DANIEL S. HARROP, Plaintiff,
THE RHODE ISLAND DIVISION OF LOTTERIES; by and through Gerry S. Aubin, in his official capacity as Director; THE RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, by and through Marc A. Furcolo, in his official capacity as Acting Director; UTGR, INC. d/b/a TWIN RIVER; TWIN RIVER-TIVERTON, LLC d/b/a TIVERTON CASINO HOTEL; IGT NV, PLC; THE TOWN OF LINCOLN, and THE TOWN OF TIVERTON Defendants.
Plaintiff: Joseph S. Larisa, Jr., Esq.; Brandon S. Bell, Esq.
Defendant: Robert Corrente, Esq.; Michael W. Field, Esq.;
John Tarantino, Esq.; Nicole J. Benjamin, Esq.; Anthony
Desisto, Esq.; Justin T. Shay, Esq.; Giovanni D. Cicione,
Esq., ; Leah L. Miraldi, Esq.; Gerald J. Petros, Esq.;
Mitchel Edwards, Esq.
Rhode Island Department of Revenue, the State Lottery
Division of the State of Rhode Island Department of Revenue
(collectively, State Defendants), UTGR, Inc. d/b/a Twin
River, and Twin River-Tiverton, LLC d/b/a Tiverton Casino
Hotel (collectively, Defendants), joined by IGT NV, PLC, have
moved for an order dismissing Daniel S. Harrop's
(Plaintiff) Fourth Amended Complaint (Complaint). The
Plaintiff has objected and seeks a declaratory judgment that
the implementation of sports wagering and online sports
wagering without approval from Rhode Island voters violates
the Rhode Island Constitution.
Facts and Travel
filed the instant action on May 1, 2019 alleging that the
enactment of sports wagering and online/mobile sports
wagering violated article 6, section 22 of the Rhode Island
Constitution. See generally Third Am. Compl. Counts
I, II, and III. On September 8, 2019, this Court issued a
bench decision granting the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
for Lack of Standing and entered an Order to that effect on
September 16, 2019. However, on September 12, 2019, the
Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend Complaint for a fourth
time, and the Court granted leave to amend. In the Fourth
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff added allegations that he placed
a sports wager at Twin River-Tiverton in December 2018 on the
New England Patriots and lost the wager. See Compl.
Defendants move to dismiss the Complaint, claiming Plaintiff
still lacks standing to challenge the enactment of sports
wagering. Plaintiff asserts that he has standing to challenge
the enactment of sports wagering because he placed a sports
wager that was authorized pursuant to an unconstitutional
statute and suffered economic harm thereby.
Standard of Review
action brought pursuant to G.L. 1956 §§ 9-30-1
et seq., the Uniform Declaratory Judgements Act, the
Superior Court "lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate claims
. . . in the absence of an actual justiciable
controversy," which includes "a plaintiff who has
standing to pursue the action." Bowen v.
Mollis, 945 A.2d 314, 317 (R.I. 2008) (internal
citations omitted). As such, "[w]hen confronted with a
request for declaratory relief, the first order of business
for the trial justice is to determine whether a party has
standing to sue." Id.
as here, a plaintiff's standing to pursue the action is
"the focal point shifts to the claimant, not the claim,
and a court must determine if the plaintiff 'whose
standing is challenged is a proper party to request an
adjudication of a particular issue and not whether the issue
itself is justiciable' or, indeed, whether or not it
should be litigated." McKenna v. Williams, 874
A.2d 217, 226 (R.I. 2005) (quoting Flast v. Cohen,
392 U.S. 83, 99-100 (1968)).
has the burden to establish standing. See Blackstone
Valley Chamber of Commerce v. Public Utilities
Commission, 452 A.2d 931, 934 (R.I. 1982) ("One who
seeks review has the burden of setting the judicial machinery
in motion by establishing that he is aggrieved and has a
right to redress. . . .").
requirement of justiciability is one of the most basic
limitations on the power of this Court to review and issue
rulings." Haviland v. Simmons, 45 A.3d 1246,
1256 (R.I. 2012) (quoting State v. Beechum, 933 A.2d
687, 689 (R.I. 2007)). "For a claim to be justiciable,
two elemental components must be present: (1) a plaintiff
with the requisite standing and (2) 'some legal
hypothesis which will entitle the plaintiff to real and
articulable relief.'" N & M Properties, LLC
v. Town of West Warwick ex rel. Moore, 964 A.2d 1141,
1145 (R.I. 2009) (quoting Bowen, 945 A.2d at 317).