LUDOVICO PERELLA, MARY PERELLA, NICOLE FERRARA, individually and as guardian and next friend of KELSEY FERRARA, a minor, and MICHAEL FERRARA
THE GENERAL COUNCIL OF THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD, SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND DISTRICT OF THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD, INC., RADIANT CHRISTIAN ASSEMBY OF GOD, INC. JOHN DOE and JOHN DOE CORPORATION, ALIAS
Providence County Superior Court
Plaintiff: Amato A. DeLuca, Esq.
Defendant: Kathleen M. Guilfoyle, Esq.; John R. Mahoney,
Esq.; Rajaram Suryanarayan, Esq.
Radiant Christian Assembly of God, Inc. (Radiant Christian)
and Southern New England District of the Assemblies of God,
Inc. (Southern New England District) moved for this Court to
apply the substantive law of the country of Bangladesh in the
instant action. Ludovico Perella and Mary Perella
(Plaintiffs) object to Defendants' motion to apply
Facts and Travel
December 31, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint alleging that
Ludovico Perella (Ludovico),  a resident of Bristol, Rhode
Island, suffered injuries in a car crash while on a mission
trip in Bangladesh. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 22. Mary Perella
(Mary), also a resident of Bristol, Rhode Island and the wife
of Ludovico, has brought a loss of consortium claim. Compl.
¶¶ 2-3. Defendants are Radiant Christian, the Rhode
Island church that planned the mission trip (Comp. ¶
14); the General Council of the Assemblies of God (General
Council), a Missouri Corporation (Compl. ¶ 6); and
Southern New England District, a Massachusetts corporation
(Compl. ¶ 7). Radiant Christian is part of the Southern
New England District and both fall under the governance of
the General Council. Compl. ¶¶ 10, 13, 14.
2011, Radiant Christian's minister, Larry Mangone (Pastor
Mangone), planned a missionary trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Radiant Christian's Mot. Apply Bangladeshi Law (Mem.) 5.
He did so by coordinating the logistics of the trip with
Larry Smith (Smith), the director of the A.G.
Mission. Plaintiffs' daughter is a member of
Radiant Christian who planned to go on the mission and
Ludovico decided to accompany her. Pls.' Mem. 3. In order
to prepare for the trip, Ludovico met with Pastor Mangone to
learn about the trip and the obligations of the participants.
Id. During this trip, the missionaries stayed in
lodging provided by A.G. Mission and were provided with
transportation to missionary sites by A.G. Mission. Radiant
Christian's Mem. 5. The trip cost $2, 000 for each
participant. Pls.' Mem. 3.
on the mission trip in Bangladesh, Ludovico was driven to
various locations in a vehicle that was purchased by the
General Council and then registered in Smith's name.
Pls.' Mem. 6. The vehicle was driven by Sushanto,
Smith's personal driver. Radiant Christian's Mem. 5.
On August 18, 2011, Sushanto was driving Ludovico and others
back from a visit to an orphanage when Sushanto collided into
the rear end of a truck that was pulled over on the side of
the road. Id. at 6. As a result of the accident,
Ludovico sustained severe injuries to his spinal cord and
back. Pls.' Mem. 7.
Complaint includes claims of vicarious liability, corporate
negligence/direct liability, and loss of consortium. Under
vicarious liability, Plaintiffs claim that Defendants had
substantial control over each other as well as Pastor
Mangone, Smith, and Sushanto and are liable for
Plaintiffs' injuries. Compl. 6, 10, 14-15. Under the
claim of corporate negligence/direct liability, Plaintiffs
claim that Defendants breached their duty to exercise
reasonable care to Plaintiffs "by implementing policies,
practices and/or procedures which jeopardized the safety of
individuals including the Plaintiffs and/or by not ensuring
that its policies, practice and/or procedures were properly
followed." Compl. 4-5, 9, 17.
Christian has moved to apply Bangladeshi law. Southern New
England District also moved to apply Bangladeshi law and
relies upon Radiant Christian's memorandum.
Standard of Review
presented with a Conflicts of Law question, the Court must
first determine if a "true conflict" exists between
the laws of the two states in question. See Nat'l
Refrigeration, Inc. v. Standen Contracting Co., Inc.,
942 A.2d 968, 973-74 (R.I. 2008). A "true
conflict" exists when each state retains an interest in
the application of its contradictory laws. Peavey Co. v.
M/V ANPA, 971 F.2d 1168, 1171 (5th Cir. 1992).
"true conflict" is found, the Court must apply an
interest-weighing approach with respect to choice-of-law
questions. Harodite Indus., Inc. v. Warren Elec.
Corp., 24 A.3d 514, 525 n.17 (R.I. 2011). When applying
the "interest-weighing approach," the Court
"'look[s] at the particular . . . facts and
determine[s] therefrom the rights and liabilities of the
parties in accordance with the law of the state that bears
the most significant relationship to the events and
the parties."' Id. at 534 (quoting
Cribb. v. Augustyn, 696 A.2d 285, 288 (R.I. 1997))
(emphasis in original).
interest-weighing approach mandates an examination of these
five factors: (1) predictability of result; (2) maintenance
of interstate and international order; (3) simplification of
the judicial task; (4) advancement of the forum's
governmental interests; and (5) application of the better
rule of law. Najarian v. Nat'l Amusements, Inc.,
768 A.2d 1253, 1255 (R.I. 2001). In addition, in a case
sounding in tort, the Court must consider four more factors:
"(a) the place where the injury occurred; (b) the place
where the conduct causing the injury occurred; (c) the
domicil, residence, nationality, place of incorporation and
place of business of the parties; and ...