or review it, even for
apparent error, upon any matter decided on appeal; or
intermeddle with it, further than to settle so much as has
been remanded. . . . But the [Superior Court] may consider
and decide any matters left open by the mandate of [the Rhode
Island Supreme Court].'" Sisto v. Am. Condo.
Ass'n, Inc., 140 A.3d 124, 128 (R.I. 2016) (quoting
Pleasant Mgmt., LLC, 960 A.2d at 223).
mandate rule, when the Rhode Island Supreme Court issues an
opinion, that opinion "'speak[s] forthrightly and
not by suggestion or innuendo, '" meaning that this
Court is not free to "'read between the
lines'" of the opinion's plain language.
Pleasant Mgmt., LLC, 960 ...