ROBERT ESTRELLA, as the Executor of the Estate of Armando Damiani and the Executor of the Estate of Lillian Estrella, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL DAMIANI, NAVIGANT CREDIT UNION, STEVEN DAMIANI, RICHARD A. RANONE and JANNEY MONTGOMERY SCOTT LLC, Defendants.
Plaintiff: Thomas L. Mirza, Esq.
Defendant: Michael Marino, Esq.; Paul D. Ragosta, Esq.; David
L. Ward, Esq.; Kristin B. Pettey, Esq.
Steven Damiani (Steven), moves this Court for an order
determining those issues which are arbitrable and those that
are nonarbitrable, severing the arbitrable issues, or,
alternatively, staying this judicial proceeding in its
entirety pending the outcome of arbitration between Janney
Montgomery Scott LLC (Janney) and Armando Damiani (Mandy).
Advancing similar arguments, Defendants, Janney and Richard
A. Ranone (Ranone), move this Court for an in limine
order excluding evidence concerning (1) the validity of
Mandy's account with Janney (Janney Account) and (2) the
validity of two disputed Transfer on Death forms (TODs). The
Plaintiff, Robert Estrella (Estrella), in his capacity as
Executor of Lillian Estrella's (Lillian) Estate and
Mandy's Estate, has objected to the Defendants'
January 8, 2018, Estrella filed his First Amended Complaint
(Amended Complaint) in his executory capacity. The Amended
Complaint asserts various claims including the following:
Count XI: Declaratory Judgment (Both Estates v. Steven,
Ranone, and Janney);
Count XII: Conversion (Both Estates v. Steven, Ranone, and
Count XIII: Tortious Interference with Inheritance
(Lillian's Estate v. Steven, Ranone, and Janney);
Count XIV: Civil Conspiracy (Both Estates v. Steven, Ranone,
Count XV: Violation of R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-2 (Both
Estates v. Steven, Ranone, and Janney);
Count XVI: Breach of Fiduciary Duty (Mandy's Estate v.
Ranone and Janney);
Count XVII: Violation of R.I. Gen. Laws § 6-13.1-5.2
(Mandy's Estate v. Ranone and Janney); and
Count XVIII: Constructive Trust (Both Estates v. Steven).
and Ranone moved to compel arbitration of Estrella's
claims based on an arbitration clause (2016 Clause) contained
in the Janney "onboarding" paperwork, which
purported to transfer into the Janney Account some of
Mandy's assets previously held with a different financial
institution. Pl.'s Ex. A at 1. Janney and Ranone argued
that because Estrella's claims were subject to the 2016
Clause, this case needed to be dismissed or, at the very
least, stayed pending arbitration. Id. at 12
("The FAA requires that where issues before the court
are arbitrable, the court shall stay the trial of the action
but the court may dismiss, rather than stay, a case when all
of the issues before the court are arbitrable.").
Estrella opposed the motion, arguing the 2016 Clause was
unenforceable because the onboarding paperwork was the
product of an unconscionable procedure. Pl.'s Ex. B at 6.
Estrella also argued that even if arbitration were
appropriate as to Janney, a stay should not issue because he
had asserted some nonarbitrable claims. Id. at 12.
this Court issued a decision or held a hearing on the
conscionability of the bargaining process, Janney and Ranone
discovered a separate, 2009 arbitration agreement (2009
Agreement) entered between Mandy and Janney. Pl.'s Ex. C
at 14. Based on the 2009 Agreement, Janney and Ranone again
moved to compel arbitration (irrespective of the validity of
the onboarding paperwork) and argued that the remainder of
the case needed to be dismissed or stayed. Estrella again
opposed the motion. Pl.'s Opp'n to Defs.' Mot.
Dismiss and Compel Arbitration. On May 1, 2018, Judge
Silverstein issued a bench decision in which he did not grant
Janney and Ranone's request for a stay,  denied the
request to compel Ranone's claims to arbitration, and
ordered Estrella's claims against Janney to arbitration.
Order ¶¶ 1-3, May 8, 2018. Since Judge