Latest Court Orders Affecting State and Federal Cases in Rhode Island

One of the newest guidelines in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic issued by R.I. Governor Gina Raimondo is Executive Order 20-09 requiring all business service personnel that can work from home to do so.

This Executive Order applies to accountants, lawyers, human resources, and procurement professionals among others. Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney has adhered to this directive in advance of its enactment with no interruption of legal services.

At the same time, the state and federal courts in Rhode Island have issued their own scheduling orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The R.I. Supreme Court has issued multiple Executive Orders:

For Executive Order 2020-05 related to the specific operations of the Supreme Court, click here.

For Executive Order 2020-04 related to all state court operations, click here.

For Executive Order 2020-03 related to duty magistrates and judges of the Superior Court assigned to emergency/essential matters, click here.

For Executive Order 2020-02 related to Workers’ Compensation Court operations, click here.

For Executive Order 2020-01 related to the suspension of Family Court calendars, click here.

The U.S. District Court has also issued a General Order regarding court operations in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, click here.

In addition, the U.S. District Court has issued a subsequent General Order addressing all criminal matters in that court, click here.

Finally, the U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Rhode Island has issued a General Order related to the Bankruptcy Court operations, click here.

If you have questions about any of these scheduling orders or any pending legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact any of the partners at the firm.

March 24th, 2020|

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): An Update To Our Clients

Dear Friends and Clients,

In response to federal and state government guidelines and public concerns over the expansion of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney is implementing a series of preventative measures.

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney offices have transferred almost all business operations remotely for the time being. Given the technology in place, there will be no interruption of legal services during this time and all data will be secured.

Our lawyers and staff will work remotely with easy access to emails and voicemails; meetings will take place using Skype, similar online platforms or conference calling, and all work travel has been suspended. We hope these steps will protect our staff, clients and others, and contribute to the well-being of the communities we serve.

As for court emergencies, we are monitoring the directives of court officials and will inform our clients on a case by case basis on how best to proceed with any essential legal matter.

We thank you for your cooperation during this difficult time and hope that you, your colleagues and your families stay safe.

If you have questions about any of these developments or any pending legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact any of the partners at the firm.


James A. Ruggieri
Managing Partner
Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP

March 17th, 2020|

James Ruggieri Recognized by Two Leading Legal Journals

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney is pleased to announce that James A. Ruggieri was recently recognized by Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer magazines as a “2020 Top Rated Litigator.” The HCC managing partner maintains an active product liability and employment law practice.

The designation by these publications features lawyers who have achieved an AV-Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell©, which is the highest rating obtainable for legal ability and ethical standards.

Corporate Counsel offers news and information for chief legal officers and in-house counsel across the country. The American Lawyer covers the latest developments and other critical issues within the legal profession for attorneys around the globe. The publications have a combined distribution of nearly a quarter of a million readers.

March 12th, 2020|

HCC To Conduct Blood Drive

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP will be sponsoring a blood drive at the law firm’s Providence offices in memory of the late Gianna Cirella of Warwick who faced a challenge too great to fight.

The blood drive will be held in conjunction with the Rhode Island Blood Center. This marks the second consecutive year that Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney is a proud sponsor of this event. The firm’s lawyers, staff and community members will be participating.

On November 1, 2017, Gianna passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. “Not every story has a happy ending,” said her mother, Tara Cirella, adding “but everyone deserves the fighting chance that blood donors give them.”

Tara Cirella, Gianna’s mother, is a longstanding and highly regarded HCC staff member. She is the firm’s billing and accounts receivable coordinator.

Within days of developing a sore throat, Gianna developed pneumonia and sepsis, a life-threatening infection in her blood. During her 16-day fight for life, she needed 174 blood, platelet and plasma transfusions, which came from Rhode Island Blood Center donors.

“Gianna would not have survived one day without blood. I hope she has make people not afraid to donate. I also hope she has shown how very important it is to give blood,” Tara Cirella said.

For information on donating, contact the Rhode Island Blood Center at 800-283-8385.

For information about the Gina Cirella Memorial Fund, visit www.gistrong.org A video tribute to Gianna can be found at http://bit.ly/GiStrong

February 20th, 2020|

Attorney Hultman Victorious in Superior Court

Following a recent bench trial in Providence County Superior Court, HCC partner Kristina I. Hultman secured a verdict in favor of the defendant, a major national retailer, in a premises liability case.

Plaintiff claimed ongoing injuries which she alleged were sustained while attempting to select and purchase a watermelon. The plaintiff’s allegations against the defendant, a big-box retailer, were that the watermelons were negligently displayed and stocked in such a manner that it was foreseeable that a customer could be injured while attempting to lift and purchase a watermelon. Attorney Hultman successfully disputed the plaintiff’s claims that the manner in which the produce was displayed for sale constituted a hazardous condition.

The case was originally filed, and tried to a conclusion, in the District Court, where Attorney Hultman had secured a defense verdict. The plaintiff then appealed to the Superior Court for a trial de novo. After hearing testimony from both the plaintiff and a former employee of the defendant, an Associate Justice of the Superior Court deliberated before returning a verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Detailed findings of fact were issued, and the Court ultimately found that the manner in which the watermelons were displayed did not constitute a hazardous condition. The Court further found that, even if there had been a hazardous condition, there was no evidence of causation as the plaintiff had been unable to testify as to the mechanism of her injury.

In addition to maintaining an active civil litigation practice at HCC, Attorney Hultman is the Treasurer of Defense Counsel of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island State Membership Chair of Defense Research Institute (DRI). In 2019 she was named as a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the fifth consecutive year.

January 24th, 2020|