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Rhode Island


Statutes of Limitations (RHODE ISLAND)

Personal Injury - 3 yrs. [R.I. Gen.Laws § 9-1-14]

Wrongful Death - 3 yrs. [R.I. Gen. Laws § 10-7-2]

Med Mal - 3 yrs. [R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-14.1]

Product Liability - 3 yrs. (applies to all suits in which nature of claim arises out of personal injury, regardless of whether relief is sought under theory of strict liability, implied warranty, or negligence [Pirri v. Toledo Scale Corp., 619 A.2d 429 (R.I. 1993]

Property Damage - 10 yrs. [R.I.Gen.Laws § 9-1-13]

Contracts (Written and Oral) - 10 yrs. [R.I.Gen.Laws § 9-1-13]

Contracts of Sale (goods) and Breach of Warranty - 4 yrs (from tender of delivery) [R.I.Gen.Laws § 6A-2-725] (the statute also contains a specific statute of repose)


Negligence cause of action for personal injury generally accrues at time of injury [Marrapese v. State of R.I., 749 F.2d 934 (1st Cir. 1984)]




Statutes of Repose (RHODE ISLAND)

Products - None (declared unconstitutional).

Construction of Real Property - 10 yrs. [R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-29]




Claims Against Public/Gov. (NOTE: “Sovereign Immunity” Limitations May Apply) (RHODE ISLAND)

Against All Entities - Suit within 3 yrs. [R.I.Gen.Laws § 9-1-25]

Cases Involving Damage/Injury Caused by Defective Bridge/Highway - Notice within 60 days, Suit within 3 yrs. [R.I.Gen.Laws § 45-15-9]




Comparative Negligence (RHODE ISLAND)

Pure comparative (Plaintiff can recover even if 99% at fault)[R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-20-4]




Made Whole Doctrine (MWD) (RHODE ISLAND)

Recogznied/applied (although not well developed). Automobile insurers, each of which included provision in policy limiting liability for damages incurred as result of negligence of uninsured driver to $10,000, were not entitled to share in proceeds of safety responsibility bond obtained by uninsured tortfeasor until insureds’ loss was fully paid [Lombardi v. Merchants Mut. Ins. Co., 429 A.2d 1290 (R.I. 1981)]




Economic Loss Doctrine (ELD) (Assuming No Injury to Person or Damage to “Other Property”) (RHODE ISLAND)

Recognized/applied but appears to be limited to commercial transactions.


Plaintiff is precluded from recovering purely economic losses in a negligence cause of action; ELD applies to entities acting in a business capacity [Franklin Grove Corp. v. Drexel, 936 A.2d 1272 (R.I. 2007)].  ELD applies to service contracts [Western Reserve Life Assur. Co. of Ohio v. Conreal LLC, 715 F.Supp.2d 270 (D.R.I. 2010)]


ELD is limited to commercial transactions, and does not apply to residential property purchasers’ negligence suit against engineer who was hired by vendor to conduct percolation tests; when a cause of action arises under a contract and a consumer lacks privity of contract with the offending party, an action in tort remains available, even if the damages are purely economic [Rousseau v. K.N. Const., Inc., 727 A.2d 190 (R.I. 1999)]




Certificate/Affidavit Of Merit Requirements (Claims Against Licensed Professionals) (RHODE ISLAND)

No requirements.




Landlord/Tenant Subrogation (RHODE ISLAND)

Subrogation allowed.  Neither landlord’s use of part of rent to pay fire insurance premiums, nor tenant’s expectation that landlord will obtain insurance covering tenant, makes tenant an insured under fire policy; tenant cannot become an insured unless insurer agrees and policy so provides. [56 Associates ex rel. Paolino v. Frieband, 89 F.Supp.2d 189 (D.R.I. 2000)]




Reimbursement of Deductible(s) (RHODE ISLAND)

Auto (must include in subro demand) and Property - Pro rata.




MedPay- Subrogation allowed.  PIP - No subrogation allowed and/or no such coverage available.




Liability of Parents (RHODE ISLAND)

$1,500 for willful or malicious acts [R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-3].  Any negligence or willful misconduct of a minor driver is imputed to the person who signed the application for permit/license [R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-10-15]




Joint Liability (RHODE ISLAND)

Joint and several liability (Plaintiff may recover all damages from any Defendant regardless of Defendant’s individual share of liability) [R.I. Gen. Laws § 10-6-2]



Independent Cause of Action for Evidence Spoliation (RHODE ISLAND)

Neither the Rhode Island legislature nor the Rhode Island Supreme Court has yet established or recognized the existence of an independent tort for the spoliation of evidence [Malinowski v. Documented Vehicle/drivers Systems, Inc., 2003 WL 21243907 (1st Cir. 2003)]




Conflicts of Law (RHODE ISLAND)

Torts - Court must consider: (1) predictability of results, (2) maintenance of interstate order, (3) simplification of the judicial task, (4) advancement of forum's governmental interests, and (5) application of the better rule of law [Turcotte v. Ford Motor Co., 494 F.2d 173 (1st Cir. 1974)].  Contracts - Courts will apply laws of the state where the contract was made, unless made with a view to performance in another state [Matarese v. Calise, 305 A.2d 112 (R.I. 1973)]

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