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HCC SECURES DISMISSAL ON BEHALF OF CLIENT

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|

WELCOME TO THE TEAM!

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|

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney Attorney Perseveres to Win $2.9 Million Judgment

HCC attorney Melissa M. Horne recently won a $1,164,138 jury verdict on a claim originally filed in the Newport Probate Court in June 2012. During the nearly 11-year proceeding of the case captioned Glassie v. Doucette, NP-2016-0265, the case was appealed twice to the Superior Court and once to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Prejudgment interest accrued during the protracted litigation resulted in a judgment of almost $2.9 million.

The claim was originally filed by the decedent’s daughter, who alleged her father had failed to fully fund a trust for her as required by a Property Settlement Agreement executed as part of her parents’ divorce. The executor of the father’s estate denied the claim. After the plaintiff appealed the claim to the Superior Court, the executor obtained summary judgment on the ground that only the trustee of the daughter’s trust had standing to bring a claim for payments that should have been made to the trust. The Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court’s order.

Because the original plaintiff had passed away shortly after she appealed the denial of her claim to the Superior Court, her executrix pursued and eventually obtained an assignment of the trustee’s right to assert a claim for payments to the trust. Following the executor’s objection to the plaintiff’s petition to file a late-filed claim, the probate court denied the petition. The plaintiff filed another appeal in the Superior Court. The executor’s violations of discovery rules delayed the litigation and resulted in sanctions being paid to the executrix. In January 2022, Attorney Horne finally obtained a Superior Court decision granting the petition to file late-filed claim after a bench trial conducted in September 2021. Glassie (click here for the judge’s decision)

The issue tried to the jury in March 2023 involved the interpretation of an ambiguous provision in the Property Settlement Agreement that required the father to make payments of $10,000 per year to his daughter’s trust until it was equal to the amount of trusts his mother had established for two older daughters. The jury found that the father had breached his contractual obligation to make his younger daughter’s trust equal to the value of her sisters’ trusts. The jury concluded that the last opportunity he had to fulfill his obligation was shortly before his death in February 2011, when the older daughter’s trust was valued at $1,296,819.06 and the younger daughter’s trust was worth just $132,680.63. The jury awarded $1,164,138 in damages.

The jury also decided a counterclaim asserting that the daughter’s claim violated an in terrorum clause in the father’s will. That clause provided that a beneficiary of the will would forfeit her entire interest under the will if she became an adverse party in a proceeding for the probate of the will or contested the validity of the will or any of its provisions. The jury concluded that this action did not violate the in terrorum clause and rendered a verdict for the plaintiff on the counterclaim.

HCC’s successful navigation of this litigation involving complex legal and procedural issues in three different courts over the course of more than ten years reflects the firm’s dedication to utilizing its expertise and resources to obtain extraordinary results for its clients.

If you have any matter involving contract or probate litigation you would like to discuss with Attorney Horne, she may be reached at mhorne@hcc-law.com or 401-272-3500.

2023-04-19T05:35:08-04:00April 17th, 2023|

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney Secures Supreme Court Victory for Major Grocery Retailer

The Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed the Providence County Superior Court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the Defendant in Meeks v The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, 2023 WL 2604663. The case was defended at the trial and appellate levels by Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney attorneys Adrianna Hughes and Stephen Cooney. In so affirming, the Court held, inter alia, that the Defendant supermarket had no duty to protect against the Plaintiff’s claims of injury as a result of a seafood allergy.

In the case at the trial level, the Plaintiff alleged purchase of fish, which he alleged was cross-contaminated with a different fish from the Defendant supermarket, which resulted in illness. HCC successfully argued after discovery, via summary judgment, that there was no duty owed, as well as related arguments about expert discovery and the procedural propriety of the motion itself.

The Plaintiff, who alleged negligence on the part of Stop & Shop, argued on appeal that the hearing justice erred: (1) in holding that no duty in tort existed as to the Defendant supermarket and in disregarding the affidavit of the plaintiff’s medical expert; and (2) in denying the plaintiff’s motion made pursuant to Rule 56(f) of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure.

The Supreme Court held that the hearing justice did not err in determining that no duty was owed by the Defendant, and that it was within the hearing justice’s discretion to deny the Plaintiff’s Rule 56(f) motion based on the discovery and arguments raised below.

In so doing, HCC continues its longstanding tradition of successful and zealous client advocacy, from case inception, through trial and appeal, throughout Rhode Island and Southern New England. Congratulations to Adrianna and Steve for another successful client defense!

For inquiries on the above, or any other defense need, contact Steve at scooney@hcc-law.com, Adrianna at ahughes@hcc-law.com, our firm website, or LinkedIn profile pages.

2023-03-31T09:23:55-04:00March 31st, 2023|

A Time for Giving

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney has continued a longstanding tradition of seasonal gratitude. This year, HCC was proud to partner with Woonsocket Adopt-A-Family to help kids in need.

The mission of this valuable program is to provide holiday presents and other items for children in families struggling financially. Through a thorough intake process, the agency identifies parents in surrounding communities who need assistance in giving their children toys, books, and warm winter clothes.

Participating sponsors also address each child’s wish list. These donors provide children with all these holiday toys, not just a few. In this way, each child’s wish is fulfilled.

By providing holiday gifts to kids and taking some of the financial stress off parents, it is hoped that many area families will now be able to enjoy a wonderful Christmas morning.

Thanks to all who contributed, including a ‘shout out’ to Attorney Meagan M. Bellamy and her family for their special contributions, in making this year’s sponsorship a success.

If you or your organization would like to be a participating sponsor of the Woonsocket Adopt-A-Family, learn more here: woonsocketadoptafamily.com.

2022-12-09T02:54:53-05:00December 9th, 2022|

HCC Again Named a Tier 1 Law Firm in Multiple Practice Areas by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”

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

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney again received Tier 1 law firm rankings for Personal Injury/Defendants and Product Liability/Defendants. This marks the tenth consecutive year that Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney has achieved Tier 1 designations for these practice areas from U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms.”

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney was also named a Tier I law firm in the area of Litigation/Insurance for the firm’s professional excellence in representing the industry and its policyholders.

Finally, Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney was recognized for the firm’s quality of practice in Employment Law/Management and for defending class action lawsuits in multidistrict litigation.

For the first time, U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” published the remarks of clients that were collected during the assessment process. Here are a few representative comments:

“Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney handles 5-10 premises liability/personal injury matters for our company annually, both in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They are efficient, highly knowledgeable and have produced strong results,” according to an in-house counsel for a leading retailer.

“Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney is a very responsive, knowledgeable, and professional law firm. I highly recommend their services,” said the liability claim director at a multinational transportation company.

Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes client and lawyer evaluations, peer reviews from leading attorneys in their field, and an examination of additional information provided by law firms.

Firms selected as 2023 “Best Law Firms” are recognized for professional excellence because of consistently impressive ratings. Achieving a tiered designation, especially a Tier 1 ranking, signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

2022-11-03T14:59:04-04:00November 3rd, 2022|

Super Lawyers® Recognizes Numerous HCC Attorneys


Multiple attorneys at Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney have recently received impressive peer-reviewed recognitions from Super Lawyers. Only 5% of the practicing lawyers in Rhode Island are named Super Lawyers in any single year. No more than 2.5% of the lawyers in each state obtain the designation of a Rising Star yearly.

2022 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 – Defense, Professional Liability, Insurance Coverage, General Litigation, Business Litigation.)

Melissa M. Horne – (Business Litigation)

2022 Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars

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

Meagan M. Bellamy (Personal Injury – Defense)

2022-10-11T13:27:55-04:00October 11th, 2022|