LESLIE DOMINGUEZ and MARIE B. DOMINGUEZ
WILFREDO ROSA OTERO
Plaintiff: Ernest G. Barone, Esq.
Defendant: Erin Illuzzi, Esq.; Shaun Thomas Hogan, Esq.
DECISION (REGARDING MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL)
LANPHEAR, MAGISTRATE J.
matter came on for hearing before the Court on
Plaintiffs' Motion for New Trial. This case was tried for
two days before a jury. The jury returned a verdict for
Defendant finding the absence of any negligence.
December 8, 2014, a motor vehicle collision occurred at the
intersection of Douglas Avenue and Eaton Street in
Providence. The intersection is oddly configured in that it
has a red-light, but some four different roads travel through
or end at the intersection, or within a few feet of it.
Leslie Dominguez and Wilfredo Otero were driving on Eaton
and Donelson Streets, respectively. The streets do not
squarely face one another, but receive the same traffic-light
Quillen v. Macera, 160 A.3d 1006, 1011 (R.I. 2017),
the high court recited the time-honored standard for
considering a motion for a new trial. See R.I.
Managed Eye Care, Inc. v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of
Rhode Island, 996 A.2d 684, 695 (R.I. 2010). In this
role, "the trial justice should review the evidence and
exercise his or her independent judgment 'in passing upon
the weight of the evidence and the credibility of the
witnesses."' 996 A.2d at 695.
Court will review the evidence presented but limit its
discussion on damages, as the jury failed to find the
Defendant negligent. Hence, the jury never reached the issue of
first witness to testify was Leslie Dominguez, the
Plaintiff-driver. A housecleaner, she described how the car
was used for different family members to get to work. When
she approached the intersection from Eaton Street to turn
left onto Douglas Avenue, she noticed Defendant's vehicle
stopped at the intersection. She testified that as she
travelled through the intersection at about 10 mph, Mr.
Otero's car suddenly accelerated around her, striking her
car. Her air bags deployed and she received injuries to her
chest, hand, thumb and lower back. Her car was towed after
police arrived. On cross-examination, she acknowledged that
she stopped and saw Mr. Otero's vehicle but she moved
when he stayed at a stop, even after her light signal turned
Carrillo testified next. He was a passenger in
Plaintiff's vehicle and previously dated Leslie. He
testified that the Dominguez vehicle stopped at the
intersection and when the light turned green, Mr. Otero's
car did not move. He thought that Mr. Otero did not have a
green light, and stated that the Dominguez car moved first.
He testified that Mr. Otero's vehicle accelerated to the
right and struck their car. The two drivers got out of the
car and a quarrel escalated. He pushed the Dominguez car out
of the intersection as it was inoperable. On cross he stated
that, "we saw the Otero car coming after we already
Court found each of these witnesses to be consistent
throughout and consistent with one another. But for the
description of which car hit the other, their testimony
Otero testified next. Called by the Defendant, he testified
out of turn. He testified that his car was travelling west on
Donelson Street, intending to continue onto Eaton Street,
across the odd intersection. There were five people in his
vehicle. He testified that he noticed no other cars and did
not see the Dominguez vehicle until "she was right on
top of me."
photographic evidence shows that the front left of the
Dominguez vehicle contacted the front left corner of the
Otero car. Oddly, Mr. Otero also testified that he would have
stopped if another car was moving at the intersection. On
cross, he testified that although they had just left a family
visit, there was no talking in his vehicle. After he
acknowledged that his wife was talking, he stopped answering
cross-examination questions directly, so the Court questioned
his credibility. He acknowledged that his wife told him to
slow down and watch out.
Dominguez, the owner of the vehicle and Leslie's mother,
testified extensively about damages as did other witnesses.