Dawn M. Parrillo, Administratrix of the Estate of Daniel Santos
Rhode Island Hospital et al.
Providence County Superior Court (PC 14-91) Associate Justice
Maureen B. Keough
Plaintiff: Brian R. Cunha, Esq.
Defendant: Robert P. Landau, Esq.
Present: Suttell, C.J., Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.
plaintiff in this wrongful death action, Dawn M. Parrillo,
Administratrix of the Estate of Daniel Santos (Parrillo or
plaintiff), appeals from the entry of summary judgment in
favor of the defendant, Shea Gregg, M.D. A justice of the
Superior Court dismissed the action against Dr. Gregg because
the statutory period for filing a wrongful death action had
expired. After thoroughly reviewing the record and after
carefully considering the arguments of the parties, we affirm
the entry of summary judgment.
early hours of Friday, February 17, 2012, Daniel Santos was
returning home from an event celebrating his boss's
birthday when he lost control of his vehicle and collided
with a utility pole. Mr. Santos was transported to Rhode
Island Hospital, where he was admitted to the Trauma
Intensive Care Unit with multiple injuries, including six
fractured ribs and other injuries to his right knee and right
foot. Over the next three days, Santos's condition
stabilized, and he even showed some signs of improvement.
That improvement caused the medical staff to move Mr. Santos
to the medical floor for further monitoring and treatment.
There, he expressed his eagerness to go home.
proved to be fleeting, however, and Mr. Santos's
condition soon took a drastic turn for the worse. On February
21, Mr. Santos developed chest pain, and x-rays revealed that
excess fluid had accumulated around his left lung. Mr. Santos
was quickly transferred back to the Trauma Intensive Care
Unit, where a chest tube was inserted and antibiotics were
administered. That evening Mr. Santos suffered two cardiac
arrests, but he regained vital signs after two minutes of
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). He was then sedated in
an effort to improve oxygenation and ventilation.
Unfortunately, however, Mr. Santos's condition continued
to deteriorate. On the morning of February 22, his family
made the difficult decision to withdraw treatment. Mr. Santos
was pronounced dead later that morning.
17, 2012, Dawn Parrillo, Mr. Santos's domestic partner
and the administratrix of his estate, requested his medical
records from Rhode Island Hospital because she believed that
the records might reveal evidence of negligent
treatment. The hospital delivered those records three
months later, on August 23, 2012.
January 9, 2014, nearly two years after Mr. Santos died and
nearly a year and a half after she received his medical
records, Parrillo filed a complaint against the hospital, as
well as Charles Adams, M.D. and Whitney Young, M.D., two
physicians who had been involved in Mr. Santos's care,
alleging negligent treatment leading to the wrongful death of
Mr. Santos. Parrillo filed a first amended complaint
on February 20, 2014, which was nearly identical to the
original complaint, except that it omitted the allegations
against Dr. Young.
February 2015, three years after Mr. Santos's death,
Parrillo first propounded requests for production of
documents and interrogatories upon both Rhode Island Hospital
and Dr. Adams. Relevant to this appeal, the interrogatories
to Rhode Island Hospital requested that the hospital provide
the name, address, and a description of "each and every
person known to you to have treated the Plaintiff
[sic] while inpatient at the Rhode Island Hospital
from the time of his admission through to the time of his
death on February 22, 2012." The hospital responded with
a boilerplate objection that the interrogatory sought
privileged information and that it was "ambiguous,
overly broad and unduly burdensome." Nevertheless, the
hospital stated further that "[w]ithout waiving this
objection, Plaintiff is referred to the medical
November 2015, Parrillo propounded additional interrogatories
upon Rhode Island Hospital, asking the hospital to
"identify by name(s), address(es) and date(s) of care
and treatment of all physicians, including the attending
physicians responsible for the medical treatment and care
rendered to Mr. Santos from the date of his admission to the
Rhode Island Hospital on February 17, 2012, through February
22, 2012." The hospital also objected to this
interrogatory, again claiming that it was "overly broad,
irrelevant and burdensome[, ]" but again, without
waiving that objection, referred Parrillo to Mr. Santos's
"Rhode Island Hospital chart." Parrillo did not
file a motion to compel more responsive answers.
Rhode Island Hospital agreed to provide the names of the
attending physicians during Mr. Santos's hospital stay,
and, on February 3, 2016, the hospital sent Parrillo's
attorney an email identifying, for the first time, Dr. Gregg
as the attending physician in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit
on February 20, 2012. Armed with this information, on April 1,
2016, Parrillo moved for leave to amend her complaint a
second time. That motion was granted on May 9, 2016. The
second amended complaint added several new defendants,
including Dr. Gregg.
Gregg filed a motion for summary judgment on May 23, 2016,
claiming that the statute of limitations for wrongful death
had expired before he had been added as a defendant. The
Superior Court agreed, the motion was granted, and judgment
was entered soon thereafter in favor of Dr. Gregg. Parrillo
Court reviews a decision granting summary judgment de
novo. DeLong v. Rhode Island Sports Center,
Inc., 182 A.3d 1129, 1134 (R.I. 2018). In doing so, we
"[e]xamin[e] the case from the vantage point of the
trial justice who passed on the motion for summary
judgment" and "view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party[.]" Sullo v.
Greenberg, 68 A.3d 404, 406 (R.I. 2013) (quoting
Sacco v. Cranston School Department, 53 A.3d 147,
150 (R.I. 2012)). "Summary judgment is appropriate only
when the 'pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled ...