for Washington County Superior Court (WC 15-167)
Plaintiff: Elizabeth Wiens, Esq.
Defendant: Kathleen Anne Hilton, Esq. Kathleen M. Daniels,
Esq. Marc Desisto, Esq.
Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.
M. Matos Associate Justice.
defendant, Laura Kenyon, in her capacity as the Finance
Director/Treasurer of the Town of Narragansett, appeals from
the March 17, 2016 entry of summary judgment in favor of the
plaintiff, Brian Routhier, and the corresponding final
judgment entered in Washington County Superior
Court. On appeal, the defendant contends that the
hearing justice erred in his interpretation of the collective
bargaining agreement between the parties (the CBA) to the
effect that Mr. Routhier was permitted to add his spouse to
his health insurance plan. This appeal came before the Court
for oral argument on December 6, 2017, pursuant to an order
directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issues
raised in this appeal should not be summarily decided. After
a close review of the record and careful consideration of the
parties' arguments (both written and oral), we are
satisfied that cause has not been shown and that the appeal
may be decided at this time. For the reasons set forth
herein, we vacate the judgment of the Superior Court.
to the complaint filed by Mr. Routhier in this case, he
retired from his position as a police officer with the
Narragansett Police Department in June of 2013. At the time
of his retirement, he was unmarried and was covered by a
health insurance policy provided by the Town of Narragansett
(the Town). After his retirement, Mr. Routhier married a town
employee. After his wife's departure from town service,
Mr. Routhier asked the Town to add his new wife to his health
insurance plan. The Town refused to do so. Consequently, Mr.
Routhier filed the instant complaint seeking a declaratory
judgment that the "Town is required to provide fully
paid health coverage, dental coverage and life insurance
coverage for him and his spouse * * * for life" and also
alleging breach of contract, misrepresentation, and estoppel.
The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment with
respect to the declaratory judgment and breach of contract
claims. Following a hearing in Superior Court on
February 15, 2016, the hearing justice granted Mr.
Routhier's motion for summary judgment and denied Ms.
Kenyon's motion. The defendant filed a timely appeal.
Before this Court, defendant contends that, pursuant to the
language of the applicable CBA, Mr. Routhier is not entitled
to add his new spouse to his health insurance plan at the
Town's expense because he was not married at the time
that he retired; the essence of defendant's argument is
to the effect that "there is no question that [the
relevant section of the CBA] plainly states that retirees
shall receive the same level of health benefits they held
have often stated, "[t]his Court reviews a trial
justice's decision to grant summary judgment de
novo." Boucher v. Sweet, 147 A.3d 71, 73
(R.I. 2016) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also
Beauregard v. Gouin, 66 A.3d 489, 493 (R.I. 2013). We
will affirm a grant of summary judgment "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." Boucher, 147 A.3d
at 73 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Great
American E & S Insurance Co. v. End Zone Pub & Grill
of Narragansett, Inc., 45 A.3d 571, 574 (R.I. 2012). It
is also a basic principle that "[t]he party opposing
summary judgment has a duty to establish that a genuine issue
of material fact exists and may not rest solely upon
allegations and denials in the pleadings." CACH, LLC
v. Potter, 154 A.3d 939, 943 (R.I. 2017) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
clear to us that a material factual dispute exists in this
case with respect to what type of health insurance plan Mr.
Routhier was on at the time of his retirement. That fact was
clearly contested by the parties in the complaint and the
answer as well as in their cross-motions for summary
judgment. Moreover, additional material factual issues were
raised for the first time before this Court at oral
argument-a development that this Court finds disquieting. In
view of the record before us and in view of the material
factual disagreements that became even more apparent during
oral argument, affirmance of summary judgment would be
inconsistent with our jurisprudence in that domain. Material
issues of fact remain to be resolved.
for the foregoing reasons, we vacate the Superior Court's
grant of summary judgment. The record may be returned to that
 The hearing justice ruled in Mr.
Routhier's favor on his motion for summary judgment at
the February 15, 2016 hearing on that motion. An order was
entered to that effect on March 17, 2016. Additionally, an
order entered on July 13, 2016 as to damages.
 The claims for misrepresentation and
estoppel in Mr. Routhier's complaint remain pending in
Superior Court. After the grant of summary judgment in Mr.
Routhier's favor on the declaratory judgment and breach
of contract claims, on July 13, 2016, partial final judgment
was entered on those claims ...