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Manafort Brothers, Inc. v. State

Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence

April 30, 2018

MANAFORT BROTHERS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, by and through SETH MAGAZINER, in his capacity as General Treasurer, and RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, by and through PETER ALVITI, JR., P.E., in his capacity as Director, Defendants.

         Providence County Superior Court

          For Plaintiff: John A. Donovan, III, Esq.

          For Defendant: Myles C. Beltram, Esq. Maxford D. Foster, Esq.

          DECISION

          SILVERSTEIN, J.

          Before the Court is Plaintiff Manafort Brothers, Inc.'s (Manafort or Plaintiff) motion for partial summary judgment on Counts I, II, and III of its Complaint, as well as on Defendants' Counterclaim Count I and all Defendants' remaining Affirmative Defenses. Plaintiff's motion follows a decision by this Court striking four Affirmative Defenses asserted by Defendants State of Rhode Island, by and through Seth Magaziner, in his capacity as General Treasurer, and Rhode Island Department of Transportation, by and through Peter Alviti, Jr., P.E., in his capacity as Director (RIDOT or Defendants). This Court exercises jurisdiction pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 8-2-14 and Super. R. Civ. P. 56.

         I

          Facts and Travel

         On January 11, 2013, Defendants and Manafort entered into a contract agreement (Contract) by which Manafort agreed to complete a public works project consisting of the construction of a new, independent southbound bridge-extending approximately 1290 feet and across 4 lanes-on the west side of an existing structure and the reconstruction of an adjacent ramp structure to the north and south of the Providence Viaduct (the Project). Compl. at ¶ 6. Notice to proceed with the Project was provided by Defendants on January 24, 2013. Defs.' Ex. 1, Aff. Michael Studley (Studley Aff.) at ¶ 5. Pursuant to the Contract, the Substantial Completion Date was November 20, 2015. Compl. at ¶ 8; Studley Aff. at ¶ 6. Further, the Contract provides, in part, the following,

"for and in consideration of payments . . . to be made by the State, [Manafort] agrees to furnish all equipment, machinery, tools and labor; to furnish and deliver all materials required to be furnished and delivered in and about the improvement and to do and perform all work in the performance of RI Contract No. 2012-CB-078, FAP NHP-0578 (002), NHP-TIGR(001) & NHPG-0578(003), for the New Providence Viaduct Southbound Bridge No. 578 in strict conformity with the provisions of this contract agreement, the notice to contractors, the proposal, the specifications and the plans approved by the Engineer, as defined in the specifications." Compl. at ¶ 9; Studley Aff. at ¶ 7.

         The Contract additionally contained language by which Defendants agreed to compensate Manafort for all damages, costs, fees and expenses related to unknown or differing site conditions, project delays, and extra work completed. Compl. at ¶¶ 12-13.

         Manafort commenced work on the Project on January 24, 2013. Studley Aff. at ¶ 5. During the construction phase of the Project, Manafort encountered delays, and the Project was substantially completed on July 18, 2017. Compl. at ¶¶ 17-21; Studley Aff. at ¶ 9.

         Manafort filed its Complaint against Defendants on September 28, 2016 asserting claims of, inter alia, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and quantum meruit. Defendants answered Manafort's Complaint and asserted a number of Affirmative Defenses and a Counterclaim asserting breach of contract and contribution claims.

          Manafort propounded its First Set of Requests for Admission in December 2016.[1] The requests for admission were delivered to three employees-including two attorneys-at RIDOT; Defendants failed to respond to the requests. In July 2017, Manafort-relying heavily on its requests for admission-filed a motion for partial summary judgment on Defendants' Third, Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Affirmative Defenses. This Court heard oral argument on the motion on September 19, 2017[2] and issued a Bench Decision granting Manafort's motion on December 13, 2017. In its Decision, this Court relied on a number of admissions deemed admitted by RIDOT's failure to respond or object to Manafort's requests. Manafort then filed its second motion for summary judgment on Counts I, II, and III of its Complaint, as well as Defendants' ...


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