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Super Lawyers® Recognizes Eight HCC Attorneys

Super Lawyers has named eight attorneys from Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney as 2020 Super Lawyers and 2020 Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars. Super Lawyers is the national rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Only five percent of the lawyers in Rhode Island receive the Super Lawyer designation in any single year. No more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in each state obtain the designation of a Rising Star yearly.

2020 Super Lawyers

James A. Ruggieri (Personal Injury – Products, Insurance Coverage, General Litigation, Employment Litigation.)

Paul S. Callaghan (Construction Litigation, Insurance Coverage, Civil Litigation, Transportation, Maritime.)

Peter E. Garvey (Personal Injury – General, Professional Liability, Insurance Coverage, General Litigation, Business Litigation.)

Thomas R. Bender (Appellate, Pre-Trial and Post-Trial Litigation, Constitutional Law.)

2020 Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars

J. David Freel (General Litigation, Civil Litigation, Insurance Coverage, Construction Litigation, Professional Liability, Personal Injury – General. Recognized for six consecutive years.)

Kristina I. Hultman (Civil Litigation. Recognized for six consecutive years.)

Brian W. Haynes (General Litigation, Personal Injury – General, Insurance Coverage, Alternative Dispute Resolution.)

Kurt A. Rocha (Civil Litigation, Insurance Coverage, Class Action/Mass Torts.)

2020-10-13T16:09:24-04:00October 13th, 2020|

HCC Welcomes Attorney Tyler J. Pare

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney is pleased to announce that Attorney Tyler J. Pare has joined the firm.

Tyler Pare is an attorney in the Litigation Department at HCC. He is admitted to practice before the state courts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Before joining the firm, he served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Francis X. Flaherty of the R.I. Supreme Court, where he conducted extensive legal research for various civil and criminal cases. In the process, he also prepared memoranda and draft opinions for the justice on important pending matters.

Tyler graduated summa cum laude from Roger Williams School of Law, where he was also a member of the law review. During that time, he interned at the R.I. Supreme Court, R.I. Family Court, and the Office of the R.I. Attorney General. His B.A. degree was awarded magna cum laude from Saint Anselm College, during which time he also studied at King’s College London.

2021-03-23T15:35:40-04:00September 23rd, 2020|

R.I. Superior Court Operations Set Until Year’s End

Presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney has issued R.I. Superior Court Administrative Order 2020-08 governing court operations from September 6, 2020, to December 18, 2020.

The Superior Court will continue to work to safeguard participants and court personnel in the management of court calendars, hearings, and other matters in courthouses throughout the state. Matters that can be handled via remote WebEx technology will continue to minimize the number of persons gathered in courtrooms. These remote hearings and conferences are encouraged and will continue to be supported by personnel specifically trained for this purpose. Matters that cannot be handled remotely shall be conducted in-person.

  • Calendars will be staggered to ensure compliance within capacity limits established for courthouses and individual courtrooms to allow for appropriate distancing.
  • Jury trials are to resume on a limited basis in Providence County no sooner than September 21, 2020. However, no jury trial will be scheduled without the express, written authorization of the Presiding Justice, where a constitutional, statutory, or otherwise highly critical need has been demonstrated.
  • In-court bench trials shall continue with advanced notice to the Presiding Justice. The selected courtroom shall allow for social distancing based upon the number of participants. The bench, witness area as well as the clerk and stenographic workspace shall be outfitted with plexiglass and properly distanced from the counsel table. Plexiglass separators shall be provided to attorneys and/or litigants seeking additional separation at the counsel table as needed or upon request.

The complete court order is available here. If you have any questions regarding any of these measures, please do not hesitate to contact any of the partners at the firm.

2020-09-03T14:19:39-04:00September 3rd, 2020|

The Best Lawyers in America® Names James A. Ruggieri “Lawyer of The Year.” Five HCC Attorneys Honored


Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP, is pleased to announce that James A. Ruggieri, Stephen P. Cooney and Gerald C. DeMaria, Sr. were recently recognized in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

An additional accolade was afforded James Ruggieri, who was named “Lawyer of the Year” for his outstanding professional excellence in product liability litigation defense. This honor resulted from the consistently high evaluations that he received from his peers.

In fact, Best Lawyers® only highlights a single “Lawyer of the Year” in any given location and practice area based on the number of votes received from peers each year.

The Best Lawyers in America® is considered one of the leading peer-reviewed resources for selecting the best legal talent worldwide. For the current edition, only five percent of lawyers in private practice are selected as Best Lawyers®.

James Ruggieri was also named a Best Lawyer® in the category of employment law – management. Gerald C. DeMaria, Sr. was recognized on the list of Best Lawyers® in the areas of personal injury litigation – defendants and product liability litigation – defendants. In addition, Stephen P. Cooney, who maintains an active environmental law practice, was selected as a Best Lawyer® by his peers for his expertise in defending mass tort class actions.

The selection process begins when lawyers are nominated for consideration. Those who receive high peer reviews undergo an additional validation process. Only then can these attorneys be recognized by Best Lawyers®.

This year, Best Lawyers® also recognized attorneys who have demonstrated professional excellence early in their careers. The “Ones to Watch” selected from Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney were Brian W. Haynes and Kurt A. Rocha.

Brian Haynes was recognized in the areas of insurance law and personal injury litigation – defendants. He is admitted to practice in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Before joining Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, he practiced at a regional litigation firm headquartered in Boston and clerked for the in-house legal department of a multinational company.

He is a graduate of the College of William & Mary with a BA in history and received his JD, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School.

Kurt Rocha was selected for insurance law and personal injury litigation – defendants. He is admitted in three jurisdictions: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, as well as the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Prior to joining the firm, he worked at leading civil litigation law firms in New England.

He received his law degree from Roger Williams University, cum laude. He obtained his BS in Criminal Justice from the same institution, where he also received a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

James Ruggieri and Stephen Cooney are partners with the firm. Gerald DeMaria is Of Counsel. Brian Haynes and Kurt Rocha joined Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney as litigation attorneys in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

2020-08-24T05:05:16-04:00August 20th, 2020|

Paul S. Callaghan Profiled in the Providence Business News on Construction Law

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney partner Paul S. Callaghan was featured exclusively in the Providence Business News for a wide-ranging interview on the various construction law issues arising during this pandemic.

For almost 30 years he has represented local, national and international corporations, including construction companies and their insurers, in a wide variety of litigation matters – at trial and on appeal in the state and federal courts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and before arbitration panels.

He has handled a wide variety of construction-related matters including breach of contract, construction defect, bodily injury, property damage, indemnification, insurance, and surety cases.

In the area of insurance law, he has handled numerous cases involving extra contractual liability, claims handling, insurance fraud, breach of contract, coverage litigation, and bad faith.

A copy of this excellent article is available here. This same interview was also featured in a recent ALFA International publication.

2020-09-16T05:40:41-04:00August 14th, 2020|

Paul S. Callaghan: Construction Litigation Issues Amid COVID-19

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney partner Paul S. Callaghan has authored a timely and informative article titled, “Construction Litigation Issues Amid COVID-19.”

Paul addresses a range of issues of concern to the construction industry including the application of “liquidating damages” in contracts as well as “force majeure” or “Act of God” clauses that may excuse performance in certain instances.

He also comments upon current circumstances in the construction field that may give rise to litigation. Each of these points is covered in detail. The complete article is available here.

If you are interested in pursuing the topic of construction litigation further, please contact Paul at pcallaghan@hcc-law.com.

2020-11-20T13:27:58-05:00July 23rd, 2020|

James A. Ruggieri Continues on Law School Board

The Roger Williams University School of Law has recently named several new members to its board of directors. James Ruggieri continues to serve the law school in that capacity as he has continuously for multiple years.

The impressive roster of new and existing board members, representing a broad cross-section of the bench and bar, also includes:

Judge William E. Smith, U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell of the R.I. Supreme Court, Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Judge Brian Stern of the R.I. Superior Court, Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, Nicole Verdi, Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Gina M. Raimondo, and Kenneth E. Arnold, former Senior Vice President & General Counsel at Lifespan Corporation.

Dean Michael J. Yelnosky, whose term ends on June 30, said he is confident that the School of Law is in good hands. “I am thrilled for the law school that so many talented and committed individuals have agreed to join our Board of Directors,” Yelnosky said. “They are a remarkable group.”

The Roger Williams University School of Law, founded three decades ago, is the only law school in Rhode Island.

2020-08-25T18:26:31-04:00June 25th, 2020|

R.I. Superior Court Issues Continuing Safeguards for Hearings and Conferences

The Superior Court continues to safeguard court users and court personnel. Hearings and conferences that are conducted remotely are encouraged and will continue to be supported by court personnel. Public access to court proceedings will continue through YouTube streaming.

In-Person Hearings

Non-emergency matters that cannot be handled remotely shall be conducted in-person on a limited basis. Calendars will continue to be staggered to ensure compliance with the courthouse and courtroom capacity limits and the social distancing. Judicial Officers shall ensure that courtroom capacity levels are adhered to and that social distancing and face mask protocols are respected.

The following calendars will continue to operate through September 7, 2020, in Providence County: Daily Criminal Calendar, Miscellaneous Criminal Calendar, Trial/Pre-Trial Calendar, Pre­Arraignment Conference (PAC) Calendar, Civil Calendar. In Kent County, the following calendars will operate through September 7, 2020: Daily Criminal Calendar, Civil Calendar, and Newport/Washington County Criminal/Civil Calendar.

Criminal and Civil Jury Trials

All criminal and civil jury trials scheduled to begin between March 16, 2020, and July 31, 2020, shall be continued to a date not earlier than September 8, 2020 and will only take place provided social distancing and precautionary measures are implemented.

Bench Trials – Criminal and Civil

All criminal and civil bench trials are continued to a date not earlier than July 1, 2020, unless explicitly authorized by the Presiding Justice.

COVID -19 Related Calendar

All calendar protocols/orders issued in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as any modifications or amendments, shall remain in full force and effect unless superseded by a subsequent protocol/order.

Finally, the clerks’ offices shall continue to conduct court business in all emergency and non-emergency matters.

Additional requirements apply. To view the complete court order, click here. If you have questions about this court order or any legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact any of the partners at the firm.

2020-06-16T13:41:33-04:00June 10th, 2020|

Remote Technology Has Kept Rhode Island Courts Going

As Rhode Island state courts prepared to slowly return to in-person proceedings on June 1, the judiciary will continue to build on two months of hearings and conferences conducted remotely during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

While two county courthouses remain closed in Newport and Wakefield, the court system itself never shut down. The Rhode Island Supreme Court heard oral arguments in seven cases over May 13 and 14 using the WebEx video conferencing technology.

In the Superior Court, judges and magistrates have held hundreds of telephone and video conferences and remote hearings, largely in business calendar proceedings and other civil matters.

Each Family Court judge has a YouTube channel in which audio and/or video have been available to the public in domestic relations cases.

The Workers’ Compensation Court has heard more than 2,500 cases remotely since March 17 and disposed of 1,268 cases during that period.

More information about the developments can be found here.

If you have any questions about any legal matter or the status of a particular case, please do not hesitate to contact any of the partners at Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP.

Source: Rhode Island Judiciary

2020-06-09T12:59:46-04:00June 4th, 2020|

James A. Ruggieri: COVID-19 Employment Law Update

The issues and legal concerns that employers face in this new COVID-19 world are numerous and ever-changing in this uncharted environment. Here are a few of the most common issues that we’ve encountered so far.

  • Health insurance and COBRA
  • OSHA obligations
  • Wage and hour considerations
  • Employment policies and practices
  • Reductions in workforce
  • Tailored employment contracts
  • Employee handbooks
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act
  • R.I. Superior Court Business Recovery Plan

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney is well-positioned to assist employers with comprehensive workplace representation as the state embarks on a new pathway to reopening the economy.

The attorneys at the firm are also closely monitoring Governor Gina M. Raimondo’s executive orders as well as all other applicable orders issued by the state’s courts.

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney has remained opened, and responsive to clients’ needs during the pandemic, and will continue to do so.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or any of my colleagues in helping employers, insurance carriers, or third-party administrators navigate the various employment laws or workers’ compensation issues impacting businesses today.

James A. Ruggieri, a longstanding partner with the firm, has maintained a broad-based litigation practice for more than 30 years.

His employment law practice covers a range of issues relative to wage and hour disputes; employment contracts; OSHA compliance; FLMA; hiring, discipline, and terminations; harassment and retaliation; and discrimination claims.

James A. Ruggieri can be reached at jruggieri@hcc-law.com (401-490-3914).

2020-08-25T18:30:41-04:00May 4th, 2020|