Superior Court Providence County
Plaintiff: Michael B. Grant, Esq.
Defendant: Gerard B. Cobleigh, Esq.; Carly B. Iafrate, Esq.
case is before the Court on the State of Rhode Island
Department of Corrections' (DOC) Motion to Vacate the
October 27, 2011 Arbitration Award (the Award). The Rhode
Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers (RIBCO)
simultaneously moves to confirm. The Award sustained a
grievance by RIBCO on the grounds that the DOC violated the
just cause provision of the parties' collective
bargaining agreement (the CBA) when it terminated the
employment of a correctional officer, Anthony Marshall.
Jurisdiction is pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 28-9-18.
to March 9, 2011, Mr. Marshall served twenty years as a
correctional officer at the Adult Correctional Institution
(ACI) (Award 12). On April 23, 2010, East Providence police
officers arrested and criminally charged Mr. Marshall with
domestic simple assault and battery (the East Providence
charge) following an altercation with his estranged wife that
occurred on January 31, 2010. Id. at 7. After his
arrest and having agreed to conditions for Mr. Marshall's
release on bail, the court released Mr. Marshall on his own
on September 14, 2010, West Warwick police officers arrested
Mr. Marshall and charged him with domestic simple assault and
battery and domestic disorderly conduct (the West Warwick
charges) following a separate incident involving his
girlfriend. Id. at 7. As a result of the West
Warwick charges, Mr. Marshall was presented as a bail
violator on the East Providence charge. Id. On
September 28, 2010, the East Greenwich police arrested Mr.
Marshall based on a complaint made by his girlfriend for a
third domestic altercation that occurred on August 24, 2010
(the East Greenwich charge). Id. That same day, Mr.
Marshall appeared in Superior Court and admitted to violating
the conditions of bail with respect to the East Providence
charge. Mr. Marshall also pled guilty to the West Warwick
charge of domestic disorderly conduct. In light of Mr.
Marshall's admissions, the District Court modified his
bail on the East Providence charge from personal recognizance
to $5000 bail with surety. However, Mr. Marshall was
ultimately remanded to the ACI pending a bail violation
hearing when the East Greenwich charge was filed.
October 14, 2010, after spending sixteen days in the ACI, Mr.
Marshall returned to court for his bail violation hearing on
the East Providence charge. Id. at 7-8. Mr. Marshall
admitted to violating the conditions of his bail and the
hearing judge sentenced him to serve thirty days at the ACI,
retroactive to the day he was taken into custody, September
28, 2010. Id. at 8. Mr. Marshall spent the duration
of his sentence in isolation at the ACI's Intake Center
as a preventative measure taken to reduce his exposure to the
general population. Id.at 8. He was subsequently
released on October 28, 2010, after serving the thirty day
December 1, 2010, Mr. Marshall was found not guilty of the
West Warwick domestic assault charge but guilty of the
domestic disorderly conduct charge.  Id. He was later
found not guilty of both the East Providence charge and the
East Greenwich charge. Id. at 8. Shortly after Mr.
Marshall resolved his criminal matters, the DOC terminated
him from his position as a correctional officer, effective
March 9, 2011. Id. at 6. RIBCO then filed a
grievance against the DOC on Mr. Marshall's behalf, which
led the parties to arbitration. Id.
hearing on August 24, 2011, the Arbitrator found that the DOC
did not have just cause to terminate Mr. Marshall's
employment based on the terms of the CBA. Id. at 6,
9. Ultimately, the Arbitrator concluded that Mr. Marshall
should be "reinstated . . . and made whole for any
losses of compensation or benefits." Id. at 19.
The DOC subsequently filed the present Motion to Vacate the
Arbitration Award. In response, RIBCO moved to confirm the
well settled that "the authority of the judiciary to
'review . . . the merits of an arbitration award is
extremely limited.'" Town of N. Providence v.
Local 2334 Int'l Ass'n of Fire Fighters,
AFL-CIO, 763 A.2d 604, 605 (R.I. 2000) (quoting
State Dep't of Mental Health, Retardation,
and Hospitals v. R.I. Council 94, 692 A.2d 318, 322
(R.I. 1997)). Nonetheless,
"[u]nder § 28-9-18(a), an arbitration award must be
vacated if (1) it was procured by fraud; (2) the arbitrator
exceeded his or her powers or failed to make a mutual, final,
and definite award upon the subject matter submitted; or (3)
there was no valid submission or contract and the objection
has been raised under certain conditions." State,
Dep't of Corr. v. R.I. Bhd. of Corr. Officers, 64
A.3d 734, 739 (R.I. 2013).
"[a]n arbitrator exceeds his or her powers 'by
resolving a non-arbitrable dispute or if the award fails to
'draw its essence' form the agreement, if it was not
based upon a 'passably plausible' interpretation
thereof, if it manifestly disregarded a contractual
provision, or if it reached an irrational result.'"
City of E. Providence v. United Steelworkers of Am.,
Local 15509, 925 A.2d 246, 252 (R.I. 2007) (quoting
Woonsocket Teachers' Guild, Local 951, AFT v.
Woonsocket Sch. Comm., 770 A.2d 834, 837 (R.I. 2001)).