Rhode Island Supreme Court affirms judgment for Pare Engineering in sewer project dispute

By Gabriel Neves | Feb 21, 2019

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) – Ruling that the record presented to it lacked any indication of an intent to harm, the Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's judgment in a company's lawsuit against an engineering consultant company over bids for a sewer infrastructure expansion project.

Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Gilbert V. Indeglia issued a 15-page ruling on Feb. 13, affirming the Providence County Superior Court decision in the lawsuit filed by John Rocchio Corp. against Pare Engineering Corp.

The court affirmed the summary judgment petitioned by Pare, justifying the decision as Rocchio did not show cause to reverse the previous ruling.

In his ruling, Indeglia stated that "the record before this court lacks any indicia of Pare’s intent to harm Rocchio, and Rocchio did not submit any evidence indicating that Pare was not acting in good faith," confirming the summary judgment.

Rocchio sued Pare alleging the consulting company interfered with the bidding process for a sewer construction project overseen by Warwick Sewer Authority (WSA).

As stated in the ruling, "on June 5, 2015, the Warwick Sewer Authority (the WSA) entered into an agreement with Pare for consulting and engineering services relating to a sewer infrastructure expansion project that the WSA planned to complete. That agreement required Pare to provide certain pre-bid services, which included preparing requests for proposal (RFP) that would serve as the basis for the state-law-mandated bidding process for potential general contractors."

After Pare finished the task, WSA received bids from five companies, including Rocchio.

Also stated in the ruling, "the bids were opened and read aloud during a public ceremony at Warwick City Hall on April 22, 2016. Rocchio was the low bidder at $2,318,285, which was approximately $147,000 less than the next-lowest bid," which was placed by DiGiorgio Inc.

In a memorandum delivered to WSA, Pare recommended the disqualification of Rocchio due to the lack of two forms required by the Environmental Protection Agency. A 2016 board meeting disqualified Rocchio and awarded the project to DiGiorgio.

Rocchio then filed the suit in August 2016 over allegations of interference with prospective contractual relations, negligence and breach of contractual obligations due to Rocchio as a third-party beneficiary of the contract between the WSA and Pare, the ruling states.

Pare filed for summary judgment, which was granted by the lower court.

Rhode Island Supreme Court case number  2017-426

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