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News2018-05-22T11:14:23-04:00

Trucking Industry Prevails in Ending Truck Tolls on Rhode Island Highways

James A. Ruggieri of Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney served as local counsel with Washington, D.C.- based Mayer Brown in defeating Rhode Island’s controversial practice of imposing highway tolls on tractor trailers.

In a 91-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith for the District of Rhode Island held that the “RhodeWorks” tolling program violated the Commerce Clause of the U. S. Constitution and ruled that the State was permanently enjoined from further tolling under the law.

In 2015, Rhode Island instituted RhodeWorks, the first and only of its kind in the United States – to toll only large commercial trucks at various bridge locations along the State’s major corridors. The purpose of this plan was to fund the construction and repairs of bridges within the State.

Five tolls were located on the I-95 corridor, three on the I-295 beltway around Providence, one on I-195 to Southeastern Massachusetts, and three on U.S. Route 6 or Rhode Island Route 146.

Judge Smith observed that this plan had the obvious appeal of raising tens of millions of needed dollars from tractor trailers while leaving residents largely unaffected.

The trucking industry, represented by the American Trucking Associations, Inc., and two companies, M&M Transport Services, Inc. and Cumberland Farms, Inc., filed suit in 2018 to block the RhodeWorks tolls. Complex litigation ensued before the U.S. District Court and the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

In May and June of 2022, Judge Smith conducted a twelve-day bench trial featuring numerous national experts in transportation economics and highway engineering.

Judge Smith held that RhodeWorks had failed to fairly apportion its tolls among bridge users – based on a fair approximation of their use of the bridges; was enacted with a discriminatory purpose; and was discriminatory in its effect. As such, “the statute’s tolling regime is unconstitutional under the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution,” he concluded.

Judge William Smith’s complete opinion can be found here.

September 22nd, 2022|

The Best Lawyers in America® Honors Multiple HCC Attorneys; James A. Ruggieri Named “Lawyer of the Year” in Two Separate Categories

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP is pleased to announce that several attorneys from the firm were recently recognized in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

First and foremost, James Ruggieri was named “Lawyer of the Year” in two separate categories: Product Liability Litigation – Defendants and Employment Law – Management. The “Lawyer of the Year” honor goes to the attorney who has received the highest overall peer feedback for his or her area of specialty; and only one attorney is recognized in each specialty and location each year.

In addition, Paul Callaghan, Stephen Cooney, and Gerald DeMaria, were also named in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© as well. 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 as well.

In Rhode Island, Paul Callaghan was recognized for Litigation – Insurance. Stephen Cooney was named for defending Mass Tort Class Actions, Product Liability – Defendants, and Litigation – Insurance. Gerald DeMaria was also recognized for Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants.

Finally, The Best Lawyers in America® also honors attorneys for their accomplishments and professional excellence early in their careers. The “One to Watch” selected from HCC was Adrianna Hughes.

James Ruggieri, Paul Callaghan, and Stephen Cooney are partners with the firm. Gerald DeMaria is Of Counsel. Adrianna Hughes joined Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney as a litigation attorney from another regional litigation firm in 2017.

The Best Lawyers in America® 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. Recognition in The Best Lawyers in America® is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred upon lawyers by their peers.

August 18th, 2022|

Rhode Island Monthly Honors Eight HCC Attorneys

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney is pleased to announce that eight of the firm’s attorneys were recently recognized for Excellence in the Law honors by Rhode Island Monthly. Only 6% of practicing attorneys in Rhode Island were selected. The honorees, who are listed below, were chosen based on several factors that included peer reviews and professional standing.

James A. Ruggieri concentrates his practice in products liability, insurance coverage, and employment litigation.

Paul S. Callaghan concentrates in construction litigation, insurance coverage, civil litigation, transportation litigation, and maritime litigation.

Peter E. Garvey focuses his practice on premises liability, insurance coverage, general litigation, and business litigation.

Stephen P. Cooney concentrates in the areas of product liability litigation and insurance litigation. He also defends mass tort class actions.

Melissa M. Horne focuses her practice primarily in business litigation.

Gerald C. DeMaria is widely recognized for his expertise in product liability litigation and personal injury litigation.

James Ruggieri, Paul Callaghan, Peter Garvey, and Stephen Cooney are Partners with the firm. Melissa Horne and Gerald DeMaria are Of Counsel.

In addition, Adrianna Hughes and Tyler J. Pare were recognized by Rhode Island Monthly as “Rising Stars” for their accomplishments early in their careers.

Adrianna Hughes and Tyler Pare are Associates with the firm.

May 24th, 2022|

HCC Named to the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Leading American Law Firms

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney is pleased and privileged to be named in the Bar Register, the definitive guide to the most distinguished law firms in America.

The Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers is an invaluable reference for lawyers and sophisticated purchasers of legal services looking for the leading practitioners in any given location or practice area.

Only those select law practices that have earned the highest rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory are included.

For over 100 years, the Bar Register has been a unique reference to the legal community’s most eminent practitioners. The Bar Register’s listings are updated and verified each year.

May 24th, 2022|

Spring Social a Big Success

Partners, former partners, lawyers, and staff at Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney recently gathered for a fun-filled social at a popular rooftop restaurant in downtown Providence. A wonderful time was had by one and all.

May 4th, 2022|