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Posts tagged "Commercial litigation"

"Citizen-Only" FOIA Statutes Are Constitutional

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has held that state Freedom of Information Acts that only allow state citizens to obtain documents through the acts violate neither the federal Privileges and Immunities Clause nor the dormant Commerce Clause.  Two plaintiffs who were citizens of states other than Virginia (one was a Rhode Island attorney), brought suit against Virginia when their FOIA requests were denied because they were not citizens of the Old Dominion.  The Court said that the Privileges and Immunities Clause does not require states to apply all its laws equally to citizens and non-citizens.  Rather, the P&I Clause applies only to privileges and immunities that are "fundamental," such as the opportunity to pursue a common calling, the ability to own and transfer property , access to state courts and access to public information. 

Privilege Log

A justice of the Superior Court has written a decision on a issue not addressed by the Rhode Island Supreme Court and required the production of a "privilege log" when ever a party withhold documents from discovery on the basis of some kind of privilege. In so doing, he followed the lead of the federal district court (as well as at least one other Superior Court justice, to our knowledge).  The Court said the privilege log must state with particularity the persons making and receiving the allegedly privileged communications, including their relationships, the subject matter of the communication or the grounds for the particular privilege asserted.  The Court conditionally granted the movant's motions to compel unless the objecting party provided the movant and the Court with a sufficient log that would allow the Court to determine whether the claim of privilige was facially valid.  If necessary, the Court would conduct an in camera review of the documents.  Lamendola v. Raposa, K.C. 2011-0160 (R.I. Super. March 21, 2013). 

Personal Guarantees, Oral Modifications, Mitigation, Waiver

The Rhode Island federal district court has rejected the arguments of three defendants who personally guaranteed a loan that the lender had made oral modifications of the loan terms, had waived its rights or failed to mitigate its damages.  The defendants made the guarantees with respect to a residential real estate development near the famous St. Andrews golf course.  The development company defaulted on the loans and the lender sued on the guarantees seeking almost 16 millions pounds.  The court said the terms of the loan barred defendants' arguments that there were oral modifications of the loan terms or that the lender failed to mitigate its damages or that the lender had waived its rights, among other affirmative defenses.  It granted summary judgment.  The Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland v. Wasserman, C.A. No. 10-328-M (D.R.I. Mar. 5, 2013).