County Superior Court
Raymond J. Pezzullo, Jr., Esq. For Plaintiff:
Sales, Esq. For Defendant:
the Court is the appeal from a judgment of the District Court
ordering Elizabeth Taylor (Defendant or Tenant) to pay 776
Hartford Avenue, LLC Mobile Home Park (Plaintiff or Landlord)
$2806.45 in rental monies. Jurisdiction is pursuant to
G.L.1956 § 9-12-10.
Facts and Travel
was held over three days on April 13, 2018, April 20, 2018,
and April 24, 2018. Plaintiff called three total witnesses
and Defendant called four witnesses. Katherine Duggan- owner
and manager of Plaintiff-testified on behalf of the
Plaintiff. Plaintiff also called two witnesses-Angelo
Palazzo, an electrician who has performed electrical services
for Plaintiff, and Christopher Brogan-who testified to the
issue of damages. The Defendant testified on her own behalf.
The defense also called three additional witnesses-Michael
Carnevale, Building Inspector and Zoning Official in the Town
of North Providence; Joshua Lebeau, the owner and operator of
Home Inspection by JML, a home inspection company; and Steven
Briggs-who primarily testified to the issue of damages.
Testimony of Katherine Duggan
Duggan is the owner and manager of Plaintiff. Plaintiff rents
a lot of land to Defendant where Defendant has placed her
mobile home. As the owner and manager of Plaintiff, it is Ms.
Duggan's responsibility to collect rent and execute
evictions. Ms. Duggan testified that Defendant owns a mobile
home that sits on lot seven (7) at 776 Hartford Avenue. Ms.
Duggan also testified that she sent notice to Defendant on
May 1, 2017, that an increase in rent would be imposed sixty
days from that date.
Duggan sent Defendant notice on September 27, 2017, with
respect to arrearage in rent. Ms. Duggan testified that, as
of that date, Defendant was in arrears on her rent for a
total of $1500-reflecting Defendant's unpaid rent for
three previous months. Ms. Duggan then established that,
since notice of arrearage had been sent to Defendant, rent
had not been paid and that rent was owed to Plaintiff from
July 2017 through April 2018.
cross-examination, it was determined that Ms. Duggan became
the owner of Plaintiff in November of 2016. Ms. Duggan
testified that once she became owner of the mobile home park,
Defendant indicated to her that she was having problems with
her mobile home due to the trailer not being level. Ms.
Duggan testified that Defendant believed the issue regarding
the leveling of the mobile home was due to the absence of a
concrete slab underneath the trailer.
Duggan was aware that Defendant had brought the leveling
issue to the attention of the former owner. Ms. Duggan
testified that she did not make any promises to repair the
trailer to Defendant, but did indicate that she would-and
did-have someone evaluate the trailer in the spring of 2017.
Upon inspection, Ms. Duggan testified that she told Defendant
that she would not install a concrete slab underneath
Defendant's trailer. Ms. Duggan then testified that
Defendant contacted her and indicated that she would not pay
rent-beginning in July of 2017- due to the issue with the
leveling of the trailer. Ms. Duggan also suggested that
Defendant's failure to pay rent was due in part to her
inability to afford the rent. However, this testimony was
contradicted by the fact that Defendant had deposited money
in an escrow account every month in the amount due for rent.
Duggan then testified that she was aware of Defendant's
claim that her trailer was becoming structurally damaged and
that Defendant sent her a detailed account of said damages.
Specifically, Ms. Duggan testified that she was aware of
cracks in the wall of the trailer, as well as decreased water
pressure in the trailer.
Testimony of ...