Celebrating the Life of Gianna Cirella

On April 20th, Higgins Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP employees (past and present) came out to celebrate the life of Gianna Cirella and to raise funds for the Gianna Cirella Memorial Fund.

On October 13, 2017, 16-year old Gianna developed a sore throat that turned into pneumonia and, ultimately, a life-threatening blood infection known as sepsis. Despite the heroic efforts of doctors at Hasbro Children’s Hospital to save her life, Gianna lost her battle to sepsis on November 1st.

The Gianna Cirella Memorial Fund was established to raise funds for pediatric sepsis research and provide financial assistance to children and families affected by sepsis. In honor of Gianna’s love of soccer, the fund will also provide scholarships to local soccer players.

Hundreds of people attended the gala at Crowne Plaza in Warwick to honor Gianna’s memory. Eyewitness News Reporter Kim Kalunian and Rhode Show host Will Gilbert hosted the event which included a night of dinner and dancing.

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

Tara serves as the parent advocate on a committee at Hasbro Children’s Hospital to work on sepsis awareness.  She told the reporter: “It means Gianna made a difference. I’m going to carry that on.”

Information about the Gianna Cirella Memorial Fund can be found at www.gistrong.org.

May 1st, 2018|

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.

February 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.

January 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.

December 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.

December 1st, 2017|