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Kristina I. Hultman Secures Defense Verdict After Six-Day Jury Trial

Following a six-day jury trial in Providence Superior Court, HCC associate attorney Kristina I. Hultman recently secured a jury verdict in favor of the defendant, a major national transportation company.

The plaintiff in the case was struck by a motor vehicle as she attempted to cross a state highway at night. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s vehicle, parked on the side of the roadway, contributed to the accident by altering her path of travel across the highway. The plaintiff alleged that the operator of the defendant’s vehicle had been negligently trained and supervised.

The plaintiff sustained catastrophic personal injuries, including permanent neurological damage. She incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and also sought compensation for her lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.

Attorney Hultman had several notable rulings at trial. She secured rulings limiting the scope of the testimony of the plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert; excluding all evidence of the plaintiff’s loss of future earning capacity; and excluding several of the plaintiff’s fact witnesses. In addition, she obtained a ruling that excluded records and bills from many of the plaintiff’s medical providers.

After six days of testimony, the jury deliberated for forty minutes before returning a verdict in favor of the defendant on all counts.

In addition to maintaining an active civil litigation practice at HCC, Attorney Hultman has leadership roles in the Defense Counsel of Rhode Island and Defense Research Institute (DRI). She was also recently selected by Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” for the third consecutive year.

2018-05-22T08:18:27+00:00February 8th, 2018|

Courtney Manchester: An Authority on Long-Term Disability Insurance

In recent years, Courtney Manchester has developed considerable expertise on the interpretation and application of long-term disability contracts.

As most people know, these policies are designed to serve as a continuing source of income, as well as aid in covering essential expenses, during an extended illness or following a debilitating accident.

Long-term disability insurance is generally provided through one’s employer or can be obtained privately by the policyholder. Every carrier and every policy employs different language in the construction of these complicated contracts of insurance. So, each case has unique characteristics.

Serious disputes can result in litigation that is frequently resolved in state or federal court. If the underlying claim is wrongfully delayed or denied, insurance carriers may also face potential punitive damages for bad faith conduct, as well as additional sanctions imposed by the court for the attorney’s fees of the plaintiff. So, these cases can involve significant exposure for the carriers involved.

When contested, these matters require a careful scrutiny of the full extent of the insurance coverage offered. In addition, an array of experts, including numerous board certified physicians representing a variety of specialties, are often called upon to offer testimony about the policyholder’s medical condition. In the process, these experts often face vigorous examination and cross-examination as to the validity, credibility and certainty of their medical opinions.

For many years, Courtney has practiced in the area of workers’ compensation defense, which necessitates an in-depth knowledge of numerous medical specialties. This particular field also requires significant skill at examining and cross-examining physicians and surgeons from a variety of disciplines concerning the certainty of their medical opinions. This specialized background is especially well-suited for her handling of particular long-term disability cases.

Courtney is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Boston University School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and the U. S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.

2018-07-02T12:08:14+00:00January 10th, 2018|

Three HCC Attorneys Selected by Super Lawyers, New England

Peter E. Garvey, a partner with the Providence law firm of Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP, was recently recognized in the 2018 edition of Super Lawyers, New England for his expertise in the areas of professional liability, personal injury defense, and insurance defense.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. No more than five percent of the lawyers in Rhode Island are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers, New England to receive the “Super Lawyer” designation.

Peter maintains an active litigation practice throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. He also defends businesses in other matters of alleged negligence including premises liability, liquor liability and general insurance defense. In the process, he has achieved considerable success in defending cases involving major retailers and various companies involved in the hospitality field.

After graduating from law school, Peter served as a law clerk to justices of the Superior Courts for Connecticut and Rhode Island. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and the New England School of Law, where he graduated with honors.

In addition to Peter’s selection, J. David Freel and Kristina I. Hultman were chosen as “Rising Stars” by Super Lawyers, New England. This marks the third consecutive year that both David and Kristina have received this exclusive recognition.

David is admitted to practice in the state courts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Since 2009, he has been representing primarily national and regional corporate clients both before and throughout all phases of litigation including in the areas of insurance defense, premises liability, product liability, and commercial litigation. David previously served as a law clerk in the Rhode Island Supreme Court’s Law Clerk Department. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the Roger Williams University School of Law where he served as Executive Articles Editor of the Roger Williams University Law Review. Prior to law school, David graduated with highest distinction from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in economics.

Kristina is admitted to practice in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She has extensive experience arguing numerous dispositive and discovery motions and is well-versed in all aspects of pre-trial discovery. Her practice focuses on product liability, premises liability, insurance defense and professional liability. She graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Roger Williams University School of Law. While in law school, Kristina served as Associate Editor of the Roger Williams University Law Review.

To be eligible for inclusion as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, New England, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger, or in practice for 10 years or less.  No more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in any given state receive the designation of a “Rising Star” in any one year.

2018-05-22T13:39:21+00:00December 20th, 2017|

HCC Celebrates New Quarters

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney recently hosted a very well-received Open House to celebrate the relocation of the firm’s Providence headquarters. It was a gala event attended by more than 80 people. Great fun and good cheer were evident throughout the entire evening.

The event also provided an opportunity to mingle and network among the many leading business personnel in attendance from the fields of finance, business and law.

Clients and friends of the firm also had an opportunity to view the modern offices, which were specially designed to manage more efficiently and effectively the flow of information between departments and practice groups.

The new headquarters at 10 Dorrance Street in Providence is located across from City Hall and is only a short walk from the state and federal court houses. The recent move represents the firm’s longstanding commitment to Rhode Island’s capital city. At the same time, the firm has expanded regionally with the opening Boston office within the past year.

2018-10-16T13:19:54+00:00December 1st, 2017|

James Ruggieri Discusses RI’s New Paid Leave Law on NBC10

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney partner James Ruggieri was interviewed recently by NBC10 anchor Frank Coletta on the wide-ranging impact of Rhode Island’s new paid sick leave law – the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplace Act.” The law takes effect on July 1st. Even so, many employers are already preparing for the upcoming compliance date.

Employees can accrue and use leave for: 1) the employee’s own health condition; 2) to care for certain family members with health conditions; closure of the employee’s business or a child’s school due to a public health emergency; or 4) the employee or family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Most employers with 18 or more employees must provide paid leave; employers with fewer than 18 employees must provide unpaid leave. This new law is very technical and will have a profound impact on the workplace. If you have any questions or for more information, please contact James Ruggieri.

2018-10-25T07:17:52+00:00November 15th, 2017|

HCC Named a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers recently released their “Best Law Firms” selections for 2017 for the State of Rhode Island.

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP (HCC) was named once again as one of the “Best Law Firms,” while achieving special recognition in the areas of personal injury litigation defense and product liability litigation defense.

This marks the fifth consecutive year that HCC has been named among the “Best Law Firms.” During this entire time, the firm also has received “Tier 1” recognition for personal injury litigation defense and product liability litigation defense in Rhode Island from U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers.

The rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

Firms selected in the 2018 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence as a result of persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

“We are pleased and proud to have been recognized once again by our clients and colleagues in such a fashion. This recognition, afforded by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, underscores the quality of practice, the breadth of legal experience, and the litigation talent which extends across our entire law firm,” said Managing Partner Stephen B. Lang.

2018-05-22T08:41:29+00:00November 10th, 2017|

The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel and The National Journal Recognize James Ruggieri

James A. Ruggieri has been acknowledged by The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel and The National Law Journal for his excellence in the field of insurance law. Throughout his distinguished career, he has litigated numerous insurance law matters on behalf of commercial and individual policyholders with a particular emphasis on product liability and employment law. He has also handled complex cases for leading carriers  involving insurance coverage issues.

During this time, James has represented some of the largest insurance companies in the world. In the process, he has successfully guided numerous cases through the trial and appellate courts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Earlier this year, he was recognized by both The American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel for his outstanding achievement in the field of product liability litigation.

2018-05-22T09:08:47+00:00June 28th, 2017|

J. David Freel Joins Red Cross Board

The American Red Cross recently announced that Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney Attorney J. David Freel has been elected to its Rhode Island Board of Directors.

“It’s great to have David join our team,” said Mario Bruno, CEO, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region. “His experience working with both the public and private sectors will help us continue to build partnerships to efficiently deliver our services throughout the community.”

Members of the Board of Directors provide guidance and stewardship for the Red Cross and its network of volunteers as the charity provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and preparedness education. While the local Red Cross primarily serves Rhode Island, volunteer teams are respond throughout the country and internationally to serve those affected by disaster.

David earned his J.D. from the Roger Williams University School of Law, where he served as an editor of the law review, and his B.A., with highest distinction, from Pennsylvania State University. He is admitted to practice in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.

David attended the American Red Cross Heroes Luncheon, the signature Red Cross event for Rhode Island. The program recognizes community heroes who have demonstrated extraordinary acts of kindness and courage to prevent and alleviate human suffering, exemplifying the true spirit of the Red Cross. Many of David’s colleagues from Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney attended the event, which also recognized Home Depot, one of the firm’s clients.

2018-05-22T09:10:09+00:00June 8th, 2017|

James Ruggieri Recognized by Two National Legal Journals.

James A. Ruggieri was recently recognized by both The American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel, two highly regarded, national legal journals, for his outstanding achievement in the field of product liability. He has devoted a substantial part of his practice to the defense of product liability claims, including automotive/trucking product liability, manufacturing machinery and equipment, electrical components, building products, pharmaceuticals and other products. In addition, he is actively involved in the defense of asbestos product liability claims on behalf of manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment, valves, pumps, compressors, building products manufacturers, and aircraft manufacturers. He is also a sustaining member of the Product Liability Advisory Council, an association of more than 100 leading product manufacturers and 350 of the foremost product liability defense counsel in the United States and abroad.

2018-05-22T09:13:27+00:00June 4th, 2017|

James Hornstein Address Timely ALFA International Seminar

On March 24, 2017 James T. Hornstein presented at the ALFA International Worker’s Compensation Seminar in Austin Texas with board certified pain specialist Dr. Roberto Feliz regarding issues surrounding the use of opioid medication in workers’ compensation cases.

James discussed the R.I. Workers’ Compensation Court’s response to the epidemic of long term opioid use and dependency in workers’ compensation cases.  Specifically, they profiled the Interdisciplinary Pain Management Program being administered at the Dr. John E. Donley Rehabilitation Center.

He also examined the goals of that program, the services being provided, and the means by which employers can avail themselves of court orders directing their employees to participate at the Center.

For those individuals who have been directed to the program by the court and have been deemed to be appropriate candidates for inclusion in the program, a treatment plan is established among the rehabilitation experts at the Donley Center together with an on staff doctor, or an outside doctor specializing in this area of medicine.

The many cost benefits of the program’s implementation for insurers, self-insured employers and third party administrators were discussed.

Dr. Feliz, who was invited to present by James, oversaw a lively discussion concerning the heavy price paid from a physical and financial standpoint due to the opioid epidemic, the over-prescription of opioid medications and the advent of medical marijuana.

He also discussed the medical efficacy of medication weaning from these addictive medications and the overwhelmingly positive effects of doing so.

Dr. Roberto Feliz, a renowned pain specialist, was recently named by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker as one of two physicians to serve on a new voluntary program designed for individuals with settled workers’ compensation cases, who are still being treated with long-term opioid medications.

Dr. Feliz earned his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School and completed his residency at Harvard Medical School at the Beth Israel Hospital. He had a fellowship in Pain Management from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The program’s sponsor, ALFA International, is the premier network of independent law firms.  With 150 by invitation only member firms throughout the world, the organization is devoted to providing high quality, cost-efficient legal services wherever our clients need them.

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP is a longstanding member and the exclusive Rhode Island law firm of this prestigious organization.

2018-05-22T10:27:25+00:00April 7th, 2017|