All posts by Ronald J. Resmini

Ronald J. Resmini Law Firm Wins 1.3 Million Personal Injury Law Decision Vs Rhode Island Hospital

Ronald J. Resmini Law Firm Wins $1.3 million Case In Providence, R.I. Courts

Providence lawyer , Ronald J. Resmini, (Call The Firm That Wrote The Book On Personal Injury In R.I.) knew he was up against significant challenges when he agreed to represent Fatima Delacruz in her slip-and-fall suit against Rhode Island Hospital  (R.I. Superior Court docket #PC084977).

For starters, Delacruz’s case had failed before an arbitrator, after which her lawyer of six years declined to represent her further. But there was more. There had been difficulty contacting a key witness, and Resmini knew that arguing lost capacity of earnings would be objected to by defense counsel because Delacruz had stated earlier that she had no “lost wage” claim.

Resmini took the case anyway, alleging theories of mode of operation, breach of contract and common law negligence. On June 7, a Superior Court jury found that Delacruz was entitled to medical expenses, lost capacity for earnings, and pain and suffering damages. It also awarded her youngest son, Dano Delacruz, loss of consortium damages, for a total verdict of $678,519. With interest, the award comes in at $1.3 million.

At the end of the day, Resmini says, the jury found his client’s testimony credible when weighed against the word of a hospital employee. The worker allegedly had told Delacruz — who slipped exiting an elevator in an area where she had been just minutes earlier without incident — that he observed a wet, freshly washed floor but saw no warnings posted until later; he later backtracked and said he could not remember.

Though pleased with the verdict, Resmini downplays its size. “Is it a high dollar value? Not really,” he says, noting that his client is 45 years old and has a long-term injury. “That dollar amount is very conservative for the injury she sustained.”

According to Attorney Resmini, a highly experienced Rhode Island personal injury lawyer, the “biggest challenge is the jury as it is always applying the doctrine of common negligence law”, and how am I going to approach showing the jury the hospital had constructive or actual knowledge of a defect and didn’t do the things they should have to secure it? My argument was if they are washing the floors outside of an elevator, they should have put the notice in the elevator. You have to put the sign where someone has an option to exercise good judgment. We asked the jury to be fair and tell them to apply the law. It is not an easy task beyond a reasonable doubt, but telling them and letting them adopt and accept it is not the same. In reality, the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt, not for preponderance of the evidence. If you don’t establish that, you’re not going to win. This time we were successful.

Negligence & Requirement of Damages: Rhode Island Law Updates By Attorney Ronald J. Resmini

In this update of Rhode Island Practice Tort Law and Personal Injury Practice (Vol. 1), Chapter 2 , Negligence, Section 82, I update my previous publication from 1990.

*82. The Requirement of Damages

The possibility of contracting cancer resulting from mere exposure to a carcinogen (see asbestos/mesothelioma), although potentially increasing one’s risk of developing cancer, is too tenuous to be a viable cause of action. (Kelley v. Cowessett Hills Assocciates, 768 A2d 425 (RI 2000). Thus, in cases alleging negligent exposure to asbestos, a plaintiff cannot, as a matter of law, establish a prima facie case of negligence absent any physical manifestation of asbestos-related illness or disease. Id
The Ronald J Resmini Law Offices in Providence and Seekonk Massachusetts, has represented clients who were unknowingly exposed to asbestos in the workplace. If you feel that this may apply to you, please give us a call for a no-obligation, initial consultation.

Update Rhode Island Tort Law & Personal Injury Practice By Ronald J. Resmini

Chapter 2 Negligence #85

In Ouch v. Khan Khea,963 A 2d 630 (R.I. 2009) two automobile passengers brought a tort (def> a tort is a wrongdoing that results in injury to another person or damage to another’s property) action against the defendant/driver, who belonged to the same street gang as the passengers, alleging that the driver’s negligent operation of an automobile during and after an incident in which shots were fired at an automobile of a rival gang members constituted the proximate cause of their gunshot injuries. The plaintiffs argued that the defendant, as the operator of the vehicle, had a duty of care – a duty that defendant breached they contended – by driving toward and past a danger (rival gang members). However, the court ruled that, although the defendant unquestionably owed plaintiffs a duty to operate his automobile in a safe manner, the driver did not have a duty of care to the passengers to protect them from the intentional criminal acts of rival street gang members.

The Ronald J. Resmini Law Offices has represented Rhode Island and Massachusetts residents for over 40 years. Contact us if you may have been affected by the negligence of another.

NYC Ferry Accident compared to 2008 Block Island Ferry Accident in RI

The ferry accident in NYC this past week, thankfully resulted in no fatalities, but did leave several people with serious bodily injuries and possible emotional scarring. The accident left many people wondering who will be held responsible and accountable for personal injuries sustained from the crash. With this type of accident, injuries, often to the head, back and neck can linger for a lifetime and cause a multitude of problems. As a practicing personal injury attorney in Providence, RI, and from working with leading lawyers in the field everyday, I have some thoughts on the topic regarding the potential for a lawsuit.

First, there are a few issues the owner of the boat company will encounter. If this was human error, the negligence will be imputed to the company. Possible product liability action against the company who added the steering system on the vessel. The crew complained of these issues with it being difficult to steer the vessel. Potentially the maintenance company who stores and services the vessel to be seaworthy. Laws of maritime will apply as this was an incident at sea and the typical rules of the road will apply here. State specific laws also apply. For example, in 2008 there was an accident between a Block Island ferry and a Coast Guard cutter in Rhode Island waters. The ferry crash was investigated by the NTSB and according to the NTSB findings were finalized in the Spring of 2011 and a lawsuit was filed by a Westerly resident, Shawn Causgrove. Causgrove sued the Interstate Navigation over the injuries sustained in the Block Island motor vessel crash. The difference between these crashes though is in where they occurred.

I am licensed to practice in Rhode Island and not a New York lawyer, but I do believe in New York, serious injury needs to occur in order to bring a claim, unlike laws in my States of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In the end, injuries have a way of creeping up on people over time and some people feel the effects and experience symptoms more quickly than others. In any case, if you are involved in some form of accident, that may or may not result in personal injury, please seek medical attention immediately, as some people don’t always feel the effects of a personal injury right away. It is better to be safe than sorry. See a medical professional to get checked out. If your doctor does discover any form of personal injury, document everything and speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Article about the Ronald J. Resmini Law Offices in RWU Law Magazine

Please check out an article that appeared in the RWU Law Magazine (Roger Williams University School of Law Magazine) about the Ronald J. Resmini Law Offices by Denise Perreault. I’ve copied the article below, but to view the full article, please click on the link I’ve provided.

All in the Family
To Practice or Not to Practice? With a Loved One, it’s all Relative.

Attorney Ronald J. Resmini has three sons, and each was ushered into the world with a ritual that perhaps only another lawyer could fully appreciate.

Thirty-two years ago, the proud dad, who heads his own law firm in Providence, had the name of each son – R. Jason, Adam J. and Andrew O. Resmini – painted on the doors of three separate offices shortly after each baby was born, establishing actual offices for what were then bawling infants.

“Within six months of their births, their names were on the doors,” the elder Resmini says. “They’re still there.”

Was it an expression of supreme optimism? Or utter foolishness? “It was kind of wishful thinking,” Resmini admits. But it worked. Resmini urged his three sons to earn law degrees because he knew how useful such a degree can be, whether one actually practices the law or not. Today the three sons work with their father in a firm where four out of the five practicing attorneys are Resminis.

“I love having the kids around,” Resmini says today. “No matter how much we get on each other’s nerves, there’s nothing like it.” Working together with family members in the law – whether as practicing attorneys, law school instructors and/or administrators – presents exceptional challenges, putting happiness both at home and at work in jeopardy. It is a course of action that some say is fraught with peril – and others say is nothing short of ideal.

This Past Sunday’s Deadly Nightclub Fire in Brazil Evokes Tragic Memories from Survivors of 2003 Nightclub Fire in Rhode Island

Early Sunday morning, over 230 people were killed in a horrific nightclub fire in Southern Brazil.  Similar to the night club fire in Rhode Island in 2003, which left over a hundred people dead and 200 more injured, the blaze in Brazil looks to have been caused by the band’s pyrotechnics igniting insulation in the ceiling.

Several arrests have been made in connection with the fire for investigative purposes as victims’ families begin to pick up the pieces and cope with this horrific tragedy. Today, funerals will begin in the city of Santa Maria, Brazil, for the more than 200 people that lost their lives in the nightmarish event.

As a practicing personal injury attorney in Providence, RI, I helped get many of the cases stemming from the 2003 deadly Rhode Island nightclub fire into federal court. Few understand the scope that such a disaster can have on the victims.  For the victims that lose their lives, their families are left to deal with the financial consequences of losing a member of the family, possibly a primary provider.  Children can be left to deal with the loss of a parent or both parents and forced to fend for themselves.  Parents can be forced to cope the emotional scarring of losing a child.

For the survivors, many are left with permanent physical injuries such as scarring and severe burns.  The lucky victims that manage to escape bodily harm and permanent physical injury, are left in a fragile emotional state that can lead to permanent emotional scarring, which can significantly detriment a victim’s ability lead a normal life thereafter.

Accountability for these types of unthinkable events can be difficult to pinpoint.  But, it is incredibly important to narrow down who is responsible for these tragedies, if only to set an example for future nightclub owners as to their responsibilities.  Those responsibilities to guests include safety protocols that must be adhered to in order to meet certain standards.  Failure to comply with such requirements should result in stiff penalties and fines, so that club patrons are protected and ensured they will be kept out of harm’s way.

As a lawyer with over 40 years of experience in personal injury law, and because of my familiarity with these types of cases, a familiarity I acquired while fighting for the victims of the 2003 Rhode Island night club fire, I can tell you there will be numerous factors used to determine the cause of this tragedy and to determine where the fault will ultimately lie.  Early reports indicate the club was at capacity with 1,000 to 2,000 people.  If this is deemed to be “over-capacity,” the club will likely face numerous lawsuits pertaining to the fire.

Fire codes are put in place to protect people.  The capacity of a building is determined by fire marshals and enforced in order to ensure there is enough space for people to exit in case of emergency.  When you have a building that is filled to capacity and more, if there is a situation where people need to make a hasty exit, chaos ensues and people are likely to be seriously injured or even killed while exiting the building.  This is evident in prior examples of these types of disasters.

In Rhode Island, the 2003 nightclub fire prompted officials to enact and enforce sweeping changes to the State’s fire code with one intention;  a tragedy like the night club fire never occur again.  Sprinklers are now required in nightclubs and bars with occupancy limits of 100 people or more, nightclub workers must be trained in fire safety and money needs to be set aside for fire safety classes.  Rhode Island has also banned the use of pyrotechnics in all of its venues with the exception of its largest public arenas, and local fire marshals are now able to write tickets for violations and order immediate repairs.

So far, it seems history is doomed to repeat itself, as nightclub owners have not taken prior disasters seriously enough to stop them from occurring again.  But, the hope is that in determining who is responsible for this deadly blaze, and holding them accountable, future nightclub owners will be prompted to take proper safety precautions in the future, in order to prevent tragedies like the 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire and now the Brazil night club fire from ever happening again.

Loss Of Consortium in Personal Injury & Auto Accident Cases & Timely Filing in Rhode Island

In Desjarlis v. USAA. Co. 824A.2D 1272 (R.I. 2003 , the husband who was injured in an auto accident, settled with the tortfeasor’s (person who commits a wrongful act) insurance company for the policy limits  (medical), and his uninsured motorist carrier (defendant) consented to this settlement. The wife did not notify the tortfeasor, his insurance company, or the defendant uninsured motorist carrier of her loss of consortium (inability of one’s spouse to have normal marital relations) and society claims until after her husband had settled his claim against the tortfeasor and arbitrated his uninsured motorist claim against the insurer, at which point she filed an action on behalf of herself and her minor children against the defendant-insurer, seeking uninsured benefits, alleging loss of consortium and society.

In Desjarlais II, (the Court) held that the spouse or children of an impaired party (i.e.. the deprived parties) must join their consortium claims with the claim of the impaired partybefore the impaired party settles his claim, obtains an arbitration award, or before a judgement adjudicating his claim becomes final, whichever event first occurs.

On the facts of the instant case, the court reasoned that the wife sat idly by, with knowledge of her husband’s claim, while he was settling and arbitrating them. Since she made no showing that joinder to her husband’s claims was not feasible. Desjarlais II ruled that the trial court properly granted summary judgement to the defendant-insurer.