United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
MARCEL R. DAQUAY, Plaintiff,
GENERAL DYNAMICS ELECTRIC BOAT CORPORATION, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WILLIAM E. SMITH CHIEF JUDGE
case features an allegation that over forty years ago
Defendant Electric Boat Corporation (“Electric
Boat”) promised Plaintiff Marcel R. Daquay something in
return for his help securing $850 million from the federal
government. The alleged promise went unfulfilled, prompting
Daquay to file suit - in August 2017 - ten years after the
company terminated his employment. Electric Boat has moved to
dismiss. (ECF No. 6.) Because the statute of limitations has
run on Daquay's claims, the Court GRANTS Electric
alleged in the complaint,  Marcel R. Daquay began working for
Electric Boat as a Quality Control Analyst in May of 1975.
(Pl.'s Compl. ¶ 5, ECF No. 1-1.) In this capacity,
he was occasionally asked to perform duties beyond the scope
of his contractual obligations. (Id. at ¶ 6.)
On these occasions, Daquay performed the requested services
as directed, sometimes with and other times without the
promise of additional compensation. (Id. at
late 1970s, it was discovered that a number of boats Electric
Boat had built for the United States Navy had structural
defects. (Id. at ¶ 8.) Electric Boat requested
$1.5 billion from the federal government to correct the
problem. (Id.) This request was promptly denied
because Electric Boat was ostensibly at fault for the
structural issues. (Id. at ¶ 9.) Supervisors
then told Daquay that it would be “worth his
while” to investigate the structural issues, and that
Electric Boat would be “more than grateful” for
his doing so. (Id. at ¶¶ 10-15, 22.)
research and testing, Daquay discovered that Electric Boat
was not in fact at fault, but rather third parties had
supplied low-grade steel, which was proven to be the cause of
the boats' structural issues. (Id. at
¶¶ 10-11.) Daquay never received any form of
additional compensation for these services. (Id. at
¶ 16.) But Electric Boat received $850 million from the
federal government after a report was submitted to Congress
on December 22, 1979, proving Electric Boat was not at fault.
(Id. at ¶ 12.)
continued to work for Electric Boat until August 2007, when
his employment was terminated. (See id. at ¶
5.) At the time of termination, he received only his final
paycheck, which did not include any form of additional
compensation. (See id. at ¶ 16.)
August 31, 2017, Daquay brought suit to recover, inter alia,
the money Electric Boat allegedly promised him for his
aforementioned work in the late 1970s.
Boat raises a statute of limitations defense as to all
counts. (Mot. to Dismiss 4); see R.I. Gen. Laws
§ 9-1-13(a). Daquay claims that his suit is timely
because the applicable ten-year statute of limitations began
to run from the termination of his employment in August of
2007, when the breach came to light. (Pl.'s Resp. to Mot.
to Dismiss (“Response”) 6, ECF No. 9.) Electric
Boat, on the other hand, argues that the suit is untimely
because the statute of limitations began to run at the time
of the breach in 1979. (Mot. to Dismiss 1.) Electric Boat has
the better argument.
of limitation “are designed to promote justice by
preventing surprises through the revival of claims that have
been allowed to slumber until evidence has been lost,
memories have faded, and witnesses have disappeared.”
Ryan v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, 941
A.2d 174, 181 (R.I. 2008) (quoting Order of R.R.
Telegraphers v. Ry. Express Agency, 321 U.S. 342, 348-49
(1944)). Generally, in Rhode Island, “a cause of action
accrues and the applicable statute of limitations begins to
run at the time of injury to the aggrieved party.”
Hill v. R.I. State Emps.' Ret. Bd., 935 A.2d
608, 616 (R.I. 2007) (quotation marks omitted). Moreover,
“neither the ignorance of a person of his right to
bring an action nor the mere silence of a person liable to
the action prevents the running of the statute of
limitations.” Swiss v. Eli Lilly & Co.,
559 F.Supp. 621, 624 (D.R.I. 1982) (quoting Kenyon v.
United Elec. Rys., 151 A. 5, 8 (R.I. 1930)).
are exceptions to this rule, such as “‘where a
defendant conceals from a plaintiff by actual
misrepresentation the existence of a cause of action, '
in which case ‘said cause of action is deemed to accrue
at the time the plaintiff first discovers its
existence.'” Waters v. Walt Disney World
Co., 237 F.Supp.2d 162, 167 (D.R.I. 2002) (quoting
Kenyon, 151 A. at 8). This exception is limited,
however, as “[m]ere silence or a failure to volunteer
information does not constitute an ‘actual
misrepresentation.'” Smith v.
O'Connell, 997 F.Supp. 226, 238 (D.R.I. 1998)
(quoting Kenyon, 151 A. at 8). Rather, “[w]hat
is required is ‘some express representation or other
affirmative conduct amounting in fact to such a
representation which could reasonably deceive another and
induce him to rely thereon to his disadvantage.'”
Id. (quoting Caianiello v. Shatkin, 82 A.2d
826, 829 (R.I. 1951)).
avers that the statute of limitations began to run on his
claims in 2007 when Electric Boat did not include additional
compensation in his final paycheck. (Response 6.) But this is
not when the alleged injury occurred and the cause of action
accrued, which was when payment was allegedly due and not
remitted. See Bader v. Alpine Ski Shop, Inc., 505
A.2d 1162, 1166-67 (R.I. 1986). The time at which payment
would have been due Daquay cannot be determined by recourse
to contractual language. Where, as here, an alleged contract
does not specify a time of performance, contract law states
that performance should be completed within a reasonable
time. See Thermo Electron Corp. v. Schiavone Constr.
Co., 958 F.2d 1158, 1164 (1st Cir. 1992) (“Since
the contract contained no specific time limits, nor any
clause stating that time was ‘of the essence, '
[plaintiff] had a ‘reasonable time' within which to
perform . . . .”) (emphasis omitted)); Restatement
(Second) of Contracts § 33 illus. 1d (Am. Law Inst.
1981) (citations omitted) (“Where the contract calls
for a single performance such as the rendering of a service
or the delivery of goods, the time for performance is a
alleges that, on December 22, 1979, a report was submitted to
Congress that demonstrated Electric Boat was not entirely at
fault for the boats' structural issues. (Compl. ¶
12.) He further alleges that this report was “centrally
based on the critical information [he] generated.”
(Id.) Following submission of this report, Electric
Boat received $850 million from the federal government.
(Id.) Based on Daquay's own rendition of the
facts, he rendered services in this matter no later than
December 22, 1979, as this was the date that proved Electric
Boat's lack of fault. (See id.) Consequently,
the additional compensation must have been due at a
reasonable time ...