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September is National Sepsis Awareness Month. This year, HCC proudly celebrates the enactment of Rhode Island House Bill 5869, which establishes improved protocols for the early detection and treatment of sepsis. The bill is the culmination of a tireless, four-year effort by HCC’s Tara Cirella, her husband, Skip, and the Gianna Cirella Memorial Foundation to improve health outcomes for Rhode Islanders suffering from this deadly condition.

HCC is proud to have partnered with DCRI charitable programs and DRI Cares to support Tara, Skip, and the Gianna Cirella Memorial Foundation in their efforts to make this bill a reality. We hope that you will join us by wearing purple in recognition of their achievement and to promote continued research and advocacy for this special cause.

To make a donation to support the Gianna Cirella Memorial Foundation’s ongoing work, please visit https://www.gistrong.org/donate.

2023-09-29T14:09:38-04:00September 28th, 2023|

HCC Participates in The Fifth Annual Edition of Tour de Rhody

Despite the rain, it was a fantastic day cycling on the unpaved fire roads surrounding the Scituate Reservoir. Tour de Rhody is a fundraising event hosted by the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Its mission is to support cutting edge research and cancer trials designed by Brown University Oncology Research Group. Great job Austin Hevey, for supporting such a great cause!

For more information regarding Tour de Rhody, please visit https://tourderhody.com/

2023-09-26T12:43:48-04:00September 26th, 2023|

HCC Welcomes Attorneys Austin M. Hevey and Brooke E. Pearsons

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP is pleased to announce that Attorneys Austin M. Hevey and Brooke E. Pearsons have joined the firm.

Austin M. Hevey is admitted in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Prior to joining the firm, Austin worked as a high school English teacher. He served as chairperson of his school’s accreditation committee and was responsible for curriculum writing and development. Austin is also an avid runner and cyclist. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island and the University of Massachusetts School of Law.

Brooke E. Pearsons is admitted in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Prior to joining the firm, Brooke served as a judicial law clerk at the Rhode Island Workers Compensation Court. While at law school, Brooke served as an editor for the Law Review. She Graduated from Roger Williams University and Roger Williams School of Law.

2023-09-20T16:49:07-04:00September 20th, 2023|

Higgins Cavanagh & Cooney Attorney Participates in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Forum

HCC attorney Melissa Horne recently participated in a Legal Clinic hosted by the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program for its Community College of Rhode Island cohort. The clinic offered small business owners an opportunity to participate in a discussion led by a panel of three local attorneys about legal challenges facing small businesses today. Ms. Horne also addressed the participants’ specific legal questions about contractual issues and statutory and regulatory concerns.

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program provides business education, support services and pathways to capital for growth-oriented entrepreneurs. The 12-week curriculum focuses on providing qualified small business managers with practical skills they can use to recognize new business opportunities, increase business growth and develop a customized growth plan for their business.

Attorney Horne has participated in several Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses Legal Clinics and counsels a number of clients who have completed the 10K Small Businesses program. If you are a business owner who has questions about business law issues, please contact Melissa at mhorne@hcc-law.com.

2023-08-28T12:40:23-04:00August 28th, 2023|

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP is pleased to announce that several attorneys from the firm were recently recognized in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®

Partners James Ruggieri, Paul CallaghanStephen Cooney, and Peter Garvey, Associate Brian Haynes and of Counsel Gerald DeMaria, were named in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.

In Rhode Island, James Ruggieri was recognized for Employment Law – Management and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants. Paul Callaghan was named for Insurance Law and Litigation – Insurance. Peter Garvey was listed for Insurance Law, Litigation – Insurance and Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants. Stephen Cooney was named for defending Mass Tort Class Actions – Defendants, Product Liability – Defendants, and Litigation – Insurance. Gerald DeMaria was recognized for Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants. Also, Brian Haynes was listed for Insurance Law. Also notable is this is the 20th year Gerald DeMaria has been listed as a Best Lawyer and the 5th for James Ruggieri. Newly recognized are Peter Garvey and Brian Haynes. Brian was previously listed in the Best Lawyers in America, Ones to Watch.

Finally, The Best Lawyers in America® also honors attorneys for their accomplishments and professional excellence early in their careers. The “Ones to Watch” selected from HCC were associates Adrianna Hughes and Meagan Bellamy. This is the second time Adrianna Hughes was recognized for Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers. Meagan Bellamy was listed for Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.

The Best Lawyers in America® is very selective and only features the top 6% of private practicing attorneys in the United States. These prestigious recognitions represent noteworthy accomplishments, and it is considered one of the leading peer-reviewed resources for choosing the finest legal talent. The selection process begins when lawyers are nominated for consideration. Those individuals who receive high peer reviews undergo an additional validation process. Only then can these attorneys be recognized by Best Lawyers.

2023-08-16T15:07:43-04:00August 16th, 2023|


On June 1, 2023, Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney attorneys successfully secured final judgment in favor of a popular nationwide supermarket chain during the early discovery phases of the litigation. The Providence County Superior Court granted final judgment in favor of Defendant where Plaintiff failed to appropriately respond to discovery requests in a timely manner. Notably, HCC was able to secure the favorable outcome less than 9 months from the date the lawsuit was filed, resulting in an efficient and cost-effective result for the client. The case was defended by Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney attorneys Peter Garvey, Adrianna Hughes, and Meagan Bellamy.

Plaintiff alleged personal injuries after a slip and fall in the store.  As litigation commenced, Plaintiff did not actively prosecute the claim nor respond to Defendant’s discovery requests. HCC aggressively defended the case by pushing toward dismissal through discovery motion practice. Defendant moved for Court Orders compelling the outstanding discovery and conditionally dismissing the case for Plaintiff’s noncompliance, which were all granted in Defendant’s favor. Eventually, Defendant sought entry of final judgment due to Plaintiff’s continued failure to respond. After a hearing on Defendant’s motion, the Court ruled that a complete dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims and judgment in Defendant’s favor was warranted.

In so doing, HCC continues its longstanding tradition of successful and zealous client advocacy throughout all phases of litigation.

For inquiries on the above, or any other defense need, contact Peter at pgarvey@hcc-law.com, Adrianna at ahughes@hcc-law.com,  and Meagan at mbellamy@hcc-law.com, our firm website, or Linkedin profile pages.

2023-06-16T13:41:48-04:00June 16th, 2023|


HCC is pleased to announce the addition of Todd D. Amaral as a law clerk in our Providence office. Todd is a rising 3L at Roger Williams University School of Law where he is a member of the Law Review Editorial Board, Honors Program, and a two-time Sea Grant Law Fellow. He graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts in International relations and received his MBA from Providence College. Previously, Todd worked in corporate finance, internal audit, and fraud prevention. Welcome, Todd! We are proud to have you on board!

2023-05-31T13:14:22-04:00May 31st, 2023|

HCC participates in Annual 5k

It was a beautiful Mother’s Day celebrating the annual Gianna Cirella Memorial 5k race/walk with both past and present HCC team members. It was a great cause, with great people, and a great day to share with everyone.

For more information regarding this very worthwhile charity for sepsis awareness, please visit gistrong.org.

2023-05-16T14:24:26-04:00May 16th, 2023|

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney Secures Directed Verdict for Parent Company of Restaurant Franchisee

HCC partner Peter E. Garvey and associate Adrianna Hughes recently secured a directed defense verdict in a six-figure premises liability “slip and fall” in Bristol County Superior Court in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The Honorable Judge Jackie Cowin, presiding, granted the motion on the basis that the defendant lacked the requisite control over the subject premises to be held liable for any negligence alleged by the plaintiff.

The plaintiff contended that the defendant, a parent company of the restaurant location where plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell, was negligent in failing to maintain the premises by allowing water to remain in an area of the restaurant. At trial, however, Garvey and HCC associate Adrianna Hughes established that the defendant was a mere parent company who lacked control or possession of the restaurant, and that plaintiff had also to prove any conduct by the defendant that warranted a “piercing of the corporate veil” to hold it liable through its subsidiary.

Ruling from the bench, the Honorable Judge Cowin agreed that plaintiff had failed to put forth any evidence that the defendant was negligent or that it should be held vicariously liable for any alleged negligence of its subsidiary. She directed a verdict in the defendant’s favor.

2023-04-24T15:41:33-04:00April 24th, 2023|