McIntyre Tate LLP partner David Strachman was featured in a Providence Journal about the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Strachman (a family court and probate court litigator) represented in the Supreme Court a victim of a local municipality which had violated his civil rights under the Rhode Island Constitution.
For more information about Gadomski vs. East Providence, contact McIntyre Tate LLP.
Supreme Court 'rides circuit' to Rhode Island College
By Katie Mulvaney
Journal Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Resurrecting a practice of the past, the state Supreme Court took its proceedings to the people on Thursday, treating a few hundred Rhode Island College and Mount Pleasant High School students to arguments involving gun rights and an alleged sexual assault in a nursing home.
The first appeal the high court heard was that of Norman Gadomski, an East Providence man seeking to carry a concealed weapon. Gadomski is challenging former East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares's denial of his permit application.
His lawyer, David J. Strachman, argued that the application was "doomed from the beginning" and that Tavares was wrong to deny him the license based on misdemeanor charges Gadomski faced more than 20 years ago that were ultimately dismissed. Gadomski, he said, sought the license as a diesel technician who works late, often by himself, and carries expensive equipment.
Gadomski - who holds permits in Utah and New Hampshire - applied for the license in East Providence in February 2012. Tavares denied it, saying that he failed to show that he had a good reason to fear injury and that he failed to explain the 1989 charge for destruction of property.
Rhode Island law dictates that authorities in any city or town "shall" issue a license or permit to carry a loaded handgun to a person 21 or older "if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear an injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol or revolver, and that he or she is a suitable person to be so licensed."
"The right here is not absolute but it is constitutional," Strachman said.
Gadomski, a 46-year-old NRA instructor, accuses Tavares of abusing authority by imposing his own discretion on what should be a mandatory licensing program, Strachman said. He faulted the East Providence policy.
Robert E. Craven argued on behalf of East Providence that Tavares' denial should be upheld or the application should be returned to new chief, Christopher Parella, for review. Gadomski, he said, had not shown that carrying a concealed weapon was a requirement of his job or that he had ever been under attack. Gadomski is not a "suitable person" to hold such a license, he said.
"I've been to a lot of marinas in my life. I've never been armed," Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg quipped. Goldberg asked how many licenses Tavares had approved. None, Craven said. One is pending before Parella.
"The statute has sort of a mandatory tone to it," Justice Francis X. Flaherty said. Craven responded that there is a subjective nature to the law.
The justices noted that the criminal charges Gadomski had faced long ago had been dismissed. "Was it just a way to find something to keep this guy from having a license?" Justice Gilbert V. Indeglia asked. Craven responded that Tavares had operated on instincts.
The court also heard arguments by the Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association that it should not have to defend the Charlesgate Nursing Center against negligence claims made by the estate of a patient who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a nursing assistant while in the center's care. The estate alleges that a medical technician failed to respond to her cries and that her rape reports were ignored. (A jury acquitted the nursing assistant of rape charges in 2010.)
David P. Whitman argued for the association that it had no duty to defend the center because injury that arises from criminal acts is not covered by the insurance policy.
Erica O'Connell countered that it should be covered because the center failed to protect the woman and then destroyed evidence by repeatedly bathing her.
It was Rhode Island College senior Ian Binesar's first time witnessing court proceedings. And it didn't deter from his plan to go to law school.
"It was interesting," he said. McKenna Goldberg had a lot to say, he observed.
The high court traveled to Central Falls High School last year in a tradition known as "riding the circuit."