On Appeal

The AP&S Appellate Law Blog

2014 Year in Review – Stare Decisis

Woonsocket School Committee v. Chafee, 89 A.3d 778 (R.I. 2014): Addressing the age-old doctrine of stare decisis, the Rhode Island Supreme Court noted in Woonsocket School Committee that “‘courts should adopt the reasoning of earlier judicial decisions if the same points arise again in litigation.’” (quoting State v. Werner, 865 A.2d 1049, 1056 (R.I. 2005)). Courts in Rhode Island always make “‘a concerted effort to adhere to existing legal precedent.’” (quoting Pastore v. Samson, 900 A.2d 1067, 1077 (R.I. 2006)). Nevertheless, the Rhode Island Supreme Court also recognizes that “‘stare decisis is a principle of policy and not a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision, however recent and questionable, when such adherence involves collision with a prior doctrine more embracing in its scope, intrinsically sounder, and verified by experience.’” (quoting State v. Musumeci, 717 A.2d 56, 64-65 (R.I. 1998)).

About The Author

Nicole J. Benjamin

I am a shareholder and business litigator at AP&S. I help businesses and their legal departments achieve their objectives by reducing their liabilities, advising them on complex legal matters and defending unavoidable litigation in federal and state court.

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