Joseph V. Cavanagh, III won summary judgment in Providence County Superior Court on behalf of a private equity fund manager achieving dismissal of all claims including for alleged tortious interference and civil RICO violations arising out of a $16M private equity investment in a Rhode Island business.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III achieved complete dismissal in United States District Court of all claims against a national hotel chain operating in Newport, Rhode Island pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Mary Cavanagh Dunn achieved a successful result against multiple defendants on behalf of an injured hockey player in a products liability action arising from an injury that occurred during a hockey game in Cranston, Rhode Island.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III achieved complete dismissal in United States District Court of all claims brought against two former executives of a Rhode Island financial services firm for alleged trade secret and noncompete violations.
Mary Cavanagh Dunn won summary judgment in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island on behalf of an internet blogger, successfully achieving dismissal of libel and Lanham Act claims brought by a corporate plaintiff arising from online publications.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III won the appeal in the Rhode Island Supreme Court affirming on all grounds a trial court decision in favor of owners of coastal Rhode Island real estate holdings barring easement claims of adjacent owners.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III secured access easement and development rights in Washington County Superior Court on behalf of landlocked property in coastal Rhode Island community.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III achieved complete dismissal in United States District Court of all claims against an international software company pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2201 and 2202.
Mary Cavanagh Dunn moderated a panel discussion on “Success at a Law Firm and Becoming Partner” as part of the Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association’s 2018 CLE series.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III won dismissal in United States District Court on behalf of a Rhode Island municipality of all claims, including for alleged constitutional due process violations.
Mary Cavanagh Dunn tried a personal injury case to a jury in Kent County Superior Court on behalf of a corporate defendant that resulted in a verdict of no liability for the plaintiff’s loss of consortium claim and a finding of comparative negligence that rendered a verdict that was less than the claimed medical expenses.
October 25, 2017
Robert Cavanagh secures Rule 12(b)(1) dismissal for failure to meet amount-in-controversy requirement
Blish & Cavanagh’s Robert Cavanagh was successful in his representation of Liquid Outcome, LLC, a digital marketing and advertising company, sued by its customer, Insurance Brokers West, Inc., an insurance brokerage based in California, for breach of contract. Securing dismissal of the case, Attorney Cavanagh demonstrated to the District Court and the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that Insurance Brokers’ claims could not meet the $75,000 amount-in-controversy requirement for diversity jurisdiction.
In a motion to dismiss, Attorney Cavanagh argued that amended terms in the parties’ services contract limited Insurance Brokers’ potential damages to $22,550 – far less than the $140,000 it claimed, and that it was precluded from recovering other kinds of damages, as well as attorneys’ fees, that might push its claims over the $75,000 threshold. Judge John McConnell agreed and issued a Memorandum and Order dismissing the case, which Insurance Brokers appealed. After briefing and oral argument, Attorney Cavanagh convinced the First Circuit that he had established “to a legal certainty” that Insurance Brokers could not meet the amount-in-controversy requirement.
The First Circuit’s Opinion is available at Insurance Brokers West, Inc. v. Liquid Outcome, LLC, No. 17-1372, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 20761 (1st Cir. Oct. 23, 2017). The Judgment will be res judicata in any subsequent action in state court. Apart from its significance to Blish & Cavanagh’s client, the First Circuit’s Opinion and Judgment are a reminder that federal courts will vigilantly reject claims that do not meet the considered requirements of federal jurisdictional law.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III achieved complete dismissal in Kent County Superior Court of all claims against the CEO and founding shareholders of a Rhode Island financial services firm for alleged breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III achieved a successful recovery on behalf of an injured party in a motor vehicle accident in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III achieved complete dismissal and successful result in United States District Court of all claims against former executive of Rhode Island-based children’s products manufacturer for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, noncompete and trade secret violations.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III won dismissal in United States District Court on behalf of a Rhode Island municipality of all claims alleging due process violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Joe Cavanagh Presents Before Rhode Island Supreme Court
On March 2, 2016, Joe Cavanagh presented an argument before the Rhode Island Supreme Court in a case that was the first serious test of the 2012 amendment to the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act. This change allowed the use of a balancing test, between the public interest and the legitimate privacy rights of individuals, in determining whether law enforcement records could be released.
Joe represented the Providence Journal, a long time client of Blish & Cavanagh, which had sued the R.I. State Police for their refusal to release the records from their investigation of a high school graduation party on property owned by then-Governor Lincoln Chafee. This party had been hosted by the Governor’s 18 year-old son, Caleb, and an 18 year-old woman who attended was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. A 3 month state police investigation ensued, and Caleb Chafee was charged with and pleaded to a violation of the state’s social host law.
The lower court decision upheld the state police refusal to release these records on the basis that any disclosure would be an unwarranted invasion of the privacy interests of people involved in the police records and the public interest would not be advanced by disclosure. On appeal, the Journal contended that the lower court took a too-narrow view of the issues and failed to property weigh the public’s substantial interest in learning how the police had conducted its investigation, given that the Governor appoints the head of the state police and the state police also provide personal security for the governor and his family.
June 16, 2015
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III achieved a successful recovery on behalf of an injured operator of a motorcycle in a motor vehicle accident in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
Smithfield Zoning Board Decision
On June 16, 2015, the Rhode Island Superior Court upheld a decision of the Smithfield Zoning Board denying a variance which would have allowed construction of a house, garage, and deck on environmentally sensitive property abutting the Woonasquatucket River. The Court found that the Zoning Board correctly determined that the proposed project would conflict with provisions of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. Ed Alves represented the Zoning Board before the Superior Court in his capacity as Smithfield Town Solicitor with the able assistance of Bob Cavanagh and Tom Alves.
The full text of Superior Court Justice Susan McGuirl’s decision in Folco v. Zoning Board of Review of the Town of Smithfield, C.A. No. PC 2013-3267 can be read by clicking here (www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/SuperiorCourt/Superior Decisions/13-3267.pdf).
April 10, 2015
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III won at trial in Washington County Superior Court confirmation of existing access rights and complete dismissal of all claims against the owners of coastal Rhode Island real estate holdings including for easements and riparian rights.
Woonsocket Supplemental Tax Litigation
Ed Alves led a team of Blish & Cavanagh attorneys in the successful defense of the $2,500,000 supplemental tax levied by the Woonsocket Budget Commission for Woonsocket Fiscal Year 2013. The supplemental tax was an essential component of the Budget Commission’s Five-Year Plan to return Woonsocket to fiscal stability. The tax was challenged in Providence County Superior Court by 179 taxpayers on constitutional and statutory grounds. If the supplemental tax had been declared illegal, the State would have been required to appoint a receiver for the City of Woonsocket. Blish & Cavanagh attorneys, Joe Cavanagh, III, Bob Cavanagh and Tom Alves all provided valuable assistance in defense of this suit.
The full text of Superior Court Justice Netti Vogel’s decision in Cournoyer, et al v. City of Woonsocket Budget Commission, et al, C.A. No. PC 2013-4082 can be read by clicking here. (www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/Superior Decisions/13-4082.pdf.)
Mary Cavanagh Dunn achieved a successful resolution on behalf of two siblings in a 4 year probate dispute after winning summary judgment on their breach of fiduciary claim in South Kingstown Probate Court and Washington County Superior Court.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, Jr. and Joseph V. Cavanagh, III won summary judgment in United States District Court on behalf of a Rhode Island hospital and health services network on its claims for declaratory judgment and breach of contract for $39M insurance coverage.
Westerly Beach Access Decision
September 04, 2014 Bill Landry successfully represented a group of Westerly landowners who were sued by the Rhode Island Attorney General, who claimed the general public had a dedicated right of access to use a portion of the beach they owned. This dispute related to an approximately 2 mile long stretch of beach, between 80 and 120 feet deep, along the Atlantic Ocean in the Misquamicut beach area. The Attorney General sought a declaratory judgment that the general public had a right of access to this strip of beach based on a public easement created by the recording of a 1909 plat plan and indenture which had labeled the disputed area as “Beach”. The State also sought an injunction to prevent our clients from interfering with this alleged public right of access in any way, including the erection of fences across the Beach area.
Following 11 days of trial, submission of briefs, and oral argument, Justice Stern issued a decision on September 4, 2014 on the issue of whether there was an offer of easement. He identified 3 core legal issues which needed to be decided: (1) whether the so-called platters, who signed the recorded plat and owned some but not all of the land designated as Beach in the plat, had the power to dedicate the entire Beach area as an easement; (2) whether the easement could have been dedicated to the public by means of the 1909 plat; and (3) whether the platters intended to offer such an easement to the general public and whether the plat and/or indenture clearly and unambiguously manifested that intent. Finding in favor of the landowners on all three of these legal issues, Justice Stern denied the Attorney General’s request for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.
The full text of this decision, in the matter of Peter Kilmartin v. Joan Barbuto, et al., Washington Superior Court C.A. No. WB-12-0579, can be read by clicking here.
Joseph V. Cavanagh, III won on appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on behalf of Rhode Island municipality complete dismissal of all claims of a municipal employee, including for alleged violations of the Rhode Island Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.