Justia Construction Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Rhode Island Supreme Court
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The issue before the Supreme Court in this petition was whether G.L. 1956 section 5-6-2 permits only licensed electricians to install underground hollow polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material that is devoid of any electrical wiring or conductors. The Board of Examiners of Electricians, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT), and the Superior Court all determined that 5-6-2 required a licensed electrician to perform such work. The petitioners, Reilly Electrical Contractors, Inc. (Relco), Michael McSheffrey, Robert Rutledge, John Brewer, and Ray Bombardier, disagreed and petitioned the Court for a writ of certiorari. Upon review of the statute at issue here, the Court affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court. View "Reilly Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. Rhode Island" on Justia Law

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The facts of this case were "clear and undisputed; in point of fact, they are a textbook example of a mechanic's-lien dispute." Plaintiff, GSM Industrial, Inc., was a subcontractor that entered into an agreement with AirPol, Inc., a general contractor, to install an air-pollution-control mechanism on property owned by Defendant Grinnell Fire Protection Systems Company, Inc. When AirPol failed to pay GSM the balance of its fee, GSM filed a complaint to enforce a mechanic's lien against Grinnell. The particular issue before the Supreme Court was whether a notarial acknowledgment in a subcontractor's notice of intention satisfied the statutory requirement that such a statement be "under oath." A justice of the Superior Court ruled that a Pennsylvania notary public's "acknowledgement" was insufficient to satisfy the oath requirement, and, as a result, the notice was fatally defective. Upon review, the Supreme Court agreed, and affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court. View "GSM Industrial, Inc. v. Grinnell Fire Protection Systems Company, Inc." on Justia Law

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When Plaintiffs' efforts to act as general contractors on a new home foundered because of faulty work performed by a framing subcontractor, they made a claim on the homeowner's insurance policy issued to them by Defendant, Peerless Insurance Company. After Defendant denied the claim, citing two exclusions in the policy, Plaintiffs filed a declaratory-judgment action against the carrier. A hearing justice determined that the terms of the policy were ambiguous. Consequently, the hearing justice construed the policy against the insurer and entered judgment for the plaintiffs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial justice did not err when she determined that the policy was ambiguous; and (2) Plaintiffs were entitled to coverage for the repairs that were necessary to bring their home into compliance with the applicable building code. View "Koziol v. Peerless Ins. Co." on Justia Law