Justia Consumer Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Rhode Island Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff, Midland Funding, LLC, in these consolidated credit card debt collection appeals, holding that Defendant failed to set forth facts that established a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the credit card accounts were in fact her accounts.The complaints in this case sought to recover the unpaid balance due on two credit card accounts. The district court granted summary judgment for Plaintiff in both cases. On appeal, Defendant argued that there existed an issue of fact as to the ownership of the accounts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the evidence was insufficient to give rise to a genuine issue of material fact. View "Midland Funding LLC v. Raposo" on Justia Law

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In this appeal concerned two City of Cranston ordinances that promulgated a ten-year suspension of the cost-of-living adjustment benefit for retirees of the Cranston Police Department and Cranston Fire Department who were enrolled in the City's pension plan the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court finding in favor of Defendants, holding that the superior court did not err in its judgment.The Cranston Police Retirees Action Committee (Plaintiff) brought this action against the City, Mayor Allan Fung, and members of the Cranston City Council (collectively, Defendants) alleging claims ranging from constitutional violations to statutory infringements. A superior court justice found in favor of Defendants on all counts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the superior court justice did not err by (1) finding that the ordinances did not violate the Contract Clauses of the United States and Rhode Island Constitutions; (2) applying the burden of proof in the Contract Clause analysis; (3) applying expert testimony; (4) granting summary judgment for the City as to Takings Clause, res judicata, and Rhode Island Open Meetings Act claims; and (5) ruling on an assortment of motions and in her findings of fact and conclusions of law. View "Cranston Police Retirees Action Committee v. City of Cranston" on Justia Law

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Defendant was in debt under a credit card account that he opened and maintained with Bank of America, N.A. Bank of America assigned the right to collect the debt to CACH, LLC, and CACH filed a complaint seeking to recover $10,288.04 from Defendant. After CACH filed a motion for summary judgment, Defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to the arbitration provision of the Cardholder Agreement entered into between Defendant and Bank of America. The hearing justice denied Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration because he had failed to raise a right to arbitrate as an affirmative defense in his answer. The justice then granted summary judgment in favor of CACH. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the hearing justice did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration; and (2) the superior court did not err in granting CACH’s motion for summary judgment. View "CACH, LLC v. Potter" on Justia Law

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Because Property Owner failed to pay real estate taxes on his property, the Town held a tax sale of Property Owner's property. Buyer purchased the property after Property Owner defaulted on the action. The superior court subsequently granted Buyer's petition to foreclose Property Owner's right of redemption to the property. Subsequently, a judgment was entered declaring the prior tax sale void and vesting the property back to Property Owner. Property Owner then executed a warranty deed conveying the property to his Sister. Concurrently, a stipulation was entered as an order of the superior court vesting title in the property to Buyer. Thereafter, Property Owner and Sister filed the instant action, seeking a declaratory judgment invalidating the stipulation order. The superior court determined that Buyer was the proper record title holder of the property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a superior court judgment cannot "re-vest" title to property back to a prior owner once that owner has been defaulted in a petition to foreclose his right of redemption and a final decree has been entered. View "Medeiros v. Bankers Trust Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Kathy Lamarque executed a mortgage with defendant Centreville Savings Bank. After defaulting on another loan for a second mortgage on the same property, defendant disclosed the balance of plaintiff's mortgage to the purchaser of plaintiff's property at a foreclosure sale. Plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant for negligence and a violation of plaintiff's privacy rights. At trial, defendant moved for a judgment on partial findings, which the trial court granted. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that her right to privacy was violated by defendant and that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and defendant's privacy policy created a legal duty to protect private information from disclosure. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that under the facts of the case, plaintiff's privacy rights were not violated and defendant did not breach its duty to plaintiff.

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Citizens Bank filed a complaint against Howard Issler, seeking to recover funds allegedly owned to the bank in connection with a line of credit that the bank had extended to him. After judgment was entered against Howard and execution was returned unsatisfied, Citizens filed for a writ of attachment. Kymberly Issler, who had a joint account with Howard, then intervened in the civil action, objecting to the attachment and to the release of any funds to Citizens. A hearing officer granted the attachment. Citizens then filed a motion to charge garnishee to reach funds in the personal account. After a hearing, an order was entered granting Citizens' motion to charge garnishee and denying Kymberly's objection to the attachment of funds. The Supreme Court affirmed, concluding that, according to precedent, a bank has a right to use funds in a joint account to set off the debt of one account holder, regardless of whether that holder contributed any funds to the account. The Court then held that Citizens had a right to set off Howard's debt with the funds in the joint account to which he and Kymberly were signatories.